Monitoring corporates against third-party ESG data providers
At Capital Group, using third-party data is only a part of how we monitor current and potential investments. Corporate holdings* are reviewed against available third-party ESG data to identify potential ESG risks. We then draw on our investment professionals' deep knowledge and understanding of the issuer to determine the materiality of the risk to the investment case.
  • Third-party data add an element of objectivity to the investment process.
  • Our own deep research is crucial as we analyse how issuers are addressing potential ESG risks.
  • It's important to look beyond individual events and consider the larger systemic issues as we continue to monitor investments.

At Capital Group, we believe the analysis of material environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues as part of our research can help us understand long-term risks and opportunities for investors.  We integrate ESG into our investment approach, The Capital SystemTM, through three interrelated elements designed to enhance our bottom-up investment research and analysis: Research & Investment Frameworks, Monitoring Process and Engagement & Proxy Voting.

This image details Capital Group's three-part ESG process. Investment research and frameworks reflect material ESG considerations in 25+ sectors. The monitoring process uses available third-party data to flag a subset of investments in certain asset classes for further research and review. Engagement and proxy voting involves engaging with issuers on material ESG risks and opportunities and voting proxies in the best interest of our clients. As of December 31, 2023, monitoring applies to corporate and sovereign holdings.

Source: Capital Group

* As at 31 December 2023. Monitoring applies to corporate and sovereign holdings

The monitoring element of our investment process for corporates involves reviewing holdings against international norms and third-party ESG scores, where data is available, to identify potential ESG risks that merit further investigation. We then draw on our investment professionals’ deep knowledge and understanding of the issuer to determine the materiality to the investment case. Investment decisions are made based on a long-term view, engagement and analysis — never solely on monitoring results.

Introducing external data into our monitoring process helps guard against confirmation bias and supports objectivity in our ESG integration process.

Our monitoring criteria and review process

Capital Group uses several criteria when monitoring equity and corporate debt issuers against third-party data. We have a different methodology in place to cover sovereign debt,which is examined in our sovereign monitoring article.

Issuers are assessed based on how well they adhere to the norms embodied by the United Nations Global Compact and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Guidelines. We also look at overall ESG scores provided by MSCI and how an issuer scores on the MSCI governance indicator. Any issuer that does not meet our scoring thresholds raises an initial flag to us, which prompts us to investigate the issue further.

Our current criteria are illustrated in the below table.

On a regular basis throughout the year, we monitor our corporate holdings to ensure that changes in scores from third-party data providers are promptly identified.





MSCI UN Global Compact

Pass, Fail or Watchlist


Violations of global norms (human rights, labor rights, environment, bribery/corruption)

MSCI ESG absolute score

Scale of 0–10


Performance on material ESG issues relative to MSCI universe

MSCI ESG adjusted score

Scale of 0–10


Performance on material ESG issues relative to industry peers

MSCI governance score

Scale of 0–10


Variety of traditional governance factors; flags align with Capital Group's proxy guidelines 

ISS OECD Guidelines

Amber, Green, Red


Violations of global norms, in addition to consumer interests, science and technology, competition and taxation

Note: A separate process is employed for monitoring of sovereigns.
Source: Capital Group, MSCI, Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. (ISS). Latest as of February 2024.

Our monitoring criteria are reviewed regularly to help ensure efficacy of the process and relevance of our data sources.

Our monitoring process tends to flag events rather than areas of systemic risk

In early 2023, our ESG specialists reviewed approximately 200 monitoring reports completed by analysts and portfolio managers since 2021. This involved putting key questions to our investment professionals to understand whether these flagged issues were considered impactful to their investment theses. We also reviewed the flagged companies to better understand trends across industries.

Our review highlighted that external flags tend to identify certain areas of consistent underperformance (such as poor human capital management practices, clawbacks and malus clauses) and events (human rights violations, bribery scandals, conflicts of interest, etc.) more frequently than other ESG risk indicators such as systemic risk and stability, competition or instances of director removals and poison pills. In many cases, we found that the issuer in question is taking appropriate steps to remedy the source of controversy, but this isn’t captured by the third-party provider’s score. This underlines the importance of having an ESG process that incorporates research and engagement alongside monitoring. In cases where we believed the issues raised were meaningful to the investment case, we generally engaged with the issuer on those topics.

How are we disclosing our monitoring?

Funds and accounts that primarily hold equities or corporate or sovereign bonds are subject to our monitoring process. We recognize that ESG transparency is important; clients value being shown how the process works in practice. Therefore, we have fund-level disclosure of the results of our corporate monitoring process — where data is available — disclosing which holdings are being flagged for in-depth review.

A view of an example equity portfolio

As of March 31, 2024,ǁ approximately 3% of holdings in the example equity portfolio were flagged in the ESG monitoring process. These holdings are monitored by analysts and subject to a heightened level of research and potential engagement.

This donut chart shows, of the holdings in the example equity portfolio, the percentage that were flagged during the ESG monitoring process and thus required an elevated level of research and engagement. 97% of the holdings were 'non-flagged' while 3% of the holdings were flagged.

For illustrative purposes only.

Because third-party ratings are increasingly used across the market, it is helpful to understand this “market view” of a company and why our view may differ. Many of our clients use third-party ESG tools, such as those provided by MSCI, which score the holdings in portfolios, and we are committed to providing transparency and disclosure of our monitoring approach and results.

Monitoring strengthens the other elements in the process

Our ESG integration process is rooted in investment materiality and enhances our investment approach, The Capital System. Monitoring is an important part of how we do this. We are also committed to driving ongoing improvement in all areas of our process, and monitoring is no exception. We review our corporate monitoring process on a regular basis to ensure it remains fit for purpose and flags material issues for deeper research. As ESG data grow and mature over time, we will continue to drive our process forward.

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* Certain holdings are currently not covered by third-party monitoring providers.

Corporate holdings are monitored to the extent they are covered by third-party data providers.


ǁ Data as of March 31, 2024. UNGC is United Nations Global Compact. OECD is Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. As of February 2024, for corporate holdings, our monitoring methodology has been updated. We now use two data providers (MSCI and Institutional Shareholder Services Inc (ISSI)) and five different indicators to monitor and flag holdings. These indicators capture materially lower ESG performance relative to peers and potential violations of international norms via the UNGC and OECD Guidelines. This may impact the number of flagged holdings per fund.

Donut chart: Reflects all of the portfolio holdings at the issuer level. The monitoring process covers 99.6% of the portfolio holdings, which represent 100.0% of the portfolio assets, excluding cash and cash equivalents. “Other” holdings are those that either do not have available third-party data or that are not currently covered in the monitoring process. The data used in the monitoring process currently applies only to equity securities and corporate and sovereign bonds. The percentage figures may not total 100 due to rounding.

Past results are not a guarantee of future results. The value of investments and income from them can go down as well as up and you may lose some or all of your initial investment. This information is not intended to provide investment, tax or other advice, or to be a solicitation to buy or sell any securities.

Statements attributed to an individual represent the opinions of that individual as of the date published and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Capital Group or its affiliates. All information is as at the date indicated unless otherwise stated. Some information may have been obtained from third parties, and as such the reliability of that information is not guaranteed.

Capital Group manages equity assets through three investment groups. These groups make investment and proxy voting decisions independently. Fixed income investment professionals provide fixed income research and investment management across the Capital organization; however, for securities with equity characteristics, they act solely on behalf of one of the three equity investment groups.