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In addition to the traditional (corporate and/or securities-based) ratings commonly obtained by an issuer in connection with an international debt offering, corporates may now avail themselves of a new metric — the ESG rating. To date, there is no consensus on how ESG ratings, which assess a company’s ESG performance, are derived or what they reflect.

As more corporate bonds are issued linked to ESG ratings, these ratings will become more material, and a consensus around how ESG ratings should be disclosed and regulated will directly impact their reliability. Baker McKenzie lawyers Rob Mathews, Ben Bierwirth and Elaine Baynham from our London office consider some of the challenges posed by ESG ratings in the context of debt securities offerings.


* This article was first published in the International Financial Law Review


Rob Mathews is a partner in the Firm's Capital Markets Group. Rob's clients benefit from his significant experience in multinational corporate and finance transactions, notably high-yield debt offerings. Clients comment that "Rob is a high yield guru – you know you can rely on his technical advice and market knowledge." (Chambers UK, 2019) and that he is "client-focused, solution-oriented and commercial; he has many years of experience as is able to advise on any issue." (Legal 500, 2019)


Benjamin is a New York qualified senior associate in the Firm’s Corporate Finance group in London. Prior to joining the Firm in 2019, he worked in a leading US law firm in London. Benjamin has experience advising banks, private clients and borrowers on a wide range of corporate finance transactions, including high yield debt offerings, liability management transactions, syndicated credit facilities and restructuring transactions. Benjamin has also worked on secondment at a leading global investment bank its leveraged finance legal team.

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