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Corporate responsibility at MSCI
We are an industry leader in ESG Research and ESG Indexes that can power better investment decisions for a better world.
- Corporate responsibility at MSCI
- Our commitment
- Our mission
- Our people
- Our integrity
- Our community
- Our environment
Corporate Responsibility quotation
Corporate Responsibility Our Commitment
Our commitment to corporate responsibility
As MSCI’s Chief Responsibility Officer, Diana Tidd works closely with our Corporate Responsibility Committee to coordinate efforts to implement practices and policies that are the most meaningful to our clients, shareholders and employees. The Corporate Responsibility Committee is comprised of senior leaders from our ESG Research, Human Resources, Global Communications, Corporate Services, Investor Relations, Corporate Strategy and Legal teams.
To ensure guidance and support at the highest level, MSCI’s Board of Directors’ Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee receives regular reports on corporate responsibility and sustainability efforts. Additionally, the Board’s Compensation & Talent Management Committee helps to develop and oversee many of MSCI’s social programs and practices, including talent management and diversity and inclusion.
Five pillars of corporate responsibility
Our commitment to corporate responsibility is embodied in five pillars: Our Mission, Our People, Our Integrity, Our Communities and Our Environment.
We create innovative products and services that power better investment decisions. We provide investors with critical performance measurement and risk management data and analytics. Through our environmental, social and governance (ESG) research and applications, we deliver insights, analytics and tools to support investment processes that incorporate sustainability considerations.
Our people power our business – their success is our success. MSCI is committed to creating a performance culture of high employee engagement where every employee takes personal ownership and responsibility for their performance, career and professional growth. Our talent and leadership development programs are designed to ensure we have the leadership and talent pipeline in place to deliver on MSCI’s strategy, and our diverse workforce and inclusive work environment are critical to our success.
Our integrity is the framework for how we do business. We expect employees at all levels to meet the highest standards of business conduct, which are embodied in our Code of Business Conduct and Ethics, and to comply with all applicable laws and regulations. We also expect our suppliers to act consistently with our corporate values and in accordance with our Supplier Code of Conduct.
We believe that we have a responsibility to bolster the communities in which our employees live and work. Our various social responsibility initiatives make a big impact on our communities, such as employee-driven volunteerism, participation in numerous charitable events and corporate-level sponsorships and giving through our charitable match program.
Sustainability of our environment is a top priority. While our environmental impact as a financial services company is relatively small, we have taken actions through our day-to-day operations to implement initiatives to reduce our impact on the environment. We remain committed to continuing to develop, adopt and monitor climate and carbon-related strategies to even further reduce our environmental footprint.
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Corporate Responsibility our mission
We create innovative products and services that power better investment decisions. We provide institutional investors with critical performance measurement and risk management data and analytics. Through our environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) research and applications we deliver in-depth research, ratings and analysis of the environmental, social and governance-related business practices of over 7,800 companies (13,800 issuers including subsidiaries) worldwide. Our research provides critical insights that can help institutional investors identify risks and opportunities that can impact the performance of their investments. As of December 31, 2018, MSCI ESG Research was used by over 1,200 investors worldwide. By helping our clients pursue sustainable and socially responsible investing strategies, our role is important in facilitating investment decisions that can ultimately lead to a better world.
For example, climate change is a key issue for many investors. Our climate change team supports clients by providing products that help them measure and report on climate risk exposure, implement low carbon and fossil fuel-free investment strategies, and integrate climate change research into their risk management processes. These products include climate risk metrics, carbon portfolio reporting, low carbon indexes and tools to identify clean-tech and environmentally-oriented companies. More information on our climate change solutions.
The sustainable investments market is increasing, and we offer products and services to support investment processes that incorporate sustainability considerations. Products, services and insights that help investors adopt an ESG investing strategy include:
- In support of the trend towards greater investment transparency, MSCI ESG Research covers over 31,000 mutual funds and ETFs. MSCI ESG Fund Metrics will measure the ESG characteristics of portfolio holdings and rank or screen funds based on diverse factors including sustainable impact, values alignment and ESG risks.
