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UniCredit shutters ESG equity research as head is made redundant

Troubled bank lets respected analyst go amid broader job cuts.

UniCredit, the troubled Italian banking group, has shuttered its ESG equity broker research after Patrick Yves Berger, who headed it up, was made redundant as part of a wider job cull. The bank announced earlier this week that it was abandoning its western European equities sales and trading business – reportedly resulting in more than a 100 job cuts – amid wider cuts of more than 6,000 bank staff. It came as Unicredit reported a €10.6bn third-quarter loss. The departure of London-based Berger, a respected analyst who set up Unicredit’s ESG coverage in 2008 and ran it with one assistant, means Unicredit no longer has any ESG research coverage. Berger told Responsible Investor he was still surprised at the redundancy and unsure of his future plans. Only last year, UniCredit Research expanded its ESG analysis from the German to the European equity markets in 2010 via a strategic partnership with Oekom Research, the German ESG advisory company.That partnership now looks in doubt. Berger joined UniCredit in 2005 after working for JP Morgan’s Asset Management and Private Banking divisions in London and Geneva. Earlier this year, his research report “The Halo’s Creed”, won the “Highly Commended” category at the Farsight Awards for sustainable broker research. The Halo’s Creed, based on the ten thematic principles of the European Sustainable Development Strategy, aims to systematically incorporate the effects of ESG issues into stock valuation and selection processes via more than 45 ESG Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), one sector-specific KPI, one key sector thematic score and a 5-year ESG event study analysis. For the past year, Berger has been working with Bloomberg on its new ESG Valuation Tool. Curtis Ravenel, Bloomberg’s Global Head of Sustainability Initiatives, said the tool was based on Berger’s model.