Neuberger Berman First North American Financial Services Firm to Link Corporate Financing to Material ESG Metrics
Neuberger Berman, Alex Samuelson, 212 476 5392, Alexander.Samuelson@nb.com
New York, NY, February 6, 2020 – Neuberger Berman, a private, independent, employee-owned investment manager, announced the closing of a sustainability-linked corporate revolving credit facility. The firm’s cost of debt will be higher or lower depending on its performance against key ESG metrics. Reflecting the firm’s long-standing belief that material environmental, social and governance factors are an important driver of long-term investment returns from both an opportunity and a risk mitigation perspective, it is understood to be the first North American financial services firm to enter into such a credit agreement.
The $175 million credit facility, which matures on February 4, 2025, will be benchmarked annually against principles and practices some of which include:
Alignment with Clients
- Align employee deferred cash compensation programs 100% with client portfolios
- Pledge to remain a private, employee-controlled firm
- Expand broad employee ownership with no concentration of single ownership
Objective ESG Integration
- Maintain an “A” rating or higher for the quality of our ESG integration on each module for which we are scored by the UN-supported Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI)
- Continue to increase the proportion of our equity holdings that we engage on ESG issues through in-person and telephonic dialogue, using the PRI’s definition of engagement as the intention to influence (or identify the need to influence) ESG practices and/or improve ESG disclosure
- Increase diversity among senior roles globally (VP or higher)
Neuberger Berman CEO George Walker said: “By linking the firm’s performance on material environmental, social and governance factors, we further align the firm with clients and show our commitment to responsible investment practices. By doing the right thing and meeting sustainability targets, we will be rewarded with lower borrowing costs, and of course, penalized if we do not.”
Jonathan Bailey, head of ESG investing at Neuberger Berman said: “Building on the work of the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), NB’s investment professionals have developed an industry-by-industry view of the ESG topics that are potentially financially material. We encourage the companies that we invest in to provide disclosure and improve their performance on these topics. We felt it was important to signal that we intend to meet those same expectations.”
Neuberger Berman has been awarded top scores across all categories in the UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) assessment report of Environmental, Social and Governance (integration efforts as of year-end 2018. The firm obtained the highest score, A+, for its overarching approach to ESG strategy and governance. In addition, Neuberger Berman earned an A+ for ESG integration across every asset class, and is rated above the peer median on every category.
The firm has made meaningful improvements in its scores over recent years, most notably in Fixed Income (Corporate Non-Financial) and Private Equity.
Neuberger Berman decided to link the financing to ESG metrics that are material to an investment management company. The firm also discloses its own greenhouse gas emissions, has an ongoing energy reduction program, and has fully offset all greenhouse gas emissions from business travel.
MUFG served as Lead Left Arranger, Joint Bookrunner, and Administrative Agent on the transaction.
About Neuberger Berman
Neuberger Berman, founded in 1939, is a private, independent, employee-owned investment manager. The firm manages a range of strategies—including equity, fixed income, quantitative and multi-asset class, private equity, real estate and hedge funds—on behalf of institutions, advisors and individual investors globally. With offices in 23 countries, Neuberger Berman’s diverse team has 2,200 professionals. For six consecutive years, the company has been named first or second in Pensions & Investments Best Places to Work in Money Management survey (among those with 1,000 employees or more). The firm was awarded an A+ in every category in the latest 2019 PRI report for our approach to ESG integration across asset classes. The firm manages $356 billion in client assets as of December 31, 2019. For more information, please visit our website at www.nb.com.