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MSCI Expands Family of ESG Indices

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MSCI, a leading provider of investment decision support tools worldwide, announced today the launch of 25 new MSCI ESG Indices, including:

· MSCI Global ex Controversial Weapons Indices

Nine new MSCI ESG Indices have been developed for use by institutional investors, including pension funds, and Universal Owners who wish to avoid investments in cluster bombs, landmines, chemical, biological, and depleted uranium weapons. A growing number of regulatory and legislative initiatives in Europe and Australia are also considering banning investments in such weapons. The country and regional indices include the MSCI ACWI ex Controversial Weapons Index, the MSCI World ex Controversial Weapons Index, the MSCI USA ex Controversial Weapons Index and the MSCI Emerging Markets ex Controversial Weapons Index.  The indices will form the basis of a new series of BlackRock index funds.

· MSCI Global Socially Responsible Indices

Five new MSCI ESG Indices have been constructed to include companies with the highest MSCI ESG Research ratings, while excluding companies with investments in industries that many institutional investors and wealth managers seek to avoid, including tobacco, nuclear power and GMOs. The new ESG indices include the MSCI World Socially Responsible Index as well as four regional and country indices.

In addition, MSCI has added eleven new regional and country indices to its family of MSCI Global ESG Indices. These ‘Best-of-Class’ MSCI ESG Indices represent a broad investment opportunity set of the highest-rated companies in each sector, designed to track closely to their parent MSCI indices.

The launch reinforces MSCI’s commitment to set standards for the ESG market place by providing tools to help clients integrate ESG factors into their investment processes. Since the beginning of the year, MSCI has conducted consultations with asset owners, asset managers and consultants in the US and Europe to refine its index concepts and methodologies.

“The new MSCI ESG Indices reflect our unique ability to combine high quality ESG research with leading global equity indices,” explained Remy Briand, Global Head of Index and ESG Research at MSCI. “They broaden and deepen our ESG index line-up, enabling both asset owners and asset managers to implement a growing range of ESG strategies.” He concluded, “Our engagement with key participants in the investment process provided real insights into investor requirements for ESG indices. The consultations helped MSCI to create indices that we believe will become the market standard – for both benchmarking and the creation of index-linked investment products.”

“We are pleased to be partnering with MSCI in the July launch of a new series of BlackRock index funds that will be based on the new ex-controversial weapons indexes,” said Amy Schioldager, Managing Director and Global Head of Index Equity Portfolio Management at BlackRock. “As a leading provider of environmental, social and corporate governance minded investment options, BlackRock strives to offer its clients selective exposures to the asset classes or regions of their choice.”

The MSCI ESG Indices were launched in September 2010, following the successful integration of KLD’s legacy indices, including the KLD 400 Social Index. MSCI ESG Indices are based on the leading MSCI Global Equity Indices, utilizing the same security level data, corporate events information, and Quarterly Index Review schedule. MSCI is the only major index provider with in-house ESG research and expertise, affording control over the quality and content of the research and alignment between research and indices.

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