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Dear Fellow Shareholder:

Our global headquarters is located on the southern tip of Manhattan. The lifeblood of vibrant economies — a free, fair and transparent market system, entrepreneurship and hard work — is all around us.

There are cargo ships entering and leaving Lower New York Bay, feeding supply chains and facilitating international trade. Uptown and across the East and Hudson Rivers to Brooklyn and New Jersey, there are the people, neighborhoods, businesses, data, roads and railways fueling economic growth.

This scene — and similar ones around our offices I visited last year from Boston to Beijing — is a reminder of S&P Global’s impact and reach.

Our price assessments enable the trading of commodities, providing transparency to airlines, steel companies and electric utilities buying and selling energy. Our credit ratings unlock capital to support governments building new infrastructure and help companies finance their expansion plans. Our indices are used by funds to create savings for teachers, nurses, firefighters, police officers and retirees. And increasingly, our work is helping businesses and investors shape sustainable investment strategies that address the major environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) issues important to stakeholders around the globe.

For 160 years our focus has been on serving customers with business information. Just as it was in 1860, today we provide our customers with the intelligence they need to make critical decisions.

We recently set out to explain the effect this essential intelligence has on not just our customers but other stakeholders too. More and more frequently, employees, job recruits, community partners and suppliers are asking how the work we do influences society. They want to know that what we do matters. To answer this question, in 2019 we updated our purpose statement to convey not just what we do but why we do it. This purpose, which we express as Accelerating Progress in the World, is helping to unify our culture, serving as inspiration for our employees, and connecting us with all of the people we do business with. 

We know that progress isn’t linear and it doesn’t come easily. We all face uncertainty, disruption and ambiguity that can inhibit development and growth. But we also know that S&P Global can provide the insights that businesses, financial institutions and government agencies need to unlock value, create economic opportunities and spur progress.  

Our Strategy and Investments for Future Growth

While the way we communicate this purpose is new, our long-term strategy, the management framework and mission statement we call Powering the Markets of the Future, continues to be the roadmap we use to guide investment decisions and create accountability across the entire organization.

Our strategy provides a consistent, straightforward way to talk with our Board of Directors, investors and employees about our priorities. Within that strategy, there are six necessary capabilities that form the foundation of everything we do. They are: Global, Customer Orientation, Technology, Innovation, Operational Excellence and People.

Consistent with our strong record of achievement in 2019, including solid financial results, we deployed $102 million in 2019 to fuel future growth by expanding globally, driving innovation, improving the customer experience and leveraging technology. I want to share details about some of these investments and in doing so, I hope to give you a sense not only of the possibilities we have but also the tremendous enthusiasm and optimism we feel about the future.


The first component of this investment program is our global focus. Asia — which makes up 11% of our revenues — and especially China, represent major opportunities.

In 2019 we opened our domestic credit rating agency in China. China is developing a deep, liquid, sophisticated bond market so that it can better connect to the global financial system. To accomplish this goal in what is approaching the second largest bond market in the world, transparent and internationally recognized benchmarks are necessary.

We now have over 30 ratings analysts on the ground in China and a local, centralized support staff to handle legal, compliance, finance and people functions supporting all of our businesses in China. We’ve held hundreds of meetings, educating the market about our ratings, methodologies and criteria. We’re off to a great start with an initial set of ratings, demonstrating a good spread from AAA to BBB, and we have had a very enthusiastic reception from market players. However, this progress isn’t a signal that we’ll see the impact in our business results immediately. This is a market that will take time to develop, perhaps three, five or 10 years. But we recognize this and we’re committed to China for the long term.

In addition to our local rating agency, we’re expanding our data, analytics and benchmark businesses in the region. S&P Global Market Intelligence has added full coverage of Chinese public and private bond issuers with profiles and financials, and S&P Global Platts is adding new sales staff in markets across Asia. Additionally, the Government Pension Investment Fund for Japan, the world's largest pension fund, has significantly expanded its assets allocated to products based on our ESG indices, including the S&P/JPX Carbon Efficient Index, developed in partnership with the Japan Exchange Group.

Putting the Customer at the Center of Our Business

A commitment to creating a superior customer experience is another key to our growth plans.

