CFA introduces new ESG certificate

By Rachel Alembakis

CFA Societies Australia has launched a world-first ESG investing certification for Australia.

The CFA Institute Certificate in ESG Investing in Australia will offer investment professionals the benchmark knowledge and skills they require to integrate ESG factors into their investment processes.

The certificate will enable the industry to evolve by placing sustainable practices at the forefront of investment considerations and will also help to address the lack of ESG skilled investment professionals, said Lisa Carroll, chief executive of CFA Societies Australia.

"The Certificate in ESG Investing will enable practitioners working in investment roles who want to learn how to analyse and integrate material ESG factors into their day-to-day roles," Carroll says.

"It will also be suitable for anyone looking to improve their understanding of ESG issues working in sales and distribution, wealth management, product development, financial advice, consulting or risk."

Carroll cites the recent CFA Institute Future of Sustainability in Investment Management research report, which found that more than 6 percent of job posts in the investment industry require ESG skills, while only one percent of professionals claimed to have these skills. At the same time, 90 percent of investment management professionals expect their firms' commitment to ESG research to increase.

"Demand is greater than supply," she adds. "For portfolio manager roles posted on LinkedIn, 18 percent required ESG expertise, yet only 1.5 percent of portfolio manager profiles claimed these skills."

With 76 percent of institutional investors and 69 percent of retail investors declaring an interest in ESG, according to a recent CFA Institute survey, the certificate is suitable for practitioners across all investment functions, including portfolio management, product development, sales, financial advice, consulting and risk analysis.

The certificate is a self-study online course requiring approximately 130 hours of study, culminating in a two-hour, 20-minute computer-based exam comprising 100 questions.

On successful completion of the exam, candidates will be awarded a certificate.

The CFA Institute Certificate in ESG Investing was developed by CFA Society of the United Kingdom in consultation with leading firms and is recognised by the UN Principles for Responsible Investment

"We are seeing a real acceleration of interest in ESG investing - a major development that will shape the future of finance - while increased demand from clients and investment managers has fuelled the need for education," says Margaret Franklin, president, and chief executive of CFA Institute.

"This certificate is the first of its kind to be made available globally, and will equip practitioners with foundational knowledge and competencies, enabling them to better serve the needs of their clients and contribute to building trust within the industry."