Bob Monks makes additional investment in Trucost

Shareholder activist backs environmental data firm

Bob Monks, the pioneering shareholder activist, has made a further investment in UK-based environmental research firm Trucost Plc.

“Bob Monks invested again,” Trucost’s new CEO Richard Mattison said. Monks was among new and existing investors who have just pumped £1.4m (€1.6m) into the company as part of a new funding round.

Monks, a founder of Institutional Shareholder Services, originally took a 25% stake in Trucost in 2004.

The extra investment comes as the company is seeing a lot of demand for its services internationally – and an increase in sales of 18%. Trucost says its data drives $582m of assets under management in carbon optimised funds.

It is in the process of making three strategic hires – and opening an office in Hong Kong – to meet that demand, Mattison said in an interview.

A new programme director and a new European sales executive are set to come on board. It has already hired researcher Aaron Re’em to oversee the Hong Kong office from August.Mattison, appointed CEO in October 2010, stressed that founder and former CEO Simon Thomas is still a director with an active role in the company, although he is involved in other business projects.

The company explicitly says it wants to establish partnerships with consultancies and software vendors. Mattison said: “We need partners because this is a global business with customers in Brazil, Hong Kong and Australia, as well as Western Europe and North America.”

Trucost has recently changed its ‘go-to-market’ strategy; as part of this, its data will be integrated with financial software providers FactSet and Unit4 – enabling ease of use and access by portfolio managers.
Its clients include asset owners and managers such as CalSTRS, Axa, Hermes, VicSuper and the Environment Agency Pension Fund.

According to its most recent accounts, Trucost’s revenue rose 11% to £1.75 in 2009 while losses widened to £2.14m.