We know that our customers’ expectations are changing. They want exceptional business experiences that are just like the ones they have in their personal lives. The products we provide need to be designed and delivered in a way that is seamless, personalized and fast. By listening closely to customer feedback, having boots on the ground visiting with our customers to hear about their needs, we will build loyalty and reinforce the value we offer.

What does an enhanced customer experience look like? In one case at S&P Global Platts, the team heard from clients about a particular need and in response, produced an app that provides an all-in-one, on-the-go platform for reading commodity news, prices, market commentary and analytics.

We’ve made a great deal of progress throughout the organization so far and with ongoing work, including establishing a customer experience community of excellence in the company, we’re confident that we’ll produce even better results for our customers in the future. 

Leading with Innovation and Technology

We launched a lot of great products in 2019, demonstrating how our employees are moving quickly to adapt to and stay ahead of the needs of our markets.

Creating differentiated ESG offerings for our customers is one of our most promising growth initiatives — and an excellent example of innovation — because of increasing demand from investors and companies for data and benchmarks that bring greater transparency, comparability and reliability to capital market participants.

S&P Global’s ESG capabilities span the entire company and provide our customers with data and insights so that they can accelerate progress by identifying growth opportunities and mitigating ESG risk.

In 2019 S&P Global Ratings introduced ESG Evaluations to serve issuers and investors. This evaluation is a cross-sector, relative analysis of an entity’s ability to operate successfully in the future and optimize long-term stakeholder value. We have published six ESG Evaluations and we have a very healthy pipeline.

In our index business, in 2019 we unveiled a global suite of ESG indices, including the S&P 500 ESG Index. This builds on a rich heritage tracing back to the introduction of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index in 1999.

Trucost, which has environmental data on 15,000 companies, launched Climate Change Physical Risk analytics to help investors, companies and governments understand the exposure of businesses’ assets to climate change.

And S&P Global Platts is focusing on renewable energies and continues to provide analytics to examine the forces that affect the global, national and regional markets for greenhouse gas emissions.

All of these new products are possible because of the strength of our ESG data capabilities, which were greatly enhanced by our recent acquisition of the ESG ratings business of RobecoSAM. This business includes the widely followed SAM Corporate Sustainability Assessment (CSA), an annual evaluation of companies’ sustainability practices. The CSA is recognized as one of the most advanced ESG scoring methodologies, as it draws upon 20 years of experience analyzing sustainability’s impact on a company’s long-term value creation.

We expect solid growth over the next several years from our ESG solutions, data, scores, benchmarks and analytics.

It’s not all about the solutions we offer to the market when it comes to ESG, however. S&P Global is committed to improving its own corporate ESG disclosures to provide more transparency to market participants. For example, in 2019, under the leadership of our CFO Ewout Steenbergen, we published our first Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) report.

There are other examples that demonstrate innovation and customer orientation. These examples are happening across the company. At S&P Global Platts, we continue to build out new price assessments to diversify beyond the petroleum category both by small acquisitions such as the Live Rice Index and organically, including new assessments of marine fuel and hydrogen. And S&P Dow Jones Indices last year launched Global SmallCap Select Indices and eight new sector indices in Chile.

I also want to highlight our investments in technology, which are focused on the continued deployment of data science, AI, cloud, machine learning and robotics.

We are very excited about how Kensho, the AI business we acquired in 2018, has become a catalyst for innovation and change at S&P Global. Let me offer a few examples of how Kensho and its elite computer engineering, data science and product management teams are creating new opportunities for us and our customers.

Kensho is helping Platts totally revamp its Market on Close, or MOC, process. Our price reporters run the MOC process three times a day, every business day around the globe, publishing firm commodity bids, offers and trades. This stream of data helps market participants understand how commodity values evolve and the data underpin our benchmarks from crude oil to LNG. In 2019 Kensho applied AI, machine learning and data visualization techniques to support our price reporters with better technology, which means important benchmark pricing data will be available to market participants much faster.  

Kensho Scribe is another great example of technology and innovation coming together to create a better experience for our customers and efficiencies for our people. Scribe is a new speech recognition solution that transcribes earnings conference calls. Using machine learning techniques, Scribe parsed thousands of hours of audio files from Market Intelligence’s archives to develop its capabilities. Market Intelligence will produce nearly 40,000 conference call transcripts for its clients in 2020. Now Scribe is capable of delivering more accurate transcripts to clients about 20% faster than we had before.

