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March 29, 2018 | Global Equity
ESG Informs Fundamental Research

Director of Sustainable Investing, Portfolio Specialist

Blake Pontius, CFA, is director of sustainable investing. In this role, he coordinates the firm’s integration of environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors in its investment processes and provides ESG research support to the global equity team. Blake also leads the firm's ESG Leadership Team. Previously at William Blair, Blake was a global portfolio specialist and institutional client relationship manager. Before joining William Blair in 2005, Blake worked at UBS Asset Management and Mercer. He is a board member of Easterseals DuPage & Fox Valley, and a member of the CFA Institute and the CFA Society Chicago. In addition, he holds the SASB Fundamentals of Sustainability Accounting (FSA) credential and the CFA Certificate in ESG Investing. Blake received a B.A. in economics, with honors, from Michigan State University and an M.B.A. in finance, with distinction, from DePaul University.

Partner, Portfolio Specialist

Romina Graiver, partner, is a portfolio specialist for William Blair’s global equity strategies. In this role, she participates in the team’s decision-making meetings, conducts portfolio analysis, and is responsible for communicating portfolio structure and outlook to clients, consultants, and prospects. She is a member of the ESG leadership team for William Blair Investment Management and Global Inclusion Council. Previously at William Blair, she was a senior client relationship manager. Before joining William Blair in 2012, Romina was deputy head of the international equity investment team at BNP Paribas Investment Partners, where she was responsible for product development and investor communication. Before taking on that role, she was a product specialist for model-driven equity investments and a marketing manager. She holds the CFA UK Certificate in ESG Investing. Romina received a B.Sc. in international business and an M.Sc. in economics from the University of Pantheon-Sorbonne in Paris, France.

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Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors are fully integrated into the William Blair Global Equity team’s investment process, playing an integral role in how the team evaluates the long-term growth opportunities and risks for companies, says Blake Pontius, CFA, portfolio specialist, and Romina Graiver, portfolio specialist.

Watch the video or read the recap below.

 

Pontius: In many ways our core investment philosophy and process have been naturally aligned with environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors—in particular, strong corporate governance, which has really played a key role in our assessment of management quality. More recently, we’ve been focusing on environmental and social factors.

Graiver: ESG is fully integrated into our investment process so it’s really part and parcel of how we evaluate the long-term growth opportunities and risks for companies. Part of that integration of ESG in our investment process is really having this objective data and these subjective inputs as well from analysts, and it’s all available and integrated in our research platform, Summit.

Pontius: ESG considerations are part of our fundamental research process, informing our discussions with management beyond traditional financial factors.

Graiver: There is also an opportunity cost of a subpar corporate governance—allocation of resources and capital, and actually lack of diversity, for instance. And that’s why it’s important to pay attention and look at these ESG factors and the records of companies on ESG. And that’s why we look at ESG as an additional lens that complements the financial analysis and gives us a more holistic view of companies, risk, and opportunities, and the sustainability of future returns.

Blake Pontius, CFA, and Romina Graiver are portfolio specialists on William Blair’s Global Equity team.

Director of Sustainable Investing, Portfolio Specialist

Blake Pontius, CFA, is director of sustainable investing. In this role, he coordinates the firm’s integration of environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors in its investment processes and provides ESG research support to the global equity team. Blake also leads the firm's ESG Leadership Team. Previously at William Blair, Blake was a global portfolio specialist and institutional client relationship manager. Before joining William Blair in 2005, Blake worked at UBS Asset Management and Mercer. He is a board member of Easterseals DuPage & Fox Valley, and a member of the CFA Institute and the CFA Society Chicago. In addition, he holds the SASB Fundamentals of Sustainability Accounting (FSA) credential and the CFA Certificate in ESG Investing. Blake received a B.A. in economics, with honors, from Michigan State University and an M.B.A. in finance, with distinction, from DePaul University.

Partner, Portfolio Specialist

Romina Graiver, partner, is a portfolio specialist for William Blair’s global equity strategies. In this role, she participates in the team’s decision-making meetings, conducts portfolio analysis, and is responsible for communicating portfolio structure and outlook to clients, consultants, and prospects. She is a member of the ESG leadership team for William Blair Investment Management and Global Inclusion Council. Previously at William Blair, she was a senior client relationship manager. Before joining William Blair in 2012, Romina was deputy head of the international equity investment team at BNP Paribas Investment Partners, where she was responsible for product development and investor communication. Before taking on that role, she was a product specialist for model-driven equity investments and a marketing manager. She holds the CFA UK Certificate in ESG Investing. Romina received a B.Sc. in international business and an M.Sc. in economics from the University of Pantheon-Sorbonne in Paris, France.

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