As funds continue to utilize factors, such as value and growth in addition to incorporating an environmental, social and governance (ESG) component to the mix, the need for developing equity benchmarks that address those issues is growing. As such, Bloomberg recently announced that it would offer U.S. equity benchmark capabilities.
The equity offering includes the Bloomberg U.S. Large Cap Index (ticker: B500) as well as growth, value and dividend indices. These benchmarks will serve as the basis for the new Bloomberg SASB ESG Index family, which also includes ESG-weighted versions of the value, growth and dividend indices.
“Building equity index capabilities was a natural extension of our existing suite of fixed income, commodity and currency indices,” said Steve Berkley, Global Head of Bloomberg Indices. “We are responding to requests from investors to offer comprehensive and competitive equity index solutions to help our existing index clients address their needs across asset classes.”
The ESG index family includes the Bloomberg SASB ESG equity index for U.S. large cap equity, and the Bloomberg SASB ESG fixed income index for investment-grade corporate bonds. R-FactorTM, an ESG scoring solution developed and made available to the market by State Street Global Advisors, is being used for the index family.
The new indices focus on industry-specific ESG factors most likely to influence the financial performance of companies. Building on the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board’s (SASB) market-informed materiality framework, Bloomberg will now offer ESG policy benchmarks for asset owners and custom indices that maximize the R-Factor ESG score. These offerings will help investors track companies and create sustainable, long-term value in a way that supports their fiduciary responsibilities.
“The Bloomberg SASB ESG index family is an innovative example of bringing SASB’s vision of materiality-based ESG investing to life,” said Janine Guillot, Director of Capital Markets Policy and Outreach at SASB. “We have always viewed SASB standards as important market infrastructure and a valuable tool to help integrate ESG factors into investment decision making in a rigorous, scalable way.”
The R-Factor score reflects the performance of a company’s business operations and governance as it relates to financially material ESG issues, and leverages commonly-accepted materiality frameworks, namely the SASB Materiality Map and region-specific corporate governance codes.
“We are pleased that Bloomberg has chosen R-Factor to power these ESG indices,” said Rakhi Kumar, Head of ESG Investments and Asset Stewardship for State Street Global Advisors. “We developed R-Factor using SASB’s framework to provide greater transparency to companies and investors about which financially material ESG issues are driving a company’s score. This transparency allows companies to know what to manage and disclose in order to improve their performance. Over time, this will bring better ESG data into the market, ultimately helping to build more sustainable markets.”
In addition to the Bloomberg SASB ESG index family, Bloomberg provides its clients with an ever-expanding collection of climate and ESG-related data and tools, and in-depth research on technologies and trends in evolving industries. This includes ESG data for more than 11,500 companies, including ratios, third-party ranks and scores.
More information on index methodologies can be found here. Bloomberg provides an independent, transparent approach to indexing for customers across the globe. The indices will be administered by Bloomberg Index Services Limited.
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