CFA UK is set to launch a new qualification in ESG investing for investment professionals later this year, recognised and supported by the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI).
The new Certificate in ESG Investing will be the first formal qualification on ESG investing available sector-wide to investment professionals in the UK.
Its launch is a response to the surge of interest in ESG investing over the past few years and aims to provide investors with better education, guidance and standards around the subject.
The qualification, which is designed for investment professionals in all roles, sets out the fundamentals for ESG investing and aims to equip professionals with the skills and knowledge to integrate ESG issues into their day-to-day work.
The syllabus covers broad issues such as the development of ESG investing and narrower, technical issues such as portfolio construction, and will be applicable to all asset classes.
However, the content is deliberately non-prescriptive, giving individuals and organisations the opportunity to develop individual approaches to ESG within a common framework.
The qualification has been modelled on, and extends, CFA UK's existing Investment Management Certificate (IMC).
A pilot exam with professionals from firms including HSBC and Vanguard is scheduled to take place in early September, at which point general registration will open. The first official open sitting of the exam will be available from 1 December.
There will be no formal entry criteria for candidates and registration will be open to both individuals and companies, but CFA UK said applicants should have a strong grounding in investment matters.
Will Goodhart, chief executive of CFA UK, commented: "CFA UK's purpose is to make sure that investment professionals are technically and ethically competent to serve their clients well. Clients understand that ESG factors are financially material and expect their managers to help them meet their fiduciary duties by integrating ESG into analysis, valuation and investment decision-making.
"Our job is to help investment professionals to do so and we are delighted to be working with the PRI to provide the sector with a formal qualification that can equip professionals with the knowledge and skills they need.
"The certificate will help professionals to build and demonstrate expertise in ESG investing and investment firms to extend their resources and illustrate their commitment. We are pleased to support the development of the sector's skills and competencies in this critically important field."
PRI CEO Fiona Reynolds added: "We are very pleased to build on our previous collaborations with CFA Institute to support CFA UK with the launch of its new Certificate in ESG Investing.
"With more than 6,000 enrolments representing students from more than 60 countries, the PRI Academy is also focused on training professionals on how ESG factors can impact company performance, shareholder value and investment decision making. We welcome CFA UK's decisive step to engage and educate investment professionals in the UK on responsible investing."