The European Federation of Financial Analyst Societies (EFFAS) is leading the Certifications on ESG worldwide. EFFAS has been granting its ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) analyst certification since 2014 and certified over 800 professionals around the world until now.
EFFAS is a non-profit organization that brings together 15 European national associations with more than 20,000 members, all professionals in investment, asset management and financial analysis. The purposes of EFFAS, chaired by Jesús López Zaballos since 2012, are to offer proposals for improvements to regulations to public administrations, regulators and international organizations, to raise the level of training of professionals in the field of financial analysis, to develop international standards, ethical codes and professional conduct and become a world benchmark in the training and certification of investment professionals.
Professional certifications are intended so that the theoretical knowledge and practical skills of their graduates are accredited and can be internationally comparable. In this way, certification holders demonstrate their professional experience and increase the confidence of their clients as specialists in financial advice.
This is the case of the CESGA (Certified ESG Analyst) diploma in responsible investment advice, which not only considers profitability, but also social, environmental impact and good governance practices (Environmental, Social and Governance, ESG). In other words, investments that generate competitive financial returns in the long term and a positive social impact. Criteria that are not only considered every day by entities and professionals but are also in growing demand among clients themselves. In some important firms in the sector, assets in investment funds that are managed considering the ESG criteria already make up 85% of the total.
Therefore, in an environment in which sustainable decisions are gaining weight in portfolios, the importance of good training in this area is growing for analysts and managers, who feel the need to retrain to introduce these ESG criteria into their work. It was not until the CESGA programme was launched by EFFAS that there were any such professional or academic qualifications to meet this need.
The CESGA is especially aimed at financial analysts and portfolio managers who want to integrate ESG data into their capital investment processes, but also, in general, at all investment professionals, who are increasingly committed to sustainability issues. Other specialists also demand this course to develop a better understanding of the needs of the capital markets in terms of ESG information, such as those responsible for corporate sustainability, investor relations, auditors, and consultants.
Ultimately, it is the ideal programme for asset owners, asset managers, corporate consultants, financial planners, and family offices who wish to adopt ESG criteria in a comprehensive way.
The CESGA is consolidated in the biggest markets of Europe and rapidly gaining market in Asia and America, especially in Hong Kong, Colombia, Peru, and Mexico, with important local support. Thus, EFFAS expects that the number of holders will exceed 1,200 by the end of 2020.
Main Fund managers Companies and Banks are certifying their ESG professionals with the EFFAS CESGA Programme such as Andbank, Bankia, BBVA Asset Management, BNP Paribas Asset Management, Caixa Asset Management, CDC Valeurs Moyennes, Deutsche Bank, DWS Investment, La Banque Postale Asset Management, Mutua dels Enginyers, Mapfre Inversión, Metzler Asset Management, Sura Afore, Tressis Gestión, Santander Asset Management, Die EB-Sustainable Investment Management GmbH (DB-SIM), Zürcher Kantonalbank
Long term commitment with ESG values
EFFAS founded the ESG Commission in 2007, an EFFAS think tank with members from the academic and professional environment and representing the best practices in several countries. It is currently co-chaired by Jean-Philippe Desmartin and Frank Klein from France and Germany, respectively. This Commission back in 2010 prepared a guide with the main KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) in the field of finance with ESG criteria and later the CESGA Programme. Their members are actively participating in institutions worldwide, such us, José Luis Blasco from Spain, who has been part of the technical working group on sustainable finance that the European Commission launched in 2018 (European Commission Technical Working Group on Sustainable Finance) for the implementation of the Commission action plan on sustainable finance.
Modern tools to make the certification available in all markets
On June 12, more than 400 candidates took the first online exam organized by EFFAS to obtain the CESGA certification. The next session to be held in November will top this number. The federation will organize four calls for this exam next year.
The programme is available completely online, both the preparatory training, since last year; as well as the exam, from this year 2020. In this way, it is accessible to candidates from all over the world who are interested in improving their professional opportunities with the ESