Credit Suisse looks to make an impact with new investment wing

The logo of of Swiss bank Credit Suisse is seen at an office building in Zurich's Oerlikon suburb, Switzerland July 27, 2017. Picture taken July 27, 2017. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

ZURICH (Reuters) - Credit Suisse CSGN.S has set up a new department to nurture socially conscious investing, the latest effort by a major bank to cater for growing demand for so-called impact investing.

The move was announced by the Swiss bank’s chief executive Tidjane Thiam in a memo to staff seen by Reuters.

Impact investments are made into “companies, organisations, and funds with the intention to generate social and environmental impact alongside a financial return,” the Global Impact Investing Network says on its website.

This includes providing capital in sectors such as sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, conservation, microfinance, and affordable and accessible basic services including housing, healthcare, and education, it says.

Credit Suisse’s Impact Advisory and Finance (IAF) department will be headed by Marisa Drew, Credit Suisse said in its memo.

“The IAF Department will report to me and will direct, coordinate and facilitate activities across the bank which lead to impact investing and support our philanthropic advisory services on behalf of our private wealth, institutional and corporate clients,” Thiam said.

Drew has been with Zurich-based Credit Suisse for 14 years, most recently co-heading the bank’s investment banking and capital markets business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Swiss rival UBS UBSG.S this year raised $325 million (240 million pounds) for a private equity fund focused on impact investing, a term coined in 2007.

Reporting by Joshua Franklin; editing by Alexander Smith