Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group appoints Colin Chen as first Asia Pacific ESG finance head

Japan's largest bank has hired its first regional head of sustainable finance, based in Singapore.

Colin Chen, MUFG
Colin Chen has been with MUFG as head of structured finance for 21 years. Image: MUFG

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) has appointed long-time executive Colin Chen as the company’s first head of environmental, social and governance (ESG) finance for Asia Pacific.

Chen, who is based in Singapore, takes on the newly created position after 21 years with the multinational bank, which is Japan’s largest. He will perform the role in addition to his job as head of structured finance, until a successor is found for the latter. He will report to Tatsuya Konishi, head of investment banking for Asia Pacific.

Chen is credited with helping MUFG earn a reputation as one of the top project finance lenders in Asia Pacific, and renowned for the inroads it has made in renewables financing, the bank said in a statement.

He brings more than 30 years experience in banking to the role, including senior positions at DBS Bank, CIBC World Markets and Deutsche Morgan Grenfell. 

MUFC has been under sustained pressure from activists and investors for financing coal in Japan and elsewhere in the region. A report from last year found that MUFG was Asia’s biggest fossil fuel financer since the Paris Agreement of 2015, pumping US$119 billion into climate-intensive energy since 2019.

In May 2019, the bank declared that it would no longer provide financing for new coal-fired power projects, but there are exceptions to this rule, a recent report noted, including the controversial Vung Ang 2 plant in Vietnam.

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