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December 2019
The RIXML Standards Suite enables firms to improve the process of categorizing, aggregating, comparing, sorting, searching for, and distributing global financial research and inter-company interactions. For more info, see RIXML.org.

Monthly Update

Welcome to the newly relaunched RIXML.org newsletter. We will be using this newsletter to keep members and interested others informed about the current status of each of our active workstreams, upcoming events, and other RIXML-related news.

Workstream Updates

Interactions

The Interactions Working Group was launched to create a standard for describing sell-side/buy-side interactions that captures services rendered and services received, consumed, and valued. This will aid the industry in its efforts to comply with the MiFID II unbundling requirements.
Recent events:
RIXML Interactions Standard version 2.0 was released into production on September 6, 2019, incorporating the March 27, 2019 requirements.
Next meeting:
Not currently scheduled.

Input needed:
Feedback on your firm's adoption of the RIXML Interactions Standard and plans to adopt the standard in the future.
Have feedback or want to contribute?    
Please contact Jim Ulrich at jim.ulrich@rixml.org

Linkbacks

With many research publishers broadening their platforms to embrace various forms of digital content delivery, issues around identity & access management (IAM) and workflow support arise between publishers, consumers, and aggregators. The Linkbacks Working Group is seeking to understand and add value to the process of transitioning to digital content and areas to prioritize development of best practices and standards around the rollout and adoption of digital content.
Recent events:
RIXML.org is in the process of reestablishing the Linkbacks Working Group with Patty Lynch of Goldman Sachs taking over as Chair of the committee.

Survey results:
We had a light response to the linkback survey sent out in October with an overall completion rate of 29%, representing 47% of the content contributor firms invited to take the survey and 11% of the vendor firms. Follow-up conversations with the firms that did not reply indicated that while some firms were not interested in the topic, a handful had opted out due to concerns regarding visibility of survey results.

Of the firms that did complete the survey, 100% are interested in vendor linkbacks, with 67% also interested in trusted links. Only three content contributor firms who replied to the survey are currently in production with linkbacks across one or more vendors. The others expressed interest, indicating that the bespoke nature of the process is a deterrent and that standardization would help them make the move. Almost 50% of content contributor firms have content on the web version of their content that is not visible in the PDF version; those that currently do not are working towards that goal in the future.
 
The biggest reported benefit of moving to linkbacks has been consistency across the user experience and the ability to market unique content to readers based on their interests.
Next meeting:
Week of January 13, 2020. Specific date/time TBD based on schedules of those who have expressed interest in participating.

Input needed:
Please contact Patty Lynch or Jim Ulrich if you or a member of your firm would like to participate in the Linkbacks Working Group and have not already done so.
Have feedback or want to contribute?    
Please contact Patty Lynch at Patty.Lynch@gs.com or Jim Ulrich at jim.ulrich@rixml.org
Executive Director's Corner

Jim Ulrich, RIXML.org Executive Director

Spotlight on ESG Investing

Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) investing is becoming more important. A recent Morgan Stanley survey1 indicated 85% of U.S. individual investors now express interest in sustainable investing strategies and 95% of millennials now express interest in sustainable investing, reflecting the importance of ESG as a driver of investment decisions in the future. At the last quarterly meeting of RIXML.org in September, Weiyee In, Chief Strategy Officer of Zenus Bank, provided an overview of the current ESG landscape, including potential regulatory changes in the EU that would require firms to include ESG factors into their decision-making process.

Following this presentation and the discussion that followed regarding how RIXML.org can contribute its collective expertise to the emerging ESG landscape, we concluded that this is a topic our organization will need to learn more about in the upcoming year.

To begin, I thought it would be helpful to get a definition of what ESG investing means. I asked John Nolan, Senior Vice President at Green Century Funds, to provide an overview of what ESG investing is, as follows:

Essentially, ESG investing is an investment strategy that integrates corporate ESG practices to allow investors to better align their portfolios with their values and ethics. Some ESG investors use ratings that take into account hundreds of factors in all three ESG categories, while others only look at select issues.

There is no uniform definition of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing, socially responsible investing (SRI), or sustainable investing (the terms are used rather interchangeably).

ESG investors believe that companies that protect the environment may be more profitable in the long run. A Harvard Business School study found that “high sustainability companies significantly outperform their counterparts over the long term, both in terms of stock market and accounting performance."

A large and growing body of evidence demonstrates that using ESG ratings may reduce risk and offer financial advantages. While past performance does not guarantee future performance, in 2018, Morningstar found that sustainable funds “on average… outperformed their peers, with 63% of sustainable funds finishing in the top half of their respective Morningstar categories."

A separate Morningstar analysis in 2019 found that “41 of the 56 Morningstar ESG indexes outperformed their non-ESG equivalents (73%) since inception."

By avoiding specific corporations with low ESG ratings and making access to capital less accessible, ESG investors also may hope to affect corporate behavior and prompt improved ESG practices.

Sustainable investing is growing exponentially. Between 2016 and 2018, the number of SRI mutual funds increased 50% and the number of ESG-themed exchange-traded funds (ETFs) grew 176%.

Sustainable investing funds attracted an estimated $8.0 billion in net flows in the first half of 2019, vastly eclipsing the $5.5 billion inflows for all of 2018.

All told, sustainable, responsible, and impact (SRI) investing assets now account for one in four dollars in total assets under professional management in the United States, according to the most recent US SIF Foundation Report on U.S. Sustainable, Responsible, and Impact Investing Trends.

Look for additional information in upcoming newsletters and meetings regarding the ESG investing landscape, the potential regulatory EU regulatory changes that may require firms to factor environmental, social, and governance aspects into their reporting, and ways in which RIXML.org can leverage its strength to incorporate an ESG taxonomy into our existing standards and/or help develop tools to help firms comply with any upcoming ESG reporting regulations.

Closing Note

Upcoming meetings

January 10, 2020 - 9AM EST: Technology Working Group monthly meeting
January 23, 2020 - 10AM EST: RIXML quarterly member meeting

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