Ed Farrington, the head of North American distribution for London-based Impax Asset Management, will succeed Joe Keefe as president of the firm's North American business, Impax Asset Management LLC, effective Feb. 1, 2024.
Mr. Farrington will retain his distribution responsibilities after taking on his new role, a spokeswoman for the firm said.
Mr. Keefe, who served as president and CEO of Portsmouth, N.H.-based Pax World Management for 12 years from 2005 and, subsequent to Impax' acquisition of the firm in 2017, as president of Impax North America, said in an interview that the long lead time for the transition was aimed at ensuring a "real clean handoff."
"We just wanted to sort of normalize it, make it transparent and have it not be a sudden thing," said Mr. Keefe, adding that after a 42-year career he'll be looking to retire to some board and non-profit work but also reading, tennis and golf, among other interests.
Mr. Farrington, in the same interview, said Impax's focus on investing in the transition to a more sustainable economy should drive the firm's ambitious growth plans for the North American market "even at a time where there's a lot of noise and politics around this topic."
"We get to just go out and have this conversation about what we genuinely believe and have proven to be a strong investment thesis, keep ourselves away from the noise of the politics around the topic and just keep doing what we've always done," said Mr. Farrington, adding "it's a super fun time for us."
North American clients accounted for 27% of Impax's global AUM and 35% of the firm's revenues as of Sept. 30, a spokeswoman said. Meanwhile, Impax's AUM as of April 30 came to $49.5 billion, she said.
Mr. Keefe, addressing recent moves by a number of state legislatures to forbid their public funds from taking ESG and climate change considerations into account when making investment decisions, said he believes a growing swathe of institutional and individual investors will be receptive to the contention that taking those factors into account is a smarter way to invest.
And if politics have become messy over the past year or so, government policy — as seen in the big infrastructure and inflation reduction bills passed by the current administration — has becoming increasingly supportive of the needed transition of the U.S. economy to a more sustainable footing, Mr. Farrington said.
Meanwhile, the Department of Labor's move to open the door for the type of funds Impax offers, focusing on the transition to a more sustainable economy, to be used in defined contribution line-ups should provide the firm with growing opportunities in coming years, said Mr. Farrington.
Long-term retirement investors in that $10 trillion market will increasingly speak with their feet, predicted Mr. Farrington.
Impax hired its first head of defined contribution, Jeff Vilker, in February 2022.