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PIMFA launches ESG academy for wealth managers


Wealth management and investment services trade association PIMFA has announced that registrations for its new ESG Academy for wealth managers – an online training platform built specially to equip them with the latest ESG knowledge and insights and empower better client conversations – is now open.

Launching in partnership with lead sponsor MSCI, and supported by Fidelity International and Farrer & Co, the PIMFA ESG Academy for Wealth Managers, officially launches on 28 September 2021. The new platform is a CPD-accredited, online learning experience that is free to PIMFA members and has been designed especially for wealth managers.

The Academy simplifies the array of latest information and language around ESG, while also delivering the latest regulatory guidance. The online course will be split into three modules designed to provide wealth managers with a greater knowledge and understanding of ESG. 
PIMFA writes that demand for ESG investments has never been higher. Of the record GBP6.2 billion (USD8.6 billion, EUR7.3 billion) net inflows in UK based-equity funds in the second quarter of this year, 50 per cent, or GBP3.1 billion (USD4.3 billion, EUR3.6 billion), flowed into UK funds focused on ESG factors. 

Meanwhile, the whole of last year saw sustainable open-ended and ETFs available to investors across Europe investors attract net inflows of GBP199 billion (EUR233 billion, USD277 billion) almost double the figure for 2019. In the fourth quarter alone, sustainable funds pulled close to GBP85 billion (EUR100 billion, USD188 billion) in net new money, taking 45 per cent of overall European funds flows. 

PIMFA’s ESG Academy is not a traditional online class, the association writes. Participants can learn at their own pace and in their own time, and they will have access to a library of ESG content that they can engage and interact with on any device.

In this supportive, online learning environment led by experts in the field, including Julia Dreblow, Founding Director, SRI Services & Fund EcoMarket; Steve Kowal, Head of EMEA Wealth Management and Larry Lawrence, Head of ESG products, Wealth Management at MSCI; Grania Baird, Partner and Jessica Reed, Partner at law firm Farrer & Co; Jenn-Hui Tan, Global Head of Stewardship and Sustainable Investing at Fidelity International and Mya Erceg, Senior Policy Advisor, PIMFA wealth managers will gain deeper insights into the diverse and occasionally complicated nature of ESG investing.

Those taking part in the course will learn how to recognise and meet their clients’ demand for ESG investing and be able to explain clearly and succinctly what qualifies as an ESG investment and what does not. Participants will also learn about the regulatory framework governing ESG investments, as well as how to use appropriate tools and portals to identify suitable ESG investment paths for their clients and develop opportunities for themselves and their firm by guiding clients through ESG investing.

Liz Field, Chief Executive of PIMFA says: “It is clear that ESG considerations play a significant role in investment decisions. There is an opportunity to be seized here both for investors and companies alike as new technologies are developed and as attitudes change, some of which has been accelerated by the COVID pandemic.

“It is with these factors in mind that PIMFA, in partnership with MSCI, Fidelity and Farrer & Co, has launched the ESG Academy for wealth managers. We want to ensure that our members, and through them their clients, are provided with the latest information and support, equipping them with everything they need to understand, and if appropriate, embrace the future of ESG in investment strategies.”

Steve Kowal, Head of EMEA Wealth Advisory Channel Management, at MSCI says: “The rise of ESG as a new Wealth investing paradigm presents new responsibilities for the wealth management community. Managed effectively, it also provides the chance to deepen client relationships via understanding and implementing ESG-related goals and preferences. MSCI, a global leader in ESG ratings, indexes and analytics, is pleased to have been able to work with PIMFA in the development of the content that hopefully will help better position Academy participants to meet these challenges and opportunities.”

Jenn-Hui Tan, Global Head of Stewardship and Sustainable Investments, Fidelity International, says: “The rise is of sustainable investing has been one of the most significant changes in the investment industry in a generation. At Fidelity, we fundamentally believe – and have research to demonstrate – that sustainability factors have the potential to materially impact the short and long-term value of companies. Thus, investing in companies with high standards of sustainability can protect and enhance investment returns. In Europe, sustainable fund assets under management are predicted to account for over 50 per cent of total European fund assets by 2025, driven by rising regulatory focus and increased client demand.

“But, defining what is and what is not truly ‘sustainable’ is difficult and can mean different things to different stakeholders. Working collectively as an industry and supporting initiatives such as PIMFA’s ESG academy, we can advance sustainable investing more broadly, and ultimately, better serve our clients financial and non-financial objectives.”

Grania Baird, Partner at Farrer & Co says: “We are delighted to be supporting PIMFA’s ESG Academy this year. Our involvement will help PIMFA members to navigate and understand the evolving legal and regulatory requirements in this area equipping them with the tools to engage with their clients on all aspects of ESG consistent with the regulatory requirements.”

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