Manulife Investment Management, STACS’ ESGpedia Registry Working on Pilot for Review of Sustainability Labelled Bonds

The global wealth and asset management segment of Manulife Financial Corporation, Manulife Investment Management recently announced its cooperation with Singapore-headquartered environmental, social, and governance (‘ESG’) fintech Hashstacs Pte Ltd (‘STACS’).

The cooperation centers “around the usage of STACS’ ESGpedia digital registry, which powers the ESG Registry of the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s (‘MAS’) Project Greenprint.” A pilot phase of the cooperation “is underway, where Manulife Investment Management seeks to pilot innovative investment monitoring techniques for sustainable investments.”

The arrangement “enables Manulife Investment Management to leverage ESG data and digital tools on STACS’ ESGpedia for ongoing monitoring of investments in sustainability labelled bonds, through visibility of the underlying certifications on the asset and/ or portfolio level by the issuers.”

The asset management industry “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.”

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 utilization of ESGpedia in Manulife Investment Management’s monitoring system, it hopes “to effectively digitally enhance the workflows involved for sustainability-labelled bonds 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 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.”

Eric Nietsch, Head of Sustainable Investing, Asia at Manulife Investment Management, said:

“STACS ESGpedia portfolio monitoring tool is intended to allow us to see greater asset level details, such as the green certifications of the buildings financed by green bonds. This would support our ongoing due diligence and monitoring of investee companies.”

Benjamin Soh, Co-Founder and Managing Director at STACS, said:

“At STACS, we aim to bring forward the future of ESG finance via holistic data and digital tools on ESGpedia. We are excited to be working with Manulife Investment Management to enhance effective investment monitoring of its sustainability-labelled bonds and streamline the existing process digitally.”

As noted in the update, Manulife Investment Management is “the global brand for the global wealth and asset management segment of Manulife Financial Corporation.”

They claim to “draw on more than a century of financial stewardship and the full resources of our parent company to serve individuals, institutions, and retirement plan members worldwide.”

Headquartered in Toronto, theur capabilities in public and private markets “are strengthened by an investment footprint that spans 19 geographies.”

They complement these capabilities by “providing access to a network of unaffiliated asset managers from around the world.” They’re committed “to investing responsibly across our businesses.”

As mentioned in the announcement, STACS (Hashstacs Pte Ltd) is “a Singapore-headquartered FinTech company focused on ESG FinTech, operating ESGpedia, which powers the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s (MAS) Greenprint ESG Registry.”

STACS claims that it serves “as the Nexus of ESG Finance with ESG data across multiple industries and digital tools for the financial sector to scale decarbonization financing, as well as a platform to provide high-quality carbon offsets to mitigate residual emissions.”

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