MJ Hudson acquires ESG consultancy from Spring Associates

MJ Hudson, the asset management consultancy, has acquired Spring Associates Responsible Investment Service, an ESG (environmental, social and governance) consultancy and reporting business, based in Amsterdam. This acquisition follows MJ Hudson’s establishment, in January, of a legal practice in Milan, and the acquisition of North American and European data & analytics and benchmarking specialist, Amaces, in December.

The deal is MJ Hudson’s first acquisition in the ESG sector, although it has been advising its clients on ESG factors for a number of years and recently produced a widely read guide on implementing ESG policies in private equity. The ‘MJ Hudson Book of Environmental, Social and Governance Factors in Private Equity Investing – A Guide to Implementing ESG in Your Private Equity Portfolio’ is available to download here.

The acquisition of the Amsterdam-based ESG business also provides the firm with another operating base in one of Europe and the EU’s key asset management centres.

Active since 2005, Spring Associates was an early mover in Responsible Investing and ESG and has a significant roster of clients, largely consisting of private equity fund managers and institutional investors. These clients and a team of 10 professionals, plus certain support staff, will transition to MJ Hudson Spring. The senior executive team will remain in position and the business will trade under the MJ Hudson Spring brand.

MJ Hudson Spring will continue to help fund managers integrate ESG into their investment processes, and support their portfolio companies by identifying and monitoring ESG risks and opportunities for value creation. The team also supports institutional investors in a number of ways, including analysing, monitoring and reporting on ESG risks in their own fund portfolios.

Matthew Hudson, CEO, MJ Hudson, commented:

“We have entered a new era of asset management, where ESG has become, rightly, a business critical issue for fund managers and investors. Northern Europe has made the early running, but continued pressure from stakeholders and regulators means that other markets, including North America, are not far behind.

In the early years of ESG and impact investing, investors at all levels were content for funds to create their own narrative. Prompted by grassroots pressure and the attendant prospect of enhanced regulation, we believe that the next phase calls for more independent and consistent analysis of ESG factors within a framework that can assess the depth to which it has been internalised. The era of so-called “greenwashing” is at an end, and the Spring team saw it coming.

From our first contact, we were immediately impressed with the quality of Spring’s analysis framework and outputs, and are excited to welcome the team’s blend of deep research capability and management consultancy skills into our business. We believe that the combination of the Spring team’s impact and ESG expertise with MJ Hudson’s global asset management network is an extremely compelling proposition.”

Matthijs Baan, Co-Founder, Spring, commented:

“Our services focus on making sustainability part of the equity story while delivering real value to investment firms and we have ambitious plans for expansion. In MJ Hudson, we have found an ideal business partner for the next phase of our growth. From our first interactions with the MJ Hudson team, it was clear that the firm shared both our commitment to the highest quality client work and our belief in the importance of the impact and ESG agenda. We look forward to working together, as we scale our business beyond northern Europe. There will be no immediate changes to personnel, nor to how we service clients.”

More information on MJ Hudson Spring, can be found here.

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