ISS acquires Ethix, giving it a strong foothold in Scandinavia’s vibrant responsible investment market

Ethix becomes ‘ISS-Ethix’ and will continue to be led by Founder and MD Ulrika Hasselgren

US proxy firm Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) has acquired Ethix SRI Advisors of Sweden in a deal which will greatly expand ISSESG (environment, social and governance) research capability and which gives the US firm a strong foothold in Scandinavia, one of the world’s most vibrant markets for responsible investment. Financial terms were not disclosed.
As a result of the acquisition, Ethix will be renamed ‘ISS-Ethix’ and continue to be led by Ulrika Hasselgren, the firm’s Managing Director and Founding Partner. It will also maintain its operations in both Stockholm and Copenhagen. Ethix’s staff of around 35 specialists covers 13 countries.
“The addition of Ethix will help our clients navigate the complex and rapidly evolving SRI landscape through cutting-edge technology that is underpinned by world-class ESG data, analytics, and research,” said Gary Retelny, Chief Executive of ISS, in a statement. Added Hasselgren: “With the combination of ISS’ comprehensive governance offerings and Ethix’s deep expertise in environmental and social research and analysis, we are poised to offer our clients a truly integrated solution to meet both the depth and breadth of institutions‘ ESG needs. ”
Founded in 1999 by Hasselgren, Ethix provides corporate ESG research to asset managers and investment managers that together represent more than €300bn in assets. Such intelligence includes environmental issues, human rights, labour standards, corruption and controversial weapons. Ethix also backs active engagement programs, stakeholder communication and reporting.Ethix advises some of the biggest players in Scandinavia’s responsible investment market. They include: Nordea Investment Management; Swedish buffer funds AP1-AP4 (through the Ethical Council) as well as AP7; and Danish pension schemes JØP, DIP and Laegernes Pensionskasse. International asset managers like BlackRock, Aviva, First State and State Street have also drawn their ESG research from Ethix. All these clients will presumably now become those of ISS-Ethix.
In related news, ISS last week announced a partnership with RepRisk, a provider of ESG risk intelligence for investors based in Zurich. Under the alliance, ISS’ clients will get access to RepRisk’s asset management platform, data feed and monitoring report services. Said ISS: “As a screening tool, the platform can be used to dynamically monitor portfolio companies’ activities for purposes of investment analysis, engagement, or exclusion.” RepRisk provides ESG risk information on more than 55,000 listed and private companies worldwide.
Added RepRisk CEO Philipp Aeby: “We welcome the opportunity to partner with ISS and provide its clients deep insight into ESG-related risks not always visible through traditional avenues of public company mandated disclosures.”