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New Head of ESG and Sustainable Investing

Sarah Bratton Hughes Joins American Century from Schroders


Kansas City, Missouri

American Century Investments, a $250 billion* global investment manager, has named Sarah Bratton Hughes senior vice president and head of ESG and sustainable investing. Hughes, who joined the firm Jan. 3, also leads the ESG and Investment Stewardship team.

"Over the past five years, we have made tremendous progress in our environmental, social and governance (ESG) efforts, building a solid foundation, deepening our ESG knowledge and developing innovative tools and resources. As we look ahead, we want to accelerate our sustainable investing efforts and believe Sarah will help take us to that next level," said Victor Zhang, senior vice president and chief investment officer. "In hiring Sarah, we have added to our team a talented ESG and sustainable investing leader with a distinguished reputation in the industry."

Hughes is responsible for driving and executing American Century Investments' sustainable investing strategy and the management of its ESG research platform and active ownership practices. Hughes and her team serve as the center of ESG expertise for all the firm's investment teams–implementing firmwide ESG research and training, innovating ESG assessment tools, managing the ESG engagement and proxy voting protocol and driving sustainable investment initiatives and client solutions.

Prior to joining American Century Investments, Hughes was the global head of sustainability solutions with Schroders, where she was responsible for delivering innovative, best-in-class sustainability solutions to clients globally. Prior to that, Hughes was head of sustainability for North America, where she led the strategic development and execution of sustainability initiatives. She was also responsible for ESG integration for all North American-based investment teams, including equities, fixed income and private assets. Previously, Hughes served as an investment director at Schroders, where she represented and articulated the firm's value proposition for both U.S. equities and sustainability to clients globally. Prior to that, she held roles at Schroders as an associate product manager and a product executive.

Before joining Schroders, Hughes held roles at J.P. Morgan Asset Management and JPMorgan Chase. She has worked in the industry since 2007. She earned bachelor's degrees in economics and in business management from St. Francis College. In 2021, Hughes was named to Crain's list of Notable Women on Wall Street and won the Markets Media Women in Finance award for Excellence in Sustainability. Additionally, she has authored thought leadership on U.S. sustainability policy as well as social sustainability topics globally.

Sustainability Core to American Century Investments

As an asset manager generating a measureable impact on health (U.N. sustainable development goal number three), American Century Investments has a unique perspective on ESG and sustainable investing. The firm's controlling owner is the Stowers Institute for Medical Research, a world-class biomedical research organization, and American Century Investments directs 40% of its profits to their efforts to defeat life-threatening diseases. Since 2000, American Century Investments has sent over $1.8 billion to the Stowers Institute as its controlling owner.

"Sustainability isn't just something we practice; it is part of who we are," said Jonathan Thomas, American Century Investments' president and chief executive officer. "As a firm that has directed over 40% of our earnings to more than 20 years of medical research to cure cancer and other gene-based diseases, we attract clients and employees who are inspired to make a difference through their investments, and Sarah will play an important role in advancing our ESG and sustainable investing practices."

About American Century Investments

  • Who We Are

    American Century Investments is a leading global asset manager focused on delivering investment results and building long-term client relationships while supporting breakthrough medical research.

  • Quick Facts

    Founded in 1958, American Century Investments' 1,400 employees serve financial professionals, institutions, corporations and individual investors from offices in Kansas City, Missouri; New York; Los Angeles; Santa Clara, California; Portland, Oregon; London; Frankfurt, Germany; Hong Kong; and Sydney.

  • Management

    Jonathan S. Thomas is president and chief executive officer, and Victor Zhang serves as chief investment officer.

  • Giving Back

    Delivering investment results to clients enables American Century Investments to distribute over 40% of its dividends to the Stowers Institute for Medical Research, a 500-person, nonprofit basic biomedical research organization. The Institute owns more than 40% of American Century Investments and has received dividend payments of more than $2 billion since 2000.

Day time view of American Century Headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri

Assets under supervision as of 11/8/2021.

Many of American Century's investment strategies incorporate the consideration of environmental, social, and/or governance (ESG) factors into their investment processes in addition to traditional financial analysis. However, when doing so, the portfolio managers may not consider ESG factors with respect to every investment decision and, even when such factors are considered, they may conclude that other attributes of an investment outweigh ESG considerations when making decisions for the portfolio. The consideration of ESG factors may limit the investment opportunities available to a portfolio, and the portfolio may perform differently than those that do not incorporate ESG considerations. ESG data used by the portfolio managers often lacks standardization, consistency, and transparency, and for certain companies such data may not be available, complete, or accurate.

Sustainability focuses on meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. There are many different approaches to Sustainability, with motives varying from positive societal impact, to wanting to achieve competitive financial results, or both. Methods of sustainable investing include active share ownership, integration of ESG factors, thematic investing, impact investing and exclusion among others.

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