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Manulife Investment Management joins forces with STACS’ ESGpedia registry on a pilot for effective review of sustainability labelled bonds

The STACS’ ESGpedia platform will assist Manulife Investment Management in its pilot to monitor the underlying quality of sustainable investments. ESGpedia powers the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS)’s Greenprint ESG Registry, and is intended to provide holistic ESG data across multiple sectors and digital tools to enable ongoing monitoring and visibility of sustainability claims made by sustainability labelled bonds.

SINGAPORE – The global wealth and asset management segment of Manulife Financial Corporation, Manulife Investment Management today announced its cooperation with Singapore-headquartered environmental, social, and governance (‘ESG’) fintech Hashstacs Pte Ltd (‘STACS’).

The cooperation centres around the usage of STACS’ ESGpedia digital registry, which powers the ESG Registry of the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s (‘MAS’) Project Greenprint. A pilot phase of the  cooperation is underway, where Manulife Investment Management seeks to pilot innovative investment monitoring techniques for sustainable investments.

Real-time visibility of sustainability data for sustainability-labelled bonds

The arrangement enables Manulife Investment Management to leverage  ESG data and digital tools on STACS’ ESGpedia for ongoing monitoring of investments in labelled sustainability labelled bonds, through visibility of the underlying certifications on the asset and/ or portfolio level by the issuers.

The asset management industry faces challenges around ESG data, with a lack of forward-looking disclosure, real-time data, and common taxonomy. Data is fragmented and being presented in either narrative or unstructured form, with no “golden” copy data architecture of investible instruments, hindering effective sustainable investment decisions. Current processes of sustainability assessment as well as monitoring and servicing are also highly manual and labour-intensive as a result.

ESGpedia serves as a central ESG registry for the specific financial dataset, aggregating ESG data and certifications across multiple industry data sources, to support sustainable investing through holistic data and digital tools.  Through the utilization of ESGpedia in Manulife Investment Management’s monitoring system, it hopes to effectively digitally enhance the workflows involved for sustainability-labelled bonds investment monitoring process.

In addition to allowing customers to access ongoing data from authorised counterparties via data consent management, the portfolio monitoring tool on ESGpedia aims to streamline the monitoring of sustainability labelled bonds by highlighting third party sustainability-related certifications of underlying assets. This allows for an effective and digital way to have greater visibility into the third-party assurances and underlying assets of sustainability labelled bonds which can support sustainability engagement with portfolio companies.

Greater asset level details on green and sustainability-related certifications

Eric Nietsch, Head of Sustainable Investing, Asia at Manulife Investment Management, said: “STACS portfolio monitoring tool is intended to allow us to see greater asset level details, such as the green  certifications of the buildings financed by green bonds. This would support our ongoing due diligence and monitoring of investee companies.”

Benjamin Soh, Co-Founder and Managing Director at STACS, said: “At STACS, we aim to bring forward the future of ESG finance via holistic data and digital tools on ESGpedia. We are excited to be working with Manulife Investment Management to enhance effective investment monitoring of its sustainability-labelled bonds and streamline the existing process digitally.”