GOVERNANCE

SOCIAL

ENVIRONNEMENTAL

Nature of shareholders

Existence and position of the HR Director

Existence and quality of an environmental policy

Board size

Employee turnover:

– Gross value

– Trend

– Peers comparison

Greenhouse gas emissions

– Gross value

– Trend

– Peers comparison

Board expertise

Accident Frequency Rate

– Gross value

– Trend

– Peers comparison

Energy consumption

– Trend analysis

– Peers comparison

Longevity of Board members

Share of the workforce operating in countries with human rights issues

Exposition to natural disasters

independance of Board Directors

Weight of the provisions for restructuring

Presence of CAPEX in environmentally risky locations

Separation of Chairman / CEO positions

Impact of strikes

Weight of provisions for environmental issues

Audit fees

Level of social controversies

Level of environmental controversies

Length of relationships with Auditors

Exposure to regulatory changes of labour conditions

– Probability

– Impact

Sector’s environmental issues

Related party transactions

Integration of social criteria in procurement practices / outsourcing

Exposure to regulatory changes or consumer habits regarding to the company’s environmental impact

– Probability

– Impact

Tax disputes and controversies of Chairman, CEO, Audit Chief

 

Water consumption analysis

Gross value

Trend analysis

Peers comparison

Exposure to water stress

CEO variable remuneration

 

Integration of environmental criteria in procurement practices /outsourcing

Quality of the auditors

  

Complexity of the corporate structure

  

Turnover of top management

  

Environmental

Spread Research implemented its Environmental methodology in November 2019 in order to provide asset managers and risk managers with an assessment of risks related to environmental issues. We defined 11 criteria which allow us to score from 0 to 5 credit risks inherited from environmental matters.
We value issuers having defined clear objectives in terms of environment and a responsible policy, including in the way they choose their suppliers.
We have benchmarked issuers in their respective sectors in order to assess quantifiable data such as greenhouse gas emissions, energy consumption and water consumption. While we benchmark issuers upon their financial exposure to potential environmental risks, our methodology also incorporates risk assessment from issuer’s major capital expenditures in vulnerable regions from an environmental perspective. Like in social considerations, we identify potential regulatory changes, controversies and exposure to environmental risks.
Spread Research ESG Research is key to provide timely efficient bond recommendation, including on Environmental issues which we view as increasingly affecting current credit quality.

 

Social

Spread Research implemented its Social methodology in September 2019 in order to provide asset managers and risk managers with an assessment of risks related to the social climate in a company. Proprietary methodology is based on 9 criteria which are proactive measures of potential risks inherited from weak management of social considerations. Our S-score spans from 0 to 5, which is the best score.
We value the presence of a global HR manager and the quality of the social reporting in case quantifiable data lacks. We have benchmarked issuers in their respective sectors in order to assess employee’s turnover, the frequency of injuries and their exposure to a regulatory change affecting business trends due to social considerations. Based on our internal collecting data tools, we track social controversies and current strikes affecting productivity output of an issuer.
Typically, we believe that provisions for restructurings are a good factor of social troubles, while the split of staff and supply chain located through various geographies imply risks which have to be determined on a case by case.

 

Governance

Spread Research implemented its Governance methodology in October 2019 in order to provide asset managers and risk managers with an in-depth proprietary and detailed analysis of Governance related issues. While the primarily determinant of an issuer’s credit quality remains its financial metrics and the sustainability of its business, underestimating risks related to Governance can cost bondholders a significant amount of money.
Based on our 15 years of experience in Credit Research, Spread Research believes that Governance assessment is key for having a good view over a firm’s management and to avoid accounting fraud, accounting irregularities.
We have defined 15 quantifiable criteria suitable for investors to assess the quality of Governance at the issuer level. This led to a G-Score that splits between 0 for the worst performer to 5 for the best one that we outline in our reports. Our methodology incorporates our view on the types of shareholder, board-related issues such as size, expertise or independence, relationships with audit firms, management considerations and other topics such as related parties. Bearing in mind fund managers’ objectives, we put a price on the spread impact related to a weak Governance score and stress whenever a weak Governance is not fully factored into the notes.
We regularly update our G-score in our reports in case an issuer’s Governance improves or weakens.

 

Spread Research has been a pioneer in Credit Research for the last 15 years. Rightly anticipating the new paradigm implied by the ESG upheaval, we have been working for 2 years to integrate ESG factors into our fundamental credit analysis.
To achieve this timely and consistently, we have tied-up with EthiFinance, the leading sustainability rating agency with 15 years expertise under its belt.
To back-up this effort, we have been fuelled by leading institutional investors such as Aviva and French insurance companies. In effect, for most institutional investors , investing in credit without taking stock of ESG is not an option any longer.
The result of our work, performed with a joint ESG/Credit team of ca. 25 analysts, is a first-class, innovative process of consistently embedding ESG into our financial analysis.
Circa 45 ESG relevant criteria have been selected with a view to specifically enhance our credit view.
This new service is available as a bundle (e.g. for our coverage, enhanced credit analysis plus ESG analysis). Our proprietary ESG analysis is also available on a stand-alone basis (ESG score plus E, S and G subscores and granular information supporting these scores).
Choosing Spread Research gives you an edge, even more than before. Because you are certain that you get the best, most comprehensive and holistic assessment of a given issuer’s credit risk in the European High Yield, Convertible and Cross-over segments.
There is just simply no other independent provider offering this service at present.
Something your management, your clients and your clients’ clients (not to mention your kids!) are asking for more and more loudly as everyone is seeking to enhance his or her Socially Responsible / Sustainable / Impact investment profile.