- To help investors identify the extent of companies' involvement in activities with positive social and environmental impacts, MSCI ESG Sustainable Impact Metrics allows investors to identify companies with products or services that address at least one of the major social and environmental challenges as defined by the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
- To broaden access to our ESG research, we partnered with wealth managers and ETF providers to distribute our MSCI ESG Research to retail investors, such as providing ESG fund scores on self-directed investing platforms offering ESG-screened funds, and licensing our indexes as the basis of ETFs that integrate ESG considerations.
- To support investor ESG engagement, we published a series of research papers called “Foundations of ESG Investing”.
- To enable investors to incorporate ESG beliefs throughout the entire investment process (asset allocation, portfolio construction, risk management, performance attribution), we integrated MSCI ESG ratings, data and indexes into most of our Analytics portfolio and risk management systems. For additional information, please see our press release.
- To help institutional investors benchmark ESG investment performance, issue index-based investment products, as well as measure and report on ESG mandates, we constantly innovate our ESG index products.
Recent recognition illustrating our ESG influence includes:
- First place in 13 out of 17 categories of the 2015, 2016 and 2017 IRRI Surveys including Best Firm for Socially Responsible Investment Research, Corporate Governance Research and Indices and Benchmarks.
- Awarded the Gold Standard Data Provider from the Deep Data Delivery Standards in 2016.
- In 2018, Barron’s named Linda-Eling Lee, our Global Head of ESG Research, one of the 20 most influential people in ESG investing.
- In 2018, Veronique Menou, the Global Head of Stakeholder Engagement and Issuer Communication for MSCI ESG Research, joined the European Commission’s Technical Expert Group on Sustainable Finance.
MSCI is a member of FCLTGlobal, an independent not-for-profit organization that works to encourage a longer-term focus in business and investment decision-making. We are also a proud signatory to the UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment.
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Corporate Responsibility - Our People
Promoting diversity and inclusion
MSCI is committed to developing an employee workforce that has the skills necessary to allow us to excel as an innovative provider of content, applications and services, and also reflects the clients and the communities in which we operate.
Diversity and inclusion are essential to our success and we are dedicated to hiring and promoting qualified candidates historically underrepresented in our industry, including women, ethnic minorities and those in the LGBTQ community. From the composition of our Board of Directors (36% female) and management team to our diversity and inclusion programs, we are deeply committed to global diversity and an inclusive culture where people can be their authentic selves.
We have employees in over 20 countries across the following regions: 44.6% in Asia Pacific, 23.9% in North America, 22.7% in Europe, Middle East and Africa and 8.9% in Latin America as of December 31, 2018.
Diversity and inclusion initiatives
We continuously strive to support diversity. We established the Executive Diversity Council, led by our Chief Operating Officer, and comprised of 21 employees representing 15 offices across 11 countries to champion a diverse and an inclusive MSCI culture by providing counsel on corporate initiatives and facilitating collaboration across the company. In addition, our Board of Directors' Compensation & Talent Management Committee, at least annually, reviews our diversity and inclusion programs and initiatives progress report, which in 2018 included:
Our annual diversity and inclusion summit
The CEO, President, Chief Operating Officer and other Executive Committee members sponsored MSCI’s inaugural annual Diversity and Inclusion Summit.
Women’s sponsorship and mentoring program
In 2019, we launched our first formal mentoring program for high performing women.
MSCI sponsors many outstanding organizations with diversity and inclusive missions, including:
- For a third year, we sponsored Pencils of Promise, a global organization that builds schools and creates programs around the goal of education for all.
- Sponsored Oliver Scholars, which prepares high-achieving Black and Latino students from underserved New York communities for success at top independent schools and colleges.
- For a third year, MSCI sponsored the Latinos in Finance 10th Annual Finance Bootcamp which educates students on finance careers to expand the pipeline of Latino professionals.
Employee resource groups
MSCI sponsors two employee resource groups and we will build on this foundation to further a highly inclusive and diverse culture.
Women’s leadership forum
Guided by a leadership team of five women that includes the Head of Index and Chief Responsibility Officer, the Women’s Leadership Forum (“WLF”) promotes awareness, and provides leadership skill development. The WLF mission is “Inspiring and Encouraging Leaders”.
