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Down to Earth

Earth Capital founders see environment as a good investment.

Two investment executives hope the global meltdown will be — at least in the environmental sense — good for business. In December, Rufus Warner , 47, former CEO of Close Investments, a boutique fund management company with assets of £3.5 billion ($5.1 billion), and Benjamin Cotton , 43, former head of fund relations for fund-of-hedge-funds firm Man Group, launched Earth Capital Partners, a London-based asset management company that will invest in sustainable and renewable products, such as timber, farmland and clean water. "Many investors have lost a lot of money in conventional assets like equities and bonds — which have proven more volatile than anyone ever expected — and have become completely disillusioned with opaque strategies that rely on complex derivatives," says Earth Capital CEO Warner. The partners, who worked together at Société Générale, have enlisted Stanley Fink, Man’s former deputy chairman and CEO, to serve as the firm’s first chairman.