December 22, 2020

M&A Deals Reveal Growing Power of ESG Ratings, Research

In a recent NeuGroup Virtual Interactive Session, Deutsche Bank weighed in on the changing face of the players doling out ESG ratings which are increasingly important to investors and issuers. As the graphic below makes clear, credit rating agencies and other companies are racing to get in on the action through acquisitions. Trisha Taneja, Deutsche Bank’s head of ESG advisory, identified MSCI and Morningstar as two popular ratings providers, adding that Moody’s and S&P are growing. “The two current main…
BankingCapital MarketsESG
December 10, 2020

Corporates Seek Best Practices in Backing Black-Owned Banks, Brokers

Selecting which minority-owned institutions to include on deals requires asking the right questions. Netflix, Apple, PayPal, Microsoft and other companies launched prominent initiatives to support Black-owned banks and brokerage firms this year in the wake of the social justice movement sparked by the death of George Floyd in May.   Scores of other corporates are making or doubling down on commitments to support financial institutions serving minority communities. They’re doing it through bank deposits, investments in community development financial institutions (CDFIs)…
ESGRisk Management
December 3, 2020

Verifying Virtue: Who’s Checking on Those ESG Promises?

Assuring ESG numbers is coming, but for now internal audit is stepping lightly.Members of NeuGroup’s Internal Auditors’ Peer Group (IAPG) agreed that their companies’ environmental, social and governance efforts (ESG) often felt like marketing campaigns. Internal audit (IA) has so far provided little assurance regarding the validity of reported ESG numbers, but that likely is about to change. One member said his technology company’s investor relations team had for the first time reported out ESG numbers according to frameworks established…
ESGRegionalTreasury Management
December 3, 2020

Europe in Flux: Business Decentralization, ESG and Brexit

Key takeaways from the European Treasury Peer Group 2020 H2 meeting sponsored by Standard Chartered. By Joseph NeuAgile businesses with centralized support functions. Covid-19 and the need for business pivots have, at some companies, sparked calls for the pendulum to swing back toward decentralized business authority to promote agility and swift decision-making. Treasury in turn is asking how best to support decentralized business accountability with the efficiencies and controls of a centralized corporate support function. It’s a perennial challenge. But now…
November 24, 2020

The ESG Halo Effect, Insurance Pain and Financing Lessons Learned

Key takeaways from the 2020 H2 Life Sciences Treasurers’ Peer Group meeting sponsored by Societe Generale. By Joseph NeuA halo effect from the business we are in. In an exchange on ESG-related financing and ESG scores, our life sciences treasurers noted that sustaining life is core to their business; hence, sustainability is part of their companies’ DNA. Why then should they need to issue a green bond or execute some other sort of sustainability-linked financing to earn a so-called ESG halo effect? …
ESGInvestment Management
November 12, 2020

Navigating Prime Funds and Social Impact Investing

Key takeaways from the Treasury Investment Managers’ Peer Group 2 2020 second-half meeting, sponsored by DWS. By Joseph NeuReclaiming prime funds. Members are still skeptical of prime funds, yet they would not have been sorry had they kept their cash in them through the Covid crisis. Prime funds could be helped going forward by some tweaks to the money market reform regulations concerning gates and fees, plus a pickup in CP issuance next year. However, what prime funds may really need…
ESGRegionalTreasury Management
November 10, 2020

The Benefits for Tech of Having More Than One Headquarters

Key takeaways from the Tech20 Treasurers’ Peer Group 20th Annual Meeting, sponsored by MUFG. By Joseph NeuTreasury at multiple headquarters. Technology companies, whether megacaps or midsized, are experimenting with multiple headquarters which will resume as work from home phases out. Treasury will be represented across them, even within the US. Cost and competition for talent are drivers, but also diversity; it can be more challenging to get people of color to move to expensive and majority-white communities where US tech firms…
ESGPension and BenefitsTalking Shop
November 3, 2020

Talking Shop: How to Respond to a New Rule on ESG Funds in 401(k) Plans?

Context:  On Friday, Oct. 30, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued a final rule clarifying the use by fiduciaries of investments in environmental, social and governance (ESG) funds. The regulation, according to some analysts, will end up limiting the use of ESG funds by some 401(k) and pension plans. Proposed in June, the change was opposed by many asset managers and investment advisors; DOL says the final rule was changed in response to comments. Member question: “Has anyone thought about…
Capital MarketsESGRisk Management
October 27, 2020

The ESG Evolution: Finding Each Corporate’s Starting Point

Treasury’s role is critical as ratings agencies translate financial soundness into ESG readiness.Credit rating agencies face daunting challenges, not only with old-fashioned credit ratings, but also their efforts to gauge corporates’ environmental, social and governmental (ESG) status. In fact, corporate treasury’s approach to the former can significantly impact the agencies’ views on the latter, according to Karl Pettersen, managing director and chief sustainability officer and the head of ratings advisory at Societe Generale. ESG rating and scoring firms, some of…
Capital MarketsCash & Working CapitalESG
October 27, 2020

Why Parking Cash on the Balance Sheet May Trump Bigger Revolvers

Key takeaways from the NeuGroup for Capital Markets 2020 H2 meeting, sponsored by Deutsche Bank. By Joseph Neu Bond issues are the new RCF.  Discussion on the topic of how to divvy up extra liquidity in terms of cash on the balance sheet vs. a bigger revolving credit facility (RCF) yielded the recommendation that most firms with the ratings capacity are better off issuing bonds and parking cash on their balance sheet. The bond market is supportive, and bank credit…