- 23 chapters across 16 countries, headed by 46 women leaders
- 85 events in 2018 Including celebrations of International Women’s Day
- MSCI is a Silver level corporate sponsor of Women in ETFs (WE)
- MSCI is a sponsor of Catalyst, a leading non-profit working to “remove barriers and drive change… and advance women into leadership.”
MSCIPride is our Employee Resource Group for LGBTQ employees and supporters.
In 2018, MSCIPride hosted 28 events across the globe, including 15 celebrating Pride Month, with some in collaboration with other companies to show industry leadership. In addition, to coincide with global celebrations, MSCI temporarily updated our logo on social media with rainbow colors.
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Corporate Responsibility - Cultivating Talent and Employee Engagement
Cultivating talent and employee engagement
Professional and leadership development
Since 2014, we more than doubled our investment in learning and development and, from 2016 to 2018, the number of participants in our development programs increased by 161%.
MSCI is committed to creating a performance culture of high employee engagement, where every employee takes personal ownership of their performance, career and professional growth to better serve our stakeholders. Several years ago, we introduced Success@MSCI as a framework for driving this culture. Through Success@MSCI, employees are personally accountable for their careers and their performance. To assist, we created tools and workshops to help employees better understand how their work aligns with MSCI’s overall strategy, seek and receive real-time and transparent feedback and coaching, successfully deliver on their goals, and more effectively plan and develop their careers.
Examples of programs offered include:
- Career Success at MSCI – designed to enable employees to plan, manage and take actions aligned with their career aspirations
- All Access Pass—includes programs covering project management essentials, productivity, public speaking, collaboration and business writing skills
- Financial Markets – designed to help employees understand the fundamentals of the financial markets
- Experienced Manager Program—designed for experienced managers with a focus on driving performance engagement and effectively developing teams.This 12-week blended-learning program includes 360-degree assessments, experiential mini-assignments, one-on-one coaching and a two-day in-person experiential workshop
- Accelerated Leadership Development—designed for key leadership roles with a focus on enhancing performance through one-on-one coaching, leadership skills development, networking and applied learning.In 2017, we received a Chief Learning Officer Technology Award for deploying our “Coaching for Leadership” platform, in partnership with our external consultant Skyline Group, in our Accelerated Leadership Development program
We also support employee learning outside of the company by reimbursing employees for business-critical certifications and membership dues, ongoing education requirements, and relevant industry conferences and seminars.
Our Integrated Talent Management (“ITM”) framework is designed to ensure we have the senior leadership and talent pipeline to deliver on MSCI’s strategy. All Executive Committee members annually review their organization’s talent plans with the CEO and President including a review of each organization’s structure and capabilities to ensure alignment with strategic and operational goals, fit assessment of our senior-most talent, succession plans for senior-most roles and development plans for rising senior talent. Through ITM, senior management can appropriately differentiate talent and monitor the development of successors and rising senior talent.
There is also a dedicated Board of Directors session at least annually to discuss executive succession and overall talent plans.
MSCI conducts an annual employee engagement survey which measures whether our approaches to performance and career development are driving employee engagement. Managers receive anonymous feedback and are accountable for improving and enhancing the working environment to drive higher engagement. Engagement has improved significantly since 2011:
- The number of respondents that are fully engaged has increased by more than 52% since 2011. Fully engaged employees are those who agree or strongly agree with all eight of the “overall company experience” questions
- 87% of respondents are proud to work at MSCI with 90% of respondents stating they would recommend MSCI as a company with which to do business
From time to time, MSCI also conducts “pulse” surveys outside of the annual employee engagement survey cycle to gauge whether MSCI is moving in the right direction in terms of areas that are strategically important to MSCI’s success.
We are committed to training the next generation of financial industry professionals by offering them opportunities to start their careers. Undergraduate and graduate students benefit from working in a dynamic and challenging environment and have the opportunity to learn from talented professionals across our business. Interns have been hired in numerous locations across the globe in the U.S., Latin America, and Asia Pacific.
