Paris-based Grizzly RI merges into Beyond Ratings as it pursues ESG credit ratings agency licence

Grizzly founder, Valery Lucas-Leclin joins Beyond Rating’s Executive Committee.

Grizzly RI, the Paris-based ESG research entity set up in 2015 by Valery Lucas-Leclin, one of Europe’s top rated ESG broker analysts who jointly ran Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s (BoAML) sustainability research in London, has merged into Paris-based research house Beyond Ratings as part of a bid by the latter to build a Credit Rating Agency (CRA) integrating ESG factors in sovereign and corporate ratings. Terms of the deal have not been announced. Beyond Ratings, which was set up in 2014, has more than 20 staff and analyses the default risk of sovereign issuers globally, with an enhanced focus on risks from energy and climate policies. In addition to its financial assessment, Beyond Ratings also offers non-financial ESG analysis. Current clients include French pension fund ERAFP and a number of undisclosed pension funds, asset managers and insurers in France, the US, the UK and the Nordics.
As part of the integration, the Grizzly name will be dropped, but it brings its corporate ESG research experience to Beyond Rating’s sovereign ratings work. RI reported in August last year that Beyond Ratings had applied to the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) to become the world’s first credit ratings agency to integrate environmental factors into all of its ratings. At the time it had flagged up plans to expand into corporate coverage which will now be developed via the Grizzly deal. Lucas-Leclin joins the Executive Committee of Beyond Ratings as Director in charge of analytics.The four-strong Executive Committee includes Rodolphe Bocquet, President of Beyond Ratings. Lucas-Leclin started Grizzly after more than 15 years in RI corporate research for five different companies: AReSE, Innovest, CM-CIC Securities, Société Générale, and BoAML. His last role was as Director
, Senior Analyst, Thematic, ESG Sustainability, 
EMEA Global Research, at Merrill Lynch Capital Markets in Paris, after returning to his native France during 2013 after three years in London.
Stephane Voisin, a shareholder in Grizzly and former Head Transition Research & Investment: Sustainable Finance at Kepler Cheuvreux, the French brokerage firm, will not join Beyond Ratings, but has kept his relative share portion of Grizzly within the new structure. Grizzly had one other staff analyst who will join Beyond Ratings.
To be able to perform full credit ratings – which use both qualitative and quantitative analysis – companies in Europe must be approved and regulated by ESMA. Because it doesn’t have this status, Beyond Ratings has so far provided credit ‘scores’ – using solely quantitative data to establish default risk. It uses the traditional framework for credit ratings, but adds an additional pillar addressing the impact of energy, climate and natural resources on the creditworthiness of a country. The firm has been supported by grants and loans from the French Global Environmental Fund and France’s development bank, Agence Française de Developpement (AFD), as well as private capital fundraising.