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ESG Viewpoint:

# RepRisk interviews James Smallwood, Global Head of Content & Client Success for eFront Insight

# April 2022

1. RepRisk: Please provide some details about your specific role at BlackRock and the work that you and your team do.

James Smallwood: I am the Global Head of Client Success and Content for eFront® Insight, overseeing and managing both our Client Success and Content & Delivery teams—which support over 100 Limited Partner (LP) clients and over 2,500 General Partner (GP) relationships.

eFront® Insight is BlackRock’s private market data and analytics platform which enables GPs and LPs to streamline communication and have access to high-quality, verified, and granular private market data to generate portfolio insights.

eFront® Insight is also an integral part of BlackRock’s whole portfolio view capabilities across the Aladdin® technology platform. Together, they enable multi-asset managers to manage investments across public and private markets through a single platform (and with scale), providing investment professionals with best-in-class—public and private—enterprise-level data and analytics.

Every day, we collaborate with clients—and the complete private markets ecosystem—to innovate and meet the demands and needs of the private market investment community. This function helps drive product vision and strategy to deliver against market trends and client needs—to maximize their engagement with the platform.

2. RR: With the addition of RepRisk data, BlackRock’s eFront® Insight platform offers robust ESG risk data on private companies to clients. How do you see eFront® Insight users leveraging ESG data?

JS: The combination of RepRisk and eFront® Insight empowers our clients to quickly identify ESG risks, understand how externally reported ESG incidents impact performance, gain transparency into ESG exposure and view weighted, aggregated ratings for each fund— allowing for peer group comparison.

Clients need to be able to quickly identify risk events within their portfolios.

Imagine a limited partner with over 5,000 companies in their Investment Book of Record (IBOR)—automatic notification of any risk incidents would allow them to receive actionable intelligence and directly react to such incidents.

The ability to incorporate ESG credentials, as an attribution towards performance, is fundamental to recognizing the value of sustainability within the investment decision-making process.

Transparency is also critical during typical risk management. Investment professionals need to understand the value associated with different types of risk—of which ESG risk is now an essential component. Together, RepRisk and eFront® Insight allow clients to make informed decisions about reallocations into different sectors or geographies.

The ability to compare a manager’s or fund’s ESG credentials with their peer group’s will potentially be a major factor in forwardlooking allocations within private markets.

3. RR: What do you believe to be some of the major challenges when it comes to alternative investment data and how does eFront® Insight, with the inclusion of RepRisk data, address them?

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