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Corporate Responsibility - Ensuring Benefits, Wellness and Safety
Ensuring benefits, wellness and safety
Beyond offering a broad range of highly competitive benefits to our employees and their families, including same sex and domestic partners, MSCI also promotes workplace safety and offers the following to enable employees to lead healthy and well-balanced lives:
- enhanced maternity and paternity leave policies including a Global Minimum Standard applicable to all offices worldwide while adhering to the statutory requirements in countries where we operate
- contributions to defined contribution and defined benefit pensions plans globally and Health Savings Accounts in the U.S.
- a global wellness initiative that can help employees improve their health and wellness
- presentations on well-being topics, including retirement planning, parenting, meditation, stress management and nutrition
- annual global Fun Day builds on our integrated company philosophy as employees receive a financial stipend and day off of work to try something new with employees from different teams
- offices in the Americas are equipped with AED (Automated External Defibrillator) equipment and offer CPR training
- ergonomic equipment and desk assessments for employees
- wellness rooms in all MSCI office locations, some of which have been designated as lactation rooms
In 2018, there were no workplace employee fatalities at any of our office locations.
We respect the standards embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Labor Organization conventions.
We are committed to pay equity and addressing any areas of gender pay disparity. Our assessment of pay parity involves comparing the compensation of male employees and female employees in the same role, in the same location. As a result, we have been able to make considerable progress in closing the gap between the average pay for men and women in the same role and location across the company. We will continue to regularly review and manage compensation levels for gender pay disparity to ensure that if any elements of bias are identified, they are eliminated.
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Our employees are bound by a Code of Conduct (which is based on the Code of Ethics and Business Conduct found on our Corporate Governance page) and related Compliance policies. Our Compliance program and polices are overseen by our Head of Compliance and implemented and enforced by Legal and Compliance staff in regional offices globally. Our Compliance program and policies aim to deter wrongdoing and promote the conduct of all MSCI business in accordance with the highest standards of integrity. Critical elements of the program and policies relating to protecting and promoting the company’s integrity and ethical standards include:
- The MSCI Global Anti-Bribery Policy sets forth rules and guidelines to comply with applicable anti-bribery laws and regulations, including the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act or “FCPA” and the UK Bribery Act.
- MSCI strictly prohibits (i) offering, promising or giving bribes or anything that could be construed or perceived as a bribe; and (ii) requesting, agreeing to accept or accepting bribes or anything that could be construed or perceived as a bribe, in connection with MSCI business.
- MSCI’s global anti-bribery policy also strictly prohibits “facilitation payments”. In extremely rare circumstances and where permitted by applicable law, employees may seek and the MSCI Legal and Compliance Department may grant exceptions (in writing and in advance) to the facilitation payment prohibition.
- Gifts to or entertainment involving government officials are prohibited without the prior approval of the MSCI Legal and Compliance Department. Careful consideration is given to any applicable anti-bribery laws. Additionally, employees are required to log received gifts and entertainment with the Compliance Department to evaluate any potential conflicts of interest.
- MSCI does not engage in or have oversight of any client trading activity, as we do not offer or maintain client trading accounts or have custody over client assets. Additionally, MSCI does not execute transactions on behalf of clients nor do we offer a platform for clients to make any transactions. Nonetheless, we do maintain a global anti-money laundering policy to ensure that we only to do business with reputable clients who are engaged in legitimate businesses and who derive their income, wealth, funds and investable assets from legitimate sources.
- Under the MSCI ESG Research Regulatory Code of Ethics, relevant employees of MSCI ESG Research are subject to restrictions on political contributions in order to comply with SEC pay-to-play rules applicable to Registered Investment Advisers. MSCI has not historically used corporate resources to fund political activities. View the Political Activities Policy Statement.
Preventing or managing potential conflicts of interest
- Employees are required to promptly report any personal investment activity, interest or relationship (including those involving family members) that could give rise to a conflict of interest, or the appearance of a conflict of interest.
- Employees are also required to disclose and obtain pre-approval from the Legal and Compliance Department of any personal outside business activities, as well as activities related to seeking political office, holding elected or appointed political posts, serving on a public or municipal board or similar public body, or serving as an officer of a political campaign committee.
- Additionally, employees must disclose and obtain pre-approval from the applicable member of MSCI’s Executive Committee and the Legal and Compliance Department to serve as a representative of MSCI on a board or committee or in another position constituting a leadership role in industry associations or groups.