Those are just a couple of instances, among a growing list, that demonstrate how the people of Kensho are delivering value.

We’ve also been investing in technology to consolidate data centers, move certain customer-facing applications to the cloud and strengthen cybersecurity .

Putting Our People First

All of this progress — from global expansion to innovation and customer orientation to technology — is a tribute to our people. They are a constant source of inspiration and pride. I can’t thank them enough for all they do to support our mission and advance our purpose.

Over the last year we continued to foster a people-first culture. For example, we introduced a series of policies and practices to modernize our workplace and help employees improve their careers — including coaching, training and internal mobility programs — and we created cultural influencers to help strengthen relationships at the office.

While we work to build an even stronger workplace, one thing that is not changing is our enduring set of values of excellence, relevance and integrity. That means change inspires us to excel. It means we’re focused on what matters. And it means we always do what’s right.

Serving All Stakeholders and Making a Positive Impact in the World

A little more than a year ago we reflected on the ways we can use our essential intelligence to make a greater impact in the world. In 2019 we launched a campaign, #ChangePays, focused on unlocking the potential of women in the workforce by spotlighting their positive impact on companies, organizations, economies and global communities. We conducted original research that illustrates women’s influence on politics, stock markets and the global economy. It’s vital that we learn where we’ve made progress and where there’s still a long way to go. We shared our findings during meetings with the World Economic Forum, the Institute of International Finance, the International Monetary Fund and many other organizations.

The campaign has been a galvanizing force for our employees and it has enriched an important dialogue.   

We expect to continue engaging stakeholders on issues like this and acting on all of the environmental, social and governance matters material to our business.

Many other business leaders have recognized that being responsive to a wide range of their stakeholders is essential to the sustainability of their companies and to the long-term viability of our economy. In 2019 the Business Roundtable, an association of America’s leading companies, updated its Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation to reflect this reality. As a member of its Board of Directors, I am proud to endorse this position.

At S&P Global, we are deeply committed to the highest standards of ESG practices and to delivering value to all of our stakeholders. This approach is consistent with our values, fundamental to our strategy and essential to our sustainable performance.

It’s why we have programs to give our people in-demand skills training for a 21st century workforce.

It’s why we have a strong risk- and control-minded culture.

It’s why we are becoming a more customer-focused organization.

It’s why we follow policies and programs to promote diversity and inclusion, support human rights and encourage sustainable practices with our suppliers.

It’s why our charitable foundation awarded 50 grants in 2019 that have the potential to help 7 million people in 18 countries.  

It’s why we have expanded our employee volunteer program, generating nearly $2 million in economic value, to support local communities.

And it’s why we committed to, and significantly surpassed, our five-year environmental performance goals by reducing paper use by 70% and greenhouse gas emissions by 30%.

All of these commitments align to deliver performance and value to you, the owners of S&P Global.   

Before concluding, I want to recognize and thank one of our leaders who will be retiring in 2020. S&P Dow Jones Indices CEO Alex Matturri has been a wonderful colleague and one of the financial market’s strongest ambassadors of low-cost, passive investing and transparency. He earned the trust of clients and is a big reason for so much of the success of our index business. Over the last 13 years, Alex championed partnerships with global stock exchanges, led the development of new indices and benchmarks, and spearheaded the joint venture with CME Group that created the leading index franchise we have today. As Alex works to ensure a smooth management transition later this year, we thank him for his leadership and for being a friend and advocate for military veterans during his time with our company.

We achieved so much in 2019 by working together as one company and by not deviating from a simple, proven strategy. We accomplished our financial goals by being disciplined acquirers and responsible investors of your capital. And we delivered on our commitments to all of our stakeholders by working to meet their needs, staying true to our values and never forgetting our 160-year history as an independent source of transparent business information.

As we make our way through what we expect to be another year of growth for S&P Global, we’ll stay committed to those same principles, guided by our customers and all of the people we work with. Moving ahead with more work to do, while navigating market uncertainties, we are united in our responsibility to a sustainable future, driven by the pursuit of our common mission to power the markets of the future and our common purpose to accelerate progress in the world.



Douglas L. Peterson
President and Chief Executive Officer

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