HSBC Asset Management’s embattled global head of responsible investing has resigned, according to a post on LinkedIn.
Stuart Kirk said in a statement: ‘I have concluded that the bank’s behavior towards me since my speech at a Financial Times conference in May has made my position, well, unsustainable.’
Kirk (pictured) was suspended by the bank in May after making a controversial speech at a Financial Times Moral Money event, during which he made light of climate change concerns and dismissed climate crisis warnings as ‘unsubstantiated’.
Kirk said in his statement that ‘a cancel culture destroys wealth and progress’ and that there is ‘no place for virtue signaling in finance’.
‘Humanity’s best chance of success is open and honest debate,’ he said.
Kirk added that he is forming a new business and has assembled a ‘crack group of like-minded individuals’ for the new venture. Further details, he wrote, will be announced later this year.
He touted the new business as ‘arguably the greatest sustainable investment idea ever conceived’.
In Kirk’s speech at the Moral Money event he said that throughout his 25-year career in finance, there had always been ‘some nut job telling me about the end of the world’ and he complained about ‘the amount of work these people make me do’.
Kirk, a former Financial Times journalist, made his comments in front of a slide titled ‘Unsubstantiated, shrill, partisan, self-serving, apocalyptic warnings are always wrong’. He said asset managers should focus on adapting to, rather than preventing, climate change.
The presentation, entitled ‘Why investors need not worry about climate risk’, had been published on the event’s website in the run-up to the event.
Kirk’s full LinkedIn statement can be read below:

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