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Sep 04, 2014

New governance database to profile 6,000 companies

MSCI’s GovernanceMetrics service to incorporate data from GMI Ratings following takeover

MSCI has launched a research database detailing governance metrics and rankings for more than 6,000 publicly traded companies. The new service is one of the first additions the stock index and investor tool provider has made since it took over ESG research firm GMI Ratings last month.

The tools, dubbed MSCI ESG GovernanceMetrics, also offer corporate bios, 96 underlying accounting and governance metrics, and other governance-related information. Such information is meant to help asset managers and owners manage portfolio risks or meet client investment guidelines, MSCI says.

The firm says the database will be steadily updated throughout the year with events, controversies and other information that could affect companies’ ratings, as well as annual shareholder results, shareholder proposals, management decisions and other information dating back 13 years.

‘This is one of the first visible benefits of MSCI’s acquisition of GMI Ratings and a breakthrough for our offering to institutional investors,’ says Remy Briand, managing director and head of ESG research at MSCI, in a press release. ‘We are excited to bring clients comprehensive, integrated research and analysis on the three pillars of ESG across equity and fixed income securities through the addition of MSCI ESG GovernanceMetrics.’

The database will be distributed through MSCI’s ESG Manager platform. Companies will not only be ranked with a percentile based on ESG performance, but analysis on issues such as executive compensation policies, management’s relations with shareholders and the reliability of financial statements will also be included.

‘MSCI’s governance analysis looks beyond governance structures to evaluate regional context, interaction between metrics and patterns of corporate behavior, emphasizing behavior over policy,’ the company says.

Just ahead of its takeover last month by MSCI, GMI Ratings also expanded its ESG coverage in emerging markets, adding the scores of 9,000 companies to its offering of accounting and governance risk (AGR) ratings.