Citi research on modern slavery and child labour wins Australian ESG award

Analyst Prior recognised again as Citi maintains brokerage top spot

Citi analyst Elaine Prior has won the award for the best new piece of environmental, social and governance (ESG) research by an individual or team at the latest institutional investor-backed ESG Research Australia awards today (May 6).

It’s the second year in succession that Prior, Director/ESG Analyst at Citi Investment Research, has won the award and it comes as Citi has retained its spot as best ESG Broking Firm for the sixth year in a row, an award voted for by investment managers.

Prior got the award for her ‘Modern Slavery & Child Labour: Assessing Risk in Global Industries and ASX-listed Companies’ report released on August 21. She also won last year for her ‘Unburnable Carbon: A Catalyst for Debate’ research.

The award for best piece of ongoing ESG Research, a new award, went to Sandra McCullagh of Credit Suisse for her Australian ESG/SRI AGM Series. Five broking firms were nominated, including Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Citi, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs and Macquarie Bank – though the judges said it was “disappointing” that several brokers are no longer producing ESG research.

The citation said Prior’s work was a “detailed reference piece” that introduces an important and topical issue, while identifying key risks and exposures by sector.

The report also developed a framework for evaluating ASX-listed companies’ performance and risk exposure to modern slavery and child labour and ranks them accordingly, it added.Two other of Prior’s research reports (‘Energy Darwinism in Australian Utilities’ and ‘Portfolio Carbon Foot-Printing’) were among the six shortlisted for the category this year. In total, she was involved with nine of the 21 nominated research reports. Credit Suisse’s McCullagh was associated with five.

In June last year Prior, who originally hails from the UK and who is a petroleum engineer by qualification, was awarded Research of the Year at the Australian Stockbrokers Foundation’s Stockbroker of the Year Awards. She joined Citi in 2006 and her first report, ‘Climate Change and the ASX 100: An Assessment of Risks and Opportunities’, was published in November that year.

ESG Research Australia was initiated by HESTA, UniSuper and VicSuper in 2009 to encourage brokers to provide ESG research. Membership currently represents over 50 institutions managing over A$450bn (€319.9bn) in total assets. This year’s awards were judged by a panel chaired by Natasha McKean, ESG Analyst at Maple-Brown Abbott, the Sydney-based fund manager with A$9.8bn under management.

“These awards are now in their sixth year and we are delighted to see that the quality of research provided by the local broking community continues its upward trajectory,” said Rob Fowler, the Executive Manager, Investments & Governance at the A$30bn HESTA fund and Chair ESG Research Australia. Link