The confluence of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) aspects has challenged not just traditional businesses to think about how they operate but also investment professionals to look at ways to identify, assess and integrate these factors within an analytical framework. Driven by increasing consumer focus around sustainability, ethical governance and fair practice as key components of the product and consumption experience, corporations have had to implement robust mechanisms to address their ESG footprint. In addition, with increasing interest from insurance firms pension funds and the wider asset management industry into investing in corporations which address ESG related issues, it has become incumbent for the investment professionals to adapt and look at ESG assessment as no longer a niche area, but rather an integral component of analysis.
Given the evolving landscape, CFA UK set up the ESG Working Group in February 2018 and assigned it with looking at ways to educate investment management professionals around ESG related considerations. The working group comprised of a team of charterholders and members who passionately believe in the study of ESG as a part of investment management. Fully seized of the task ahead, the group debated various possibilities at addressing the mandate entrusted to it finally settling upon an ambitious launch of the world’s very first stand alone ESG related qualification for the investment management industry. This was going to be a Big Idea!
Envisioning a new qualification from conception to consumption was not easy and entailed regular meetings, calls and discussions around learning outcomes, content and how best to deliver a solution that was as relevant to a novice as it was to a seasoned practitioner. This was a truly remarkable exercise as it allowed the group to question their own assumptions and look at ESG not just in isolation for certain asset classes but holistically across the entire gamut of investment management. This intellectual engagement led to asking the difficult questions and then synthesising responses to formulate the best solution around course content and delivery. The group hopes that this initiative would lead to a much needed dialogue within the wider industry on ESG analysis and shape the future of investment management in years to come. This was going to be its legacy!
CFA UK provides a very potent forum for those interested in shaping the future of the Investment Management industry. It also provides members with a wonderful platform to meet industry practitioners to strategise and articulate on industry trends, deliver member benefits and build great networks. With a strong history of leading on key initiatives that impact the industry, CFA UK has once again shown the way forward through the launch of the ESG for Investment Management Certification. The ESG Working Group is delighted to have had the opportunity to deliver on this key priority and look forward to engaging with the investment management industry on this journey towards comprehensive ESG integration.
Brishni Mukhopadhyay, CFA