- Further, employees are prohibited from trading in options on MSCI stock, purchasing MSCI stock on margin or holding MSCI stock in a margin account, holding MSCI stock in a managed account (where discretion is given to a broker), pledging MSCI stock as collateral for a loan, and from engaging in short sales, hedging transactions and stop or limit orders with a duration greater than one day.
Awareness, training and certification
- Annually, all employees are required to complete training on the Code of Conduct and related Compliance policies, as well as certify that they have read and agree to adhere to them. As part of our onboarding process, all new joiners to the company are trained on the Code of Conduct and related Compliance policies and are required to certify to them. Our directors are also required to annually certify to the MSCI Inc. Code of Ethics and Business Conduct.
- The Compliance staff conducts periodic testing of applicable policies and procedures to ensure availability and effectiveness. On at least an annual basis, the Head of Compliance provides an update on the overall Compliance program to the Nominating & Corporate Governance Committee of the MSCI Board of Directors, including with respect to any policy changes, areas of emphasis, known issues or concerns, projects, investigations and violations, statistical trends, and overall program health. Our Nominating & Corporate Governance Committee also annually reviews our Code of Ethics and Business Conduct.
Employee whistleblower hotline
- We offer a whistleblower hotline which is available through an independent online portal that is available to our employees 24/7. Employees are reminded of the existence of the whistleblower hotline periodically throughout the year. Senior members of the Legal and Compliance Department are responsible for directing issues to the appropriate members of senior management.
- Additionally, we have a specific whistleblower policy and procedure for reporting any potential misconduct in benchmark administration, including suspected manipulation of an MSCI index. We have engaged an independent vendor to receive communications regarding such concerns. Employees are made aware of this policy through the company’s intranet and Compliance training, and instructions for reporting an issue are provided on the company’s intranet.
- MSCI strictly prohibits acts of retaliation against any person for reporting a possible violation or participating in an investigation involving possible misconduct in good faith. All reports will be investigated promptly and thoroughly, consistent with applicable law.
MSCI’s commitment to operating at the highest levels of integrity extends beyond our company. Our supply chain is also subject to our Supplier Code of Conduct.
We encourage employees to engage in charitable and community efforts. Employees volunteer globally, promoting community engagement and teamwork.
MSCI believes we have a responsibility to the communities in which we live and work. Through our U.S. Charitable Matching Program, we encourage employees to give to charitable organizations important to them and their communities. We also proudly sponsor our employees’ participation in charitable events, such as the American Heart Association Wall Street Run & Heart Walk, and various galas that support the important work of non-profit organizations.
MSCI also encourages employee-driven philanthropy efforts. Several of our larger offices have a local philanthropy committee that organizes charitable contribution drives and employee volunteer events to support under-served communities.
2018 volunteer month
In 2018, we designated a Volunteer Month for MSCI’s offices in North and Latin America. MSCI employees engaged in activities including preparing food for homeless people (São Paulo), collecting donations for school supplies (Conshohocken) and environmental work rehabilitating urban land (San Francisco).
While our environmental impact as a financial services company is relatively small and comes mostly from the employee office buildings, and from our data centers, we remain committed to limiting our environmental impact. Our business strategy and the outcomes anticipated by environmentally responsible behaviors are strongly aligned.
Our offices and data centers
89% of our global staff are in offices with LEED, BREEAM or equivalent recognition.
Our offices in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Norman, Boston, Gaithersburg, Budapest, Frankfurt, Dubai, Seoul, Manila and Mumbai are all LEED-certified, and our London and Paris offices are BREEAM-certified. Our offices in Tokyo and Singapore have received local awards for their environmental design and green building technology. We have motion sensors and automated controls for lighting in offices which represent 95% of our global staff. In addition, when selecting office locations, we take into consideration the impact of potential climate-related risks, such as flood risk zones.
MSCI takes various environmental factors, such as existence of landlord-driven or local recycling initiatives, use of sustainable and energy-efficient materials and control systems enabling the efficient power use, and public transport availability into consideration as part of our new office acquisition approach, and we implement our own office programs for low environmental impact product use as well.
Since January 1, 2016, MSCI’s principal datacenters, located within the U.S., have been powered by 100% renewable energy; in 2017, the renewable energy credits retired on behalf of MSCI were certified by our data center provider to comply with Greenpeace’s principles of locality, additionality, and sustainability, and were generated by Nevada solar farms and geothermal power plants in 2017. Similar certification is anticipated for the power consumed in 2018.
Energy efficiency and sustainable working practices
While we do not believe that our business model has substantive risks related to climate change, we are aware of and consider the physical risks and impact of climate change on costs of travel, facilities and production resulting from the rising costs of resources.
We leverage technology to automate and streamline labor-intensive processes and promote virtual employee and client engagement, reducing travel to enhance the scalability, sustainability, and long term efficiencies of our business.
MSCI significantly reduces our environmental impact linked to physical travel through business travel policies that encourage employees to plan trips well in advance, to bundle short duration trips into fewer longer term trips and to take fewer physical trips by holding virtual meetings supported by conferencing technologies. MSCI averages over 13,000 virtual meetings monthly. In addition, we seek to reduce paper usage, for example by using electronic documents rather than paper and minimizing the volume of our printing.
As a leader in ESG research and applications, MSCI is also committed to do its part to promote sustainability and to reduce plastic consumption.
MSCI has implemented processes across our offices to eliminate single-use plastic items, including water bottles, cutlery, straws, coffee stirrers and other disposable items. Where practical, we are replacing disposable water bottles with pitchers and glassware. We are also in the process of eliminating under-desk waste-paper baskets to focus efforts on recycling items rather than sending them to landfill. We participate in recycling programs and e-waste disposal. Further, employees in several of our major offices have set up local employee-driven committees that engage in a variety of initiatives, including promoting sustainable waste management and working practices, educating and increasing awareness of key environmental issues and challenges facing those offices, and running initiatives to engage employees on local environmental matters.
Business continuity, disaster recovery and risk management
MSCI is cognizant of inherent climate-related risks which have the potential to have a substantive impact on our business. We operate a multi-disciplinary company-wide process for identification, assessment and management of risks through our Enterprise Risk Management program, which is overseen by the Enterprise Risk Oversight Committee and regularly reports to the Audit Committee of the Board of Directors.
MSCI’s risks are assessed and prioritized using a standardized assessment framework which considers the likelihood of a range of potential impacts. Climate change impact is considered as part of our ongoing review of our business continuity plans. MSCI’s Crisis Management Team and Technology Service Operations Service Management Team are responsible for all aspects of disaster recovery response efforts on a local, regional or global basis, as applicable. The Business Resiliency team within IT Risk develops, implements, and tests technology systems to support MSCI’s business continuity plans. Our Head of IT Risk reports to the Audit Committee on MSCI’s business continuity and IT disaster recovery plans designed to mitigate the impact of climate-related and other disruptions.
We have a comprehensive business continuity policy, along with disaster recovery plans, aimed at mitigating the potential impacts of an incident or disaster, including extreme weather events and natural disasters, such that facilities, systems and staff can continue to function, and business disruptions avoided or kept to a minimum.
Disaster recovery planning and testing encompasses protecting the general welfare and safety of MSCI employees, data centers, networks, applications supporting business operations, communications systems, and general technology recovery following an extreme weather incident or natural disaster.
We regularly assess and takes steps to improve our existing business continuity plans, and our IT disaster recovery efforts have aided our ability to operate in a “business as usual” fashion in the face of recent climate-related events such as Hurricane Sandy in New York, droughts in South Africa, monsoons in Mumbai, typhoons in Hong Kong and earthquakes in Berkeley. MSCI reviews, updates and tests these plans routinely.
Access more information on our security awareness program and program of information security to secure data, systems and services.
MSCI’s commitment to the environment extends beyond our company. Our supply chain must:
- implement appropriate standards to minimize harm to the environment caused by their activities, and
- comply with applicable environmental laws, regulations and standards;
- handle waste in a responsible manner;
- recycle material;
- avoid use of scarce natural resources.
For further details see our Supplier Code of Conduct, which applies to all of our suppliers.