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Rumi Mahmood

Rumi Mahmood

Vice President, MSCI Sustainability Institute

Rumi Mahmood is Research Director at the MSCI Sustainability Institute, overseeing research across capital markets and applied finance. He was previously head of fund research for MSCI ESG Research. He joined MSCI from J.P. Morgan (Nutmeg Investments), where he was head of fund research and oversaw fund selection and multi-asset ESG integration in active and passive portfolios. Rumi has also worked at BNY Mellon in structuring funds, and at UNICEF, where he researched the impact of clean water infrastructure on social mobility. He began his career as an engineer at Shell, focusing on carbon capture and storage in the North Sea. Rumi received his master’s in engineering from the University of Manchester.

Research and Insights

Articles by Rumi Mahmood

    A Cheat Sheet on Climate Funds

    Podcast | Jun 7, 2024 | Rumi Mahmood

    They may not be new, but climate funds have recently hit their stride. From managing transition risk, to targeting technology opportunities, to aligning with the Paris agreement – these funds come in all shapes and sizes and with pretty diverse objectives. On this episode we catch you up on where climate funds stand today, and how differently they’re evolving in public and private markets.

    Identity Check — ESMA’s New Name Guidelines for ESG and Sustainability-Related Funds

    Blog | Jun 5, 2024 | Rumi Mahmood, Shuang Guo

    ESMA’s new fund-naming guidelines could impact one in three SFDR Article 8 and 9 funds, necessitating name changes or adherence to new investment thresholds and fossil-fuel exclusions for compliance. 

    In the Name of Climate: Private vs. Public Funds

    6 mins read Blog | Mar 19, 2024 | Abdulla Zaid, Rumi Mahmood

    In recent years, there has been a surge in climate-related names within both public and private funds, but their focus is often on different areas. We analyze the numbers to identify key trends and provide investors with greater clarity.

    ESG and Climate Reporting with Derivatives

    Research Report | Jan 5, 2024 | Hitendra D Varsani, Yuliya Plyakha Ferenc, Yu Ishihara, Dinank Chitkara, Rumi Mahmood

    No clear guidance presently exists on ESG and climate reporting for derivatives. Using input from market participants, regulatory guidance and a survey of existing research, we propose a framework for more transparent reporting to include derivatives. 

    Biodiversity Funds: Welcome to the Jungle

    5 mins read Blog | Sep 20, 2023 | Rumi Mahmood, Shuang Guo

    Biodiversity is the new kid on the block in sustainable investing, and a lack of harmonization makes it a jungle out there. We assessed how biodiversity-labeled and biodiversity-related funds differed in sector and revenue exposure and performance. 

    Is European Sustainable Finance Green?

    Podcast | Sep 4, 2023 | Michael Disabato, Rumi Mahmood

    The EU has set up a number of regulations to define what is and is not sustainable. Part of those regulations touch investment funds as most assets under management in Europe (~EUR 7 trillion out of EUR 12 trillion) are invested in ESG funds or strategies with some sustainability-related focus. Is this episode we look at what the effect of these defining regulations has been on the fund investment landscape in Europe, and whether the EU has been successful in its intent. 

    Funds and the State of European Sustainable Finance

    Research Report | Jul 18, 2023 | Rumi Mahmood, Sita Subramanian, Shuang Guo

    We assess the degree of sustainability-related disclosures for European-domiciled funds, their performance on, and disclosure of, select adverse impact indicators, and exposure to sustainable investments. 

    Enhancements to MSCI’s Fund ESG Ratings

    Research Report | Mar 24, 2023 | Rumi Mahmood

    Enhancements to MSCI Fund ESG Ratings, developed in consultation with clients, aims to provide more useful differentiation between funds, bring more funds into coverage and tie the ESG assessment of swap-based funds more closely to their actual exposures.

    The Conflict Within ESG

    Podcast | Jan 20, 2023 | Rumi Mahmood, Namita Nair, Mathew Lee

    What if there is a water utility that saves a city millions of gallons worth of water a day, but also increases its carbon emissions by a large amount? What if a company makes a product that saves people, but it allegedly uses forced labor to do so? Do you avoid these companies and products? Are you a follower of the Ethics of Ambiguity in that the means of production is the same as the ends? In this episode, we discuss the conflicts that arise for investors, impact investors especially, due to the inherent conflicts that are present in the operations of some companies.

    Footprinting the World’s Largest Asset Managers

    4 mins read Blog | Nov 14, 2022 | Rumi Mahmood

    We assessed the carbon footprint of the world’s largest asset managers and found that while there was little difference between equity and fixed income assets, geography and size mattered when it came to carbon intensity.

