ESG research firm Inrate forms partnership to offer engagement services

Meanwhile, rival Ethos adds a new client

Switzerland-based environmental, social and governance (ESG) rating agency Inrate has partnered with a local proxy voting firm and an asset manager to offer investors the full range of services for engagement with listed companies in Switzerland.

The services include analysis of the general meetings for the companies, voting recommendations, proxy voting and other forms of engagement.

Inrate said that while it would assist investors in engaging along social and environmental lines, proxy voting would come from Corporate Governance Agentur Schweiz (CGAS) and corporate governance research from zCapital, an asset manager based in Zug.

“Thanks to this cooperation, our clients now have access to all the services they need to invest sustainably,” said Philippe Spicher, chief executive of Inrate.The partners are targeting the services to Swiss pension funds in particular. CGAS already provides voting recommendations for Publica, one of the country’s biggest schemes with CHF32bn (€25.7bn) in assets.

The cooperation marks a challenge to Ethos, the corporate governance advisor started in 1997. Ethos is currently the market leader, representing more than 130 Swiss pension funds and foundations.

Meanwhile, Ethos said it had added SwissFoundations, an amalgamation of 95 foundations, as a new client. Ethos will take charge of voting rights for around CHF10m worth of shares held by SwissFoundations.

Ethos also will provide the new client with the results of the voting at the annual meetings of Switzerland’s biggest listed firms as well as an analysis of those votes.