RELX develops information-based analytics tools enabling companies to make better decisions. Insights contribute to resolving a wide variety of global challenges. These range from improving patient outcomes to enhancing road safety conditions. Ultimately, RELX’s purpose is that its tools and initiatives are used to benefit society.
What problems is RELX trying to solve?
RELX addresses problems in several areas: risk, scientific, technical & medical, legal and exhibitions. Access to scientific research is often limited in developing countries. Generally, they lack the funds needed to buy the latest books and journals. Such literature enables medical professionals to stay up-to-date with the latest research. A lack of access may negatively affect the quality of patient care and health outcomes. It also risks that existing research is duplicated.
Fraud and cybercrime are significant global problems. Fraud can deeply affect businesses and individuals. Members of UK Finance reported that more than £1.2 billion was stolen through fraud in 2022. Other impacts also include reputational damage, identity theft and security concerns. Fraud attempts aren’t just initiated by humans, but increasingly by bots. This means there’s a continual challenge to keep pace with the level of threat and risk they pose.
RELX brand, LexisNexis, operates within its legal sector. One of its key initiatives is to advance the rule of law globally. It estimates that 57% of people around the world live outside the general protection of the rule of law. Those who do so often struggle to access basic human rights. For example, many people who live in remote parts of the world are undocumented and stateless. This leaves them without a way to prove their residency in a country. LexisNexis estimates that around 10 million people are stateless, with roughly half being children.
How does RELX create an impact?
RELX operates a number of brands in each of its markets. These brands make an impact through their analytics tools and initiatives, from improving road safety conditions to preventing cybercrime. Initiatives include advancing the rule of law and helping consumers reach financial services.
One of the RELX brands, LexisNexis, has developed a range of legal solutions. One area it’s been advancing is helping those considered ‘financially excluded’, referring to people who lack or struggle to access fair and affordable financial services. RELX estimates that more than seven million people in the UK are financially excluded. This can make it harder for them to build a credit score or any credit history at all. A good credit history is often an essential consideration in a mortgage application, for instance. LexisNexis Risk Solutions builds credit scores by drawing on alternative sources of data. These include public records and registers and help to build a picture of an individual’s creditworthiness. In the US, using this approach has enabled 87% of a group of unscorable individuals to be given a credit score. Two-thirds of those were considered to be the lowest-risk customers.
LexisNexis volunteers as a partner with the Ukrainian National Bar Association. Together they established the Legal Aid Portal. Law firms and companies around the world can offer legal support to Ukrainian lawyers and their families free of charge. It also established the Rule of Law Foundation designed to advance the rule of law around the world. For example, it found that legal aid workers in Sierra Leone only had access to one set of law books. These were being sent back and forth across the country. LexisNexis digitised those law books to provide legal aid workers with 24/7 online access.
Another of RELX’s brands, Progrica, provides data to the farming and animal health industry. Farming faces challenges from a reduction in the amount of land suitable for growing crops. Progrica’s insights can help farmers better plan and adapt to impactful events. These may include changes in weather or the impact of a change in government policy on climate goals. Its Gatekeeper farm management software can maximise productivity and reduce waste. Farmers can more accurately determine how much product to spray or plant. They can apply those products only where needed or in varying amounts across a field.
Elsevier, part of RELX, is a world leader in providing scientific information and analytics. One way it’s doing this is through the development of several clinical simulation programs, helping medical students transition from training to practice. Through collaboration, it developed the Simulation Learning System (SLS). This simulates near-real-life interactions with patients using virtual reality. Another system, Shadow Health, enables students to perform patient assessments by interacting with virtual patients. Further, Elsevier’s Research4Life initiative expands access to scientific research in developing countries. It does this by making scientific literature available for free or at a low cost. Making this literature more accessible creates opportunities to significantly improve lives. For example, neurosurgeon, Pratyush Shrestha, has been better able to support patient outcomes and even save lives.
What’s the size of RELX’s impact?
RELX’s products, tools and initiatives impact many areas of life around the world. Since 2002 Research4Life has supplied over 11,500 institutions with access to research. Its reach has impacted more than 125 lower and middle-income countries. Implementation of Elsevier’s digital simulation programs has also had a significant impact. For example, the University of Florida increased its licensure pass rate from 86-92% to 95-100%.
The LexisNexis ‘eyeWitness to atrocities’ app has received footage from over 130 countries. In 2018 footage captured was used in a military tribunal in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This helped convict two commanders of crimes against humanity. The app has also been used in Ukraine following Russia’s invasion in 2022. The evidence captured was submitted to the UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry.
Nearly 180,000 websites and mobile applications use the LexisNexis Digital Identity Network. This network is designed to protect organisations from the risk of fraud. In the first half of 2022, its solutions detected 443 million human-initiated attacks and 1.7 billion automated bot attacks. It’s also been developing the usage of Artificial Intelligence. to more effectively predict if a banking customer may be about to send a payment to a fraudster. Trials of the technology at two UK banks resulted in a 120% increase in the detection of push payment fraud.
RELX as a financial investment
RELX has seen strong financial growth across each of its market sectors. Revenue grew by 9% in 2022. Net profit increased from £1.6 billion to £1.9 billion and operating profit from £2.2 billion to £2.6 billion. In 2022 RELX’s board approved an increase in dividends paid to shareholders by 10%.
The growth outlook for RELX continues to be positive. Each of its markets has a long-term demand for high-quality data and analytics. The airline industry is increasingly using data to reduce CO2 emissions, for example. The insurance industry is adopting more sophisticated analytics to assess the risk of customers. There’s also a continuous need for countries to invest in research. Insights from data and analytics can offer a competitive advantage, for instance. They could also help tackle the various effects of climate change. Growth will be furthered by RELX’s investment in new solutions and applications. For instance, LexisNexis is using Artificial Intelligence to produce actionable business insights. And in 2022 it launched LexisNexis RiskNarrative, a financial crime lifecycle management platform.
RELX’s inclusion in the Impact Plan
RELX has demonstrated measurable impacts on both society and the environment. But beyond the tools it develops its stated purpose is that these tools are used for the benefit of the world. This is why it was selected for inclusion in the Impact Plan. Additionally, initiatives like Research4Life and Rule of Law support millions of people.
As always with investments, your capital is at risk. The value of your investment can go down as well as up, and you may get back less than you invest. This information should not be regarded as financial advice