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Rothschild & Co, HEC Paris and the HEC Foundation team up to develop sustainable finance

Rothschild & Co, one of the world’s leading independent financial services groups, HEC Paris and the HEC Foundation have been partners for over a decade. The three institutions have agreed to combine their expertise for three years to support sustainable finance with the creation of the Data and Impact Investment Chair.

Rothschild & Co, HEC Paris and the HEC Foundation are each mindful that finance can help address economic, technological, climatic and social challenges. Their goal is to develop research into impact finance and support the collective effort to promote the ecological transition of the global economy.

This new Chair forms part of a broader project designed to produce top-tier, science-based, independent research into sustainable finance and its power to meet the challenges facing us today. The Chair will be directed jointly by Jessica Jeffers and Ferdinand Petra, both of whom are finance professors at HEC Paris.

Jessica Jeffers’ work will focus on data science and impact investing. There is still very little research into the potential of sustainable investment in the private markets sector. And yet, these markets offer a unique opportunity to scale up the positive impact of investment, including not just an overwhelming number of seed capital operations but also development and growth transactions. The Chair - which, it is intended, will take on an international dimension - will explore the potential social, climatic and environmental impact of private financing and how to maximize the beneficial effects. An elective course on impact investment will also be set up by Jessica Jeffers for Master 1 students at HEC Paris. The syllabus, which will be designed in partnership with Rothschild & Co, will focus primarily on the financing of impact projects.

In addition, an Academy has been launched by director Ferdinand Petra, where the course will alternate between theoretical classes and practical workshops with special emphasis on sustainable corporate finance. Rothschild & Co has played a role in drafting the educational content of these courses and will work closely with the students. The aim is to give participants a concrete, in-depth understanding of the key tasks performed by analysts working in investment banking: it will single out how ESG (environmental, social and governance) issues are factored into the strategic advice given to companies and private equity funds. The Academy, which came online last January, will be delivered to around 30 M1 students every year for three weeks.

François Pérol, Managing Partner and Co-Chairman of the Group Executive Committee at Rothschild & Co: “This partnership marks the start of a new joint venture that reflects our special relationship with HEC, one of France’s oldest and most prestigious business schools. We are looking forward to working together on the contribution finance can make to sustainable development. This is one of our strategic priorities, and we will provide input for developing knowledge and expertise in the area.

Eloïc Peyrache, Dean and CEO of HEC Paris: "This partnership with Rothschild & Co is an important milestone for research into sustainable finance. Rothschild & Co is a long-standing partner of our school, and thanks to their support our researchers and professors will have the resources they need to move research and teaching forward in this vital area, preparing the ground for a more equitable, environmentally-friendly world.

Olivier Sevillia, President of the HEC Foundation: “We are delighted to be launching this new Data and Impact Investment Chair with Rothschild & Co. Our aim is to promote academic research and devise leading-edge training programs for students, and it’s a goal that will receive a considerable boost in this vital subject. I would like to extend my warm thanks to everyone who has made this initiative possible.

From left to right: François Pérol, Delphine Colson et Eloïc Peyrache