A recent report by Morningstar discusses the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in generating new interest in stakeholder capitalism and ESG investing.
This year, SFA launched an effort to assess how environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) investing and reporting can be applied and accessed in the securitization market. As part of this effort, we held our inaugural SFA ESG Symposium, a daylong roundtable focused on applying ESG principles in our market.
We are encouraged by the robust dialogue among the broad range of market participants at our symposium and look forward to developing work streams through which participants can develop best practices that will add value to the entire industry for ESG investing applications.
Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance, or ESG, investing has now hit the mainstream as a consideration – and increasingly a key driver – of investment approaches and analysis for individuals and institutions alike. ESG investing has its roots in what began as ‘socially responsible’ investing in the 1960s, when investors began to screen their investment opportunities based on industry involvement such as tobacco production and sales or a company’s dealings in South Africa with respect to the apartheid regime. Today, there is broad acceptance and interest in ESG investing with the existence of targeted mutual funds, indices, and there is also a growing focus on data availability and analysis by ratings agencies and analytics firms.
- Climate change
- Natural resources
- Human rights
- Consumer protections
- Corporate governance
- Corporate behavior
- Compensation structure
The above categories are high level and only scratch the surface of the ESG-relevant activities that investors – and issuers – may choose to focus on.
For our part, the Structured Finance Association has very recently launched an effort to assess how ESG investing and reporting can be applied and accessed in the securitization market. As a jumping off point the Association has begun work on identifying a framework for reporting on ESG factors within the assets of ABCP vehicles at the conduit level.
On December 5, 2019, SFA held an ESG Symposium that brought together nearly 200 engaged participants for a day-long conversation to promote ESG principles within the structured finance market.
SFA has published Key Takeaways from the Symposium which can be downloaded via the link below. Additionally, some of the slides that were presented by our guest speakers are available below.
Below please find slides from some of the presenters:
- ESG Investing through Indices (Reid Steadman, Managing Director, Global Head of ESG – S&P Dow Jones Indices)
- ESG and Sustainable Finance: Are we there yet? (Libby Bernick, Head of Sustainability – DBRS Morningstar)
- Moody’s ESG Framework (Swami Venkataraman, Senior Vice-President – Moody’s)
- Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Risk Scoring for Structured Finance (Marjan van der Weijden, Global Head of Structured Finance – Fitch Ratings)
- ESG Credit Factors in Structured Finance (Matt Mitchell, Director, Structured Finance – S&P Global Ratings), these slides are derived from this report “Environmental, Social, and Governance: ESG Credit Factors in Structured Finance”
The symposium encouraged important dialogue among a broad range of market participants and SFA looks forward to hosting additional ESG events in the future.
If you’re interested in joining SFA’s ESG Task Force, please email Hunter Hamrick at [email protected]
- According to Harvard Business Review, over $11.6 trillion of all professionally managed assets – $1 of every $4 invested in the United States – were under ESG investment strategies, a sharp 390% increase from 2010 when the amount was close to $3 trillion overall.
- ESG is such an important consideration that major stock exchanges such as the New York Stock Exchange have introduced their own sustainability guidelines, such as the Principles for Responsible Investment.
“ESG issues that have financial implications are increasingly part of business decisions, and investors who embrace these changes will be the industry leaders of the future. SFA is helping to define these issues and create the right frameworks that will make ESG data more transparent for investors.”
- Libby Bernick Head of Sustainability, DBRS Morningstar