Read Full Story “Isabel Allende is a Latin American writer who has become a household name in the United States,” began Erin Goodman, Associate Director of Academic Programs at the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies (DRCLAS), as she introduced the famous novelist before a crowd of more than 270 fans at the Sanctuary Theatre in Harvard Square this past Saturday evening. The Chilean-American author engaged in a candid conversation with Goodman and with Diana Sorensen, James F. Rothenberg Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures and of Comparative Literatures, on the occasion of the release of her latest novel.Though she is best known as a novelist, Isabel Allende is also an activist. The recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2014, she established the Isabel Allende Foundation, promoting women’s and girls’ empowerment. As is characteristic of Allende, on Saturday she shared passionate insight on several subjects, ranging from the personal and lighthearted to the more serious, including human trafficking, immigration, and the refugee crisis.When Sorensen asked Allende about how social justice factors into her creative process, Allende stated, “there are many cases in which people have absolute power with impunity, and they are able to do horrible things. The imagination for atrocities is infinite.”In response to a question from Goodman about the recurrence of voiceless female characters in her novels, Allende reflected, “I am trying to explain what it means to be a woman and be permanently silenced, having a voice that is never heard.” In her new novel, “In the Midst of Winter,” the character of Evelyn, a migrant worker from Guatemala, has trouble speaking and sharing her traumatic past. “[She] represents the undocumented worker in this country that has no voice and no human rights,” Allende explained. “We penalize people who have escaped to save their lives.”Allende herself was a refugee in Venezuela for 13 years before coming to the United States. Regarding her own background, she expressed, “I do think a lot about my past, about my roots. I try to conserve my Chilean background as much as possible being an immigrant here, but it is very easy for me to imagine what it is to be a refugee or an immigrant because I have been both … When we talk about refugees, we think of numbers and how to lower the numbers of refugees—that doesn’t mean anything … if I can give that story, like Evelyn’s story, for example, to one reader, I might be able to touch that reader’s heart, not with my words, but with the story because it is a human story.”The Harvard Coop and DRCLAS presented the event, which was also supported by the José Mateo Ballet Theatre and the Harvard Square Business Association.
RobecoSAM – Sustainable investment specialist RobecoSAM has announced that its co-chief executives Daniel Wild and Marius Dorfmeister will leave the Zurich-based firm to take on new roles elsewhere.Wild joined the Robeco subsidiary in 2006 and was responsible for investment management, products and engineering, research, sustainability services and ESG ratings. He will stay on to ensure a smooth transition to a successor. Dorfmeister has been global head of clients since 2017. He will leave no earlier than the end of April, according to RobecoSAM.AMF – Marie Rudberg has been elected as chair of the supervisory board of Swedish pension fund AMF. She took up the position of acting chair after the previous incumbent, Pär Nuder, resigned from the board of the SEK590bn (€56.5bn) fund last month after eight years.Rudberg was appointed to the role by the Swedish Trade Union Confederation and the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise and was voted in at the fund’s annual general meeting on 4 April.Investec Asset Management – James Elliot has been appointed head of multi-asset at the $133.7bn (€118.5bn) asset manager, joining in July. He was previously chief investment officer for JP Morgan Asset Management’s international multi-asset solutions business, where he founded and co-managed a range of global macro strategies.Investec CIO Domenico Ferrini said the appointment “underscores our commitment to delivering market-leading multi-asset investment solutions for our clients” and would help the group “compete meaningfully on a global stage”.HSBC Global Asset Management – Jean-Charles Bertrand and Joe Little have been named global co-chief investment officers for HSBC GAM’s $100bn multi-asset business. Bertrand is head of multi-asset in France while Little is head of investment strategy, roles both men will retain.The asset manager said Little would be based in London and focus mainly on the multi-asset group’s investment process, while Bertrand would be based in Paris and focus on portfolio construction and risk.AFM – Merel van Vroonhoven, chief executive of Dutch financial communications watchdog Autoriteit Financiële Markten has announced her departure as of 1 September, after more than five years at the helm. She said she had decided to become a teacher in special needs education, while remaining active in the governance circuit.“After having worked on executive boards for more than 20 years, I want to make a more concrete contribution to society and being close to the people who need it the most,” explained Van Vroonhoven.BMO Global Asset Management – Jürgen Florack has joined BMO as managing director and head of sales for institutional clients in Germany. He succeeds Claus Heidrich, who is retiring after 18 years in the role.Florack joins from GAM where he was head of institutional sales. He has also held senior sales and distribution roles at JP Morgan, Helaba Invest and UBS.Rogier Van Harten, head of institutional distribution and client management for continental Europe at BMO, said: “Germany is a very important market for us and with its special expertise in sales for institutional investors we will be able to respond even better to the needs of our customers in this segment in the future.”First State Investments – The $143.8bn asset manager has appointed Adrian Hilderly as head of its Irish management company, FSI Ireland. First State announced plans to transfer €4.8bn to Ireland last year as part of its preparations for the UK exiting the European Union. So far it has shifted €2.6bn via a “scheme of arrangement”, the company said in a statement this morning.In the newly created position, Hilderly will be responsible for managing FSI Ireland’s operations, including interaction with regulators and oversight of investment and distribution activities. He was previously head of risk and compliance for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at First State Investments for more than six years. Prior to this he was a joint head of Blackrock’s compliance and advisory team.First State has also named Tim McManus as a senior manager for finance and investment tax, relocating to Dublin from First State’s London office. The asset manager aims to recruit a head of risk, a head of compliance and an investment assurance manager for its Ireland office.Mesirow Financial – The specialist currency manager has hired Mike Emambakhsh as a senior research scientist in its London team, focused on research and model development “with an emphasis on machine learning”. He was previously a research scientist at Cortexica Vision Systems, an artificial intelligence company.Mesirow has also hired Aaron Wham from Russell Investments as a senior portfolio manager to help launch the group’s new office in Seattle. At Russell, Wham was a senior portfolio manager in charge of currency strategies.Omnes Capital – The €3.6bn French private equity and infrastructure manager has made a number of appointments to its teams. Benoît Faguer has joined the private debt team as a director, having spent three years in Aviva Investors’ private debt team. He has also worked for HSBC and WestLB.Elsewhere,Fabien Collangettes and Maximilien Fournier-Sourdille have been appointed as principals within Omnes’ venture capital team. They have both worked for the company since 2017, and have held a number of board roles on small private French companies.Yannic Trueb has been promoted to principal within the renewable energy team after five years at the firm, while Morgane Honikman has joined Omnes’ green building team as a principal, having previously worked for French renewable energy firm GreenYellow for more than four years. LPP, RobecoSAM, AMF, Investec Asset Management, HSBC GAM, AFM, BMO GAM, First State Investments, Mesirow Financial, Omnes Capital Local Pensions Partnership (LPP) – Adrian Taylor has been appointed chief financial officer for the £17bn (€19.7bn) public pension fund collaboration, a role he has held on an interim basis since November. In a statement, LPP said Taylor would become a key member of the senior leadership team.Before joining LPP he was interim finance director for the UK at private bank and asset manager Edmond de Rothschild. Previously he was a partner and finance director at Killik & Co, and CFO at Sarasin & Partners. Michael O’Higgins, chair of LPP, said: “Adrian’s experience, knowledge and values mean he is perfectly suited to leading LPP’s financial management during this pivotal triennial valuation year, while playing a key role in taking the whole business forward over the long-term.”