RMB launches ESG-risk-measuring platforms to support sustainable investing

2nd September 2021 By: Donna Slater - Creamer Media Contributing Editor and Photographer

Financial services provider Rand Merchant Bank (RMB), a division of FirstRand Bank, has launched environmental, social and governance- (ESG-) measuring platforms – ESGo! and ESGNow.

The platforms are envisaged to drive sustainable finance by offering client interfaces that enable more informed investment decisions when it comes to ESG considerations.

RMB sustainable finance and ESG advisory head Nigel Beck says the world is moving towards integrating sustainable finance across the financial ecosystem.

“We embrace this change and want to empower our clients to do the same. ESGo! and ESGNow will be an essential enabler to our clients’ businesses, and a vital tool to understanding investment aligned to ESG criteria.”

RMB states that access to reliable ESG data, and the ability to use such data in making investment decisions, are vital to advancing sustainable investing.

Although there are several different frameworks and data providers in the ESG space, the varied ecosystem makes meaningful comparisons difficult, the bank explains.

However, RMB says its new ESG tools overcome this challenge by giving asset managers and institutional investors, such as pension funds, affordable access to the latest ESG data presented in visually appealing and easy-to-use formats.

Shareholders are increasingly integrating ESG strategies into their investing criteria, with many jurisdictions requiring that companies provide potential investors with ESG-related information.

ESGo! and ESGNow are part of RMB’s sustainable investment analytics suite that independently assesses client portfolio risk profiles relating to sustainability issues.

“We want to equip clients with information to support their investment decision-making,” explains RMB Invest head Hendrik Fourie.

He adds that ESGo! offers an on-the-go, high-level view of a portfolio’s ESG risk, highlighting areas that may warrant investor attention.

With such a perspective, clients and portfolio managers are positioned to assess a portfolio’s underlying ESG components or instruments.

“As the name intimates, clients are empowered to ‘go’ – to move towards making the most informed investment decisions they can. It is an action-oriented approach to what we believe is intelligent investing,” says Fourie.

For clients wanting deeper insights, ESGNow offers real-time information when it comes to sustainability-related investment and enables a current sustainable-investment assessment, tracking changes over time or from a specific date.

RMB global securities services head Sifiso Ndala says the user-friendly ESGNow dashboard offers analytics with breadth, allowing reporting on a number of sustainability components – ESG, controversy association, climate metrics and alignment to international standards.

Depth is also key, the bank notes, adding that ESGNow drills down to sector and holdings levels.

“RMB’s functionality incorporates detailed ESG calculations on the client’s portfolio, interprets and applies international standards and provides transparency into underlying metrics drivers. This, so our client is equipped ‘now’ to make informed decisions that will impact tomorrow,” he adds.

“ESG issues have become top of mind, both for our clients and for us, and more so in recent years. As such, we partner with them – not only in driving performance for them but in working with them for a better world,” notes Beck.