For Stella Saris, a Director in ANZ’s Loans & Specialised Finance team, the best thing about her job is the way it aligns with her passion.
Saris, who is based in Singapore, works on energy & infrastructure projects across Asia, with a particular focus on sustainable finance.
She plays a role supporting companies transition to a lower carbon economy – something she finds rewarding.
“I have been able to adapt my career around what I am most passionate about – sustainable finance,” she says.
Saris joined ANZ in 2004, in the Institutional Banking division of its graduate program, and was based in Melbourne.
After a year, she moved into the Project Finance business, where she financed infrastructure projects.
“At this time there was significant growth in private investment and finance in public infrastructure. I worked on iconic project financings, including the Royal Melbourne Hospital,” she says.
After two years, Saris was keen to apply her infrastructure financing experience to other geographies.
ANZ supported her move, and she transferred to London, where she advised on and arranged financing for the bank’s customers investing in infrastructure in the UK and Europe.
In 2009, following the Global Financial Crisis, ANZ refocussed its attention onto Asia. ANZ supported Saris in a move to Singapore, where she has been based for the past 10 years. It was a shift to work in emerging economies.
“Asia had historically underinvested in infrastructure, so there were significant opportunities.”
“The diversity of the Asia energy and infrastructure landscape opened up to me. From Singapore, I work in markets including Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan, across a cross-section of sectors including airports and ports, and increasingly renewable energy.”
Saris points out it has been a particularly interesting time to be in the market because the cost of renewable energy generation has reduced substantially, making renewables a much more viable form of energy in these economies.
She has also witnessed many milestones, including working on a transaction where ANZ was one of the banks that financed Asia’s first offshore wind project in Taiwan.
“Infrastructure has interested me for many years, because of its development potential and impact. The opportunity to expand into sustainability and sustainable finance, has allowed me to continue to be motivated as well as achieve career success,” she says.
One of the aspects of her job she most enjoys is talking to clients about how they are transitioning to a lower carbon economy and being more sustainable.
ANZ leads by example in this area, and a few years ago, Saris was involved in helping the bank shape its own sustainability agenda.
“Banking in general, and banks like ANZ in particular, can be instrumental in combating climate change and moving towards a lower carbon economy,” Saris adds.
She explains that investment in renewable energy, new technology and energy efficiency cannot happen without the capital available to finance it.
“My personal view is climate change won’t be solved by governments alone. This is where corporates and the financial sector have an important role to play in sustainable development."
“Being part of the growing area of developing sustainable finance products and determining what banks will and won’t finance is exciting.”