    Private Assets Can’t Hide from SEC’s Proposed Climate Rule

    5 mins read Blog | Aug 8, 2022 | Abdulla Zaid, Rumi Mahmood, Umar Ashfaq

    The SEC’s climate-disclosure proposal also may affect U.S.-listed GPs’ portfolios. In reality, the rule may represent the camel’s nose under the tent as the SEC indirectly brings climate transparency to some private companies.

    Windy ESG Labels

    Podcast | Jun 17, 2022 | Rumi Mahmood, Nelson Lee, Mathew Lee

    Every fund manager with an ESG fund seems to be under routine but detailed examination by financial regulators into their use of “ESG” in said fund label or how they incorporate ESG in their investment process. We explore what this means for the industry and why it matters. Then, we discuss the current state of the wind energy industry, exploring the companies that are leading the chart for a cleaner energy world.

    The Long and Shorting of ESG

    Podcast | Apr 29, 2022 | Rumi Mahmood, Miranda Carr

    In its infancy, ESG was all about long-only. But now short sellers are elbowing their way into the picture and prompting some intriguing questions. While regulators play catch-up, we spoke with key investors to figure out how best to report ESG impacts and ESG risks in long-short portfolios.

    ESG Reporting in Long-Short Portfolios

    Research Report | Apr 19, 2022 | Rumi Mahmood, Yuliya Plyakha Ferenc, Miranda Carr, Yu Ishihara

    We draw on our consultation with owners and managers of long-short portfolios to recommend best practices for fund-level ESG and climate reporting. 

    Understanding Private Capital’s Exposure to Carbon-Intensive Sectors

    5 mins read Blog | Apr 7, 2022 | Rumi Mahmood, Abdulla Zaid

    Understanding private capital’s exposure to the energy, materials and utilities sectors, and their related industries, across asset classes, may be critical in supporting more-informed risk management and engagement decisions.

    The Implied Temperature Rise of 'Paris-Aligned' Indexes

    5 mins read Blog | Dec 6, 2021 | Rumi Mahmood, Helen Droz

    Using Implied Temperature Rise — an intuitive metric that can be used to assess net-zero alignment — we analyze temperatures for climate-focused indexes designed to meet or exceed the requirements of the EU Paris-Aligned Benchmarks standard.

    What Implied Temperature Rise Means for Funds

    5 mins read Blog | Dec 6, 2021 | Rumi Mahmood, Helen Droz

    With COP26 over, the hard work begins as investors seek to limit temperature rise to less than 2°C above preindustrial levels in their portfolios. We investigate how they can understand whether a portfolio or fund is aligned with temperature targets.

    New Frontiers in Carbon Footprinting: Private-Equity and -Debt Funds

    5 mins read Blog | Nov 29, 2021 | Rumi Mahmood, Abdulla Zaid

    Private-capital funds, which can quickly make large investments in specific targets, are potentially powerful agents in the fight against climate change. But where do private-equity and -debt funds stand in terms of their estimated carbon-emission intensities?

    Fund ESG Transparency Q3 2021 Spotlight: Thematic Funds

    Research Report | Oct 29, 2021 | Rumi Mahmood

    Thematic funds aim to invest in long-term trends that can range across social, environmental and technological realms, from millennial consumption to cloud computing. In this quarterly report, we examine the ESG characteristics of this fund universe.

    MSCI ESG Healthcare Funds and SDG 3

    Research Report | Jun 30, 2021 | Rumi Mahmood, Jurgita Balaisyte, Namita Nair

    We studied all ETFs and mutual funds in our coverage that invest in healthcare and allied industries to assess the degree of fund alignment with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 3. Overall, we found relatively little alignment.

    Fund ESG Transparency — Q2 Spotlight: Mutual Funds

    Research Report | Jun 4, 2021 | Rumi Mahmood

    ESG funds account for just 4.3% of the mutual-fund universe, totaling over USD 2 trillion. But they are growing in number, and their use as an ESG integration tool is also becoming more established. We take a deeper look at this subset in this quarterly report.

    Some ESG Funds Are Not Like the Others

    8 mins read Blog | Apr 19, 2021 | Rumi Mahmood

    ESG funds’ holdings can vary significantly, depending on their objectives, methodologies and geographic exposures. We examined the 20 largest equity funds in our coverage universe.

    Fund ESG Transparency: Quarterly Report 2021

    Research Report | Feb 16, 2021 | Rumi Mahmood

    ESG ETF strategies saw record inflows in 2020, driven by demand from asset owners looking to increase ESG integration and transparency across their portfolios. In our first quarterly report analyzing ESG funds, we found that ESG ETFs saw flows in excess of USD 75 billion, more than three-times that of the year prior.