Manulife Investment Management (Manulife IM) and Singaporean environmental, social and governance (ESG) fintech Hashstacs (STACS) will cooperate on the use of the fintech’s digital registry ESGpedia, which powers the ESG registry of the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s Project Greenprint.
A pilot phase of the cooperation is underway, where Manulife IM seeks to pilot innovative investment monitoring techniques for sustainable investments. The arrangement enables the investment manager to leverage ESG data and digital tools on ESGpedia for ongoing monitoring of investments in sustainability labelled bonds, through visibility of the underlying certifications on the asset or portfolio level by the issuers.
ESGpedia serves as a central ESG registry for the specific financial dataset, aggregating ESG data and certifications across multiple industry data sources, to support sustainable investing through holistic data and digital tools.
Through the use of ESGpedia in Manulife IM’s monitoring system, it hopes to more effectively and digitally enhance the workflows involved in the sustainability-labelled bond investment monitoring process.
In addition to allowing customers to access ongoing data from authorized counterparties via data consent management, the portfolio monitoring tool on ESGpedia aims to streamline the monitoring of sustainability labelled bonds by highlighting third-party sustainability-related certifications of underlying assets.
This allows, the companies say, for an effective and digital way to have greater visibility into the third-party assurances and underlying assets of sustainability labelled bonds, which can support sustainability engagement with portfolio companies.
The asset management industry, the companies state, faces challenges around ESG data, with a lack of forward-looking disclosure, real-time data and common taxonomy. Data is fragmented and being presented in either narrative or unstructured form, with no “golden” copy data architecture of investible instruments, hindering effective sustainable investment decisions. Current processes of sustainability assessment as well as monitoring and servicing are also highly manual and labour-intensive as a result.
Benjamin Soh, co-founder and managing director at STACS, says: “We aim to bring forward the future of ESG finance via holistic data and digital tools on ESGpedia, enhance effective investment monitoring of Manulife IM’s sustainability-labelled bonds and streamline the existing process digitally.”