CalPERS and CalSTRS to switch database of diversity directors from MSCI

MSCI inherited Diverse Director Datasource in GMI Ratings acquisition

US pension giants CalPERS and CalSTRS are seeking a new home for their Diverse Director Datasource (3D), their database of prospective directors for companies, as existing host MSCI says it doesn’t fit in with its existing services.

The two giant investors first established 3D in 2011 to offer shareholders, companies and others a facility from which to recruit individuals whose experience, skills and knowledge qualify them to be a board candidate.

It went live in 2012 and its operation was subsequently taken over by GMI Ratings, the governance advisory firm, via a customized service accessible through a paid subscription.

It aims to offer a pool of “untapped talent” to serve on corporate boards to “bring fresh perspectives that deliver long-term value”.

GMI was acquired by index and ESG firm MSCI via its MSCI ESG Research arm, in 2014 and Howard Sherman, Executive Director of MSCI ESG Research, told RI the firm was actively working with the two funds to find a new home for 3D.

He said: “3D itself is so different than the other offerings from MSCI ESG Research that we’ve determined it’s in the best interests of the candidates to find a new home for 3D, one where 3D will be more visible to the market.“A CalPERS spokesperson, speaking on behalf of its California peer too, said: “CalPERS, CalSTRS, and MSCI are all very proud of 3D. The program has been able to grow and develop tremendously since inception and now hosts over 900 board candidates.

“3D’s future is best be served by moving to a new organisation”

“However, after thoughtful consideration it was agreed by all parties that 3D’s future would be best be served by moving to a new organization where it could continue to grow and be even more visible to the market.

“We think the timing is right for this given the growing focus on the value of board diversity to companies, and to their investors.

“CalPERS has retained a consultant to help us look for the appropriate new home. We are in the process of reviewing options and hope to make a selection in coming months.” The consultant is Diane Miller, president of Sacramento-based Wilcox Miller Nelson.

The 3D site is currently down to update IT security. A statement on the site says: “Our plan is to address necessary work on the demand side and continue to leverage the remarkable candidates in 3D.”