Al Gore’s Generation Investment Management reveals stake in MSCI

Sustainable funds firm has over 5% of ESG and index provider

Sustainable fund management firm Generation Investment Management has disclosed a more than 5% stake in index and environmental, social and governance (ESG) firm MSCI.

The London-based company, founded by former US Vice President Al Gore and former Goldman Sachs Asset Management CEO David Blood, has disclosed a holding of just over 6.6m shares in the company – giving it a stake of 5.43%, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

It comes after MSCI’s shares slumped after US mutual fund giant Vanguard switched to rival FTSE’s indices for 22 index funds with assets of around $537bn.

Other major investors in MSCI include BlackRock, which has just under 5%, T. Rowe Price (13.7%) and Morgan Stanley (12.1%).

The filing was signed by Generation CEO David Blood himself, in which he certifies that the shares were not acquired for the purpose of “changing or influencing the control” of MSCI.

Last week the Washington Post reported that Gore’s net worth has grown to around $100m on the back of his investments in green energy.
MSCI grew out of the Capital International indices first published in 1969, with Morgan Stanley coming on board in 1986 to create Morgan Stanley CapitalInternational. MSCI Inc. was formed in 1998 and an IPO followed in 2007. MSCI acquired RiskMetrics and its Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) arm in a $1.55bn deal in 2010.

Earlier this month MSCI expanded its ESG research offering to include fixed income, becoming what it said is the first in the industry to provide a fully integrated set of ESG research and analysis tools covering the most common fixed income issuer types. Coverage includes more than 9,000 issuers linked to 260,000 individual securities.

And in another development, ISS has said that the MSCI ESG Manager service is now available to companies via ISS Corporate Services (ICS). ESG Manager is an online platform that enables users to analyse and manage sustainability risk across a range of ESG factors. “In addition to our governance and compensation advisory solutions, ICS now provides the tools needed for companies to assess the impact of their ESG policies and practices,” said Mark Brockway, Head of ISS Corporate Services.

MSCI has also announced it is in “advanced discussions” to acquire UK-based real estate data firm IPD Group Ltd. MSCI will release its third-quarter results on October 31.