ESG data drive
UK regulators have produced advice on how companies can produce better ESG information for investors.
The move comes at a time when there is increased controversy surrounding the credentials of ESG investment.
Nonetheless, watchdogs at the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) believe improved data makes for better decision-making.
Josephine Jackson, chair of the FRC’s ESG committee, says: “High-quality data is critical to high-quality decision-making.
“Improving the systems and processes for the production of ESG data, as well as embedding a joined-up approach to data collection will result in better decision-useful information. In turn this will lead to more relevant and reliable disclosures for all users who rely on companies for clear reporting of ongoing performance and future prospects.”
Uninspired by ESG
Controversy around ESG investing continues. The Financial Times reports that Inspire Investing, a self-described “biblical” investor in the US, has “renounced” ESG as a concept guiding its investment decisions.
In an article on the fund manager’s website chief executive Robert Netzly writes: “We are shaking the dust off our feet right now as pertains to ESG.”
He says Inspire is quitting the ESG after encountering “intolerance” of “hard-left activists” as it tried to pursue its own brand of Christian-motivated ESG.
“We see the battle lies have been drawn—not by us, but by the hard left—which squarely position us at odds with the ESG world that has been overrun by the intolerant, extremist viewpoints of hostile liberal activists.”
The politicisation of governance continues apace.
Board members that have faced the ire of an activist investor may be breathing a sight of relief this week. Notorious activist Nelson Peltz, he who has demanded board and strategic change at many a target company, is closing his firm’s London office, currently worth around £440m.
The move comes after a clash with investors in the UK outfit Trian Investors 1, over the issue of returning cash to shareholders or to continue trading.
The Financial Times reports a statement from Trian acknowledging that a “significant portion of the current shareholder base would like the opportunity to exit their shareholding.”
However, a warning: there are plenty of other activists out there. No time to relax.