Press Release

Willis Towers Watson develops new core ESG strategy with MSCI

September 6, 2018

LONDON, 6 September 2018 - Willis Towers Watson, is pleased to announce that it has worked with MSCI, a leading provider of indexes and portfolio construction and risk management tools and services for global investors, in the development of a new investment strategy emphasising the importance of integrating Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) factors within the investment process.

This strategy is part of the Willis Towers Watson belief that the principles underlying sustainable investments (long-term strategies that integrate ESG factors and effective stewardship) form the cornerstone of a successful investment strategy and should be a key part of all investors’ approaches.

Willis Towers Watson has worked with MSCI to establish an Adaptive Capped ESG Universal Index. The strategy offers a simple and differentiated way to invest in equities. The approach is suitable for many investors who are looking to manage a broad range of ESG factors within their investments rather than those focusing on a particular issue.

The strategy invests in both developed and emerging markets with a highly diversified portfolio that spreads capital and risk more evenly between stocks compared to a traditional index strategy (where large capital and risk allocations go to the largest companies). It also invests more in companies with strong and improving ESG attributes. It will exclude a small number of companies that fail to meet minimum ESG standards. This means that investors retain the ability to proactively engage with individual companies to drive change. 

A number of Defined Benefit and Defined Contribution clients have already committed over GBP 500 million of capital to invest in the strategy as part of their core public equity allocations.

These assets join the existing GBP 2 billion invested in the MSCI Adaptive Capped 2x Index family.

Craig Baker, Global Chief Investment Officer, Willis Towers Watson said, “We have long been advocates of sustainable investing. We see the launch of this strategy as a big step forward in providing a mainstream sustainability solution for investors.  We are really excited to see the progress the investment industry is making in this area and proud to be one of the organisations leading this change.”

Deborah Yang, Global Head of ESG Indexes, MSCI said, “We are pleased to see more investors using ESG indexes to manage long-term risk-return drivers, and encourage effective stewardship and responsible ownership. MSCI is proud to support Willis Towers Watson’s ESG strategy.”

About Willis Towers Watson

Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ: WLTW) is a leading global advisory, broking and solutions company that helps clients around the world turn risk into a path for growth. With roots dating to 1828, Willis Towers Watson has over 40,000 employees serving more than 140 countries. We design and deliver solutions that manage risk, optimize benefits, cultivate talent, and expand the power of capital to protect and strengthen institutions and individuals. Our unique perspective allows us to see the critical intersections between talent, assets and ideas — the dynamic formula that drives business performance. Together, we unlock potential.

About MSCI

For more than 40 years, MSCI’s research-based indexes and analytics have helped the world’s leading investors build and manage better portfolios.  Clients rely on our offerings for deeper insights into the drivers of performance and risk in their portfolios, broad asset class coverage and innovative research. Our line of products and services includes indexes, analytical models, data, real estate benchmarks and ESG research.  MSCI serves 99 of the top 100 largest money managers, according to the most recent P&I ranking.