Australian Ethical managing director Phil Vernon

11 March 2014 — Dr Stuart Palmer has been appointed to the role of head of ethics for Australian Ethical Investment. His tasks will include further developing the firm’s ethical frameworks, managing corporate advocacy and acting as liaison between AEI and Corporate Analysis Enhanced Responsibility, the independent advisory body set up by AEI.

Most recently, Dr Palmer worked for St James Ethics Centre heading up “The Practice”, which delivers business consulting services, leadership and learning programs. His background also includes working in law, finance and investment, including as partner at law firm Middletons Moore & Bevins and head of asset securitisation at ABN AMRO Australia.

“We are delighted to welcome Stuart to the team,” managing director of Australian Ethical Phil Vernon said.

“His skills and experience will be invaluable in navigating the complex issues that arise, ensuring that our corporate and investment decision making remain true to our Ethical Charter, [and] serving all of our stakeholders including shareholders, superannuation fund members, investors and the community at large.”

The appointment comes at a time the company is experiencing extremely strong growth, with the most recent financial reporting showing an increase in profits of 150 per cent, according to company spokesman Paul Smith.

The “smart energy” sector is proving a particularly strong performer, with $125 million of the $800 million of funds currently under management invested in offshore renewable and clean energy projects.

“There are phenomenal opportunities… the global [renewable and clean energy] sector is growing exponentially.”

Mr Smith also said the growth in the company’s Australian investor base was stronger than ever, with more Australians seeking to “align their values and their money”.

“When it comes to investment, what the government is doing [in terms of policy] is having little impact on investment,” Mr Smith said.

“It’s up to the individual to take personal responsibility, and this sends a big signal [to government].

“It pays to do good.”