Next year could be the first year when Wall Street's analysts disappear, as the first robo analyst, which can find companies' non-financial risks by using big data analyses, is set to take the stage.
The Institute for Sustainable Development (ISD) reported that it will launch the "Who's Good" (www.whosgood.org), , web platform, which analyzes companies' non-financial risks and sustainability. "Who's Good" analyzes and digitizes non-financial information that is difficult to be quantifiable, compared to financial statements.
"Who's Good" provides web crawling service, and analyzes and digitizes all sorts of environmental, social, and governance data related to companies' non-financial sectors by using "Chiron-α", an analyzing algorithm developed by the institute. It is like an automatic analyst that provides analysis reports, and it shows results and provides automatic explanations with infographics and data visuals. It can be said that a robo analyst creates reports on behalf of a human.
Currently, there are four start-ups on Wall Street that are working on developing a robotic analyst via artificial intelligence: Yseop, Capital Cube, Goldman Sachs-backed Kensho Technologies Inc., and Narrative Science. Whereas these companies are focusing on developing robo analysts for financial information, "Who's Good" is the only start-up that is focusing on non-financial information.
If investors use "Who's Good", they can invest properly as their companies' sustainability and non-financial risks can be easily figured out, and consumers can also easily find out the good companies and consumer products.
Indexes that are used to tell whether a certain company is good or not are not confined only to financial statements. Non-financial factors, including labor-management relations, soundness of management structures, environmental contributions, human rights, fair trade, and social responsibilities, are also important in assessing companies. For this reason, when well-known analysts select companies to invest in, they collect various information apart from financial statements before making a final decision.
The reports on "Who's Good" include a variety of indexes about companies, including levels of water and electricity consumption, waste disposal , environmental activities, social responsibilities, contribution activities, employment, industrial accidents, wage disparities between executives and workers, transparency of management structures, male and female employment, employment status of irregular workers and the disabled, and social reputation index.
The companies' scores are calculated by analyzing each company's data, which are shown on the platform. It is also possible to compare each company's data related to their non-financial factors. This platform has much bigger potential, as it can figure out certain risks via the collection of big data.
On the Institute for Sustainable Development's "Who's Good" platform, 1,700 companies' short profiles can be browsed, and detailed data of about 400 major companies are also available. The brief information of "Who's Good Report" and each company's score provided by the institute are available to all for free. Also, detailed reports are provided at a monthly flat rate.
Recognized with the non-financial data that the "Who's Good" service provides, the institute was selected as an official global partner of World Bank last October. It will provide information to "Knowledge platform", which is run by Connect4Climate (a global community for climate change) of World Bank, in order to encourage companies to decrease greenhouse gases and increase the use of new renewable energies. In last week, "Who's Good" is also registered to UN PRI(www.unpri.org) as a new professional service partner.
Duk-chan Yoon, CEO and founder of the Institute for Sustainable Development, considered companies as the main agents that can solve various social problems in our society. This means that if companies fulfill their social responsibility, many problems can be solved.
The CEO said: "Our society will be able to find a truly good company if it can check its social responsibility and facts through data. 'Who's Good' presents standards that can be used to discern good and bad companies to consumers and investors. And it will help good companies receive investments and sell more products."
Mr. Yoon added: "If consumers and investors are attracted to good companies, other companies will put effort into proper management to become a good company. Eventually, this will lead to a good society."
Starting in Korean and Chinese markets in 2016, the Institute for Sustainable Development will expand "Who's Good" service to not only American but also Asian companies.