Responsible investing is still a relatively new concept globally, but Mercer has been adding to its team of consultants who focus on this, in the expectation that this niche market will grow significantly and so will the need for experts in the field.

Mercer has hired six new responsible investing specialists, adding to its global team that has grown significantly since 2004. "This growth reflects the extent to which responsible investment is evolving û from a niche area to one of our core lines of business,ö says Jane Ambachtsheer, global head of responsible investment at Mercer.

She notes that more institutional investors worldwide are seeking advice on how to incorporate environmental, social and governance factors into their investment processes.

Of the six new hires, two specialists are joining the responsible investment team in Asia-Pacific -- Xinting Jia in Melbourne and Megumi Terayama in Tokyo.

Jia, who joins as an associate, recently completed a PhD in governance and corporate responsibility at Victoria University in Melbourne, where her thesis focused on a comparative analysis of corporate governance in the resources sector in China and Australia. She has worked as a management consultant and in private sector environmental, social and governance research.

Jia assisted with the founding of the Centre for International Corporate Governance Research, Business and Law at Victoria University.

Terayama, who joins as a senior consultant, previously worked in corporate risk management consultancy services at KPMG Business Assurance and focused on internal control and corporate governance issues. She also worked for Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Bank as treasurer, sales officer for structured products and foreign bonds and leader of derivative sales.

The specialists joining outside Asia-Pacific are Jordan Berger and Kelly Gauthier in Toronto, Susanna Jacobson in London and Eric Gelfgren in Stockholm.

Helga Birgden, Mercer's head of responsible investment for Asia-Pacific, is also relatively new to the company and in her role. Based in Melbourne, she joined the team in August last year and promotes responsible investments in Japan, China, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. She was previously with UniSuper, AustraliaÆs largest superannuation fund, and was involved with governance and sustainable investment.

Mercer's investment consulting business launched the global business unit focused on responsible investment and environmental, social and governance issues in 2004.

While this unit consults directly to some leading responsible investors, the majority of work is done in conjunction with Mercer's investment consulting business which provides investment advice to clients.

Headquartered in Toronto, the 14-person responsible investment team also has staff in New York, London, Tokyo and Melbourne.

Mercer's investment services include investment consulting and multi-manager investment management. It has 17,000 employees based in more than 40 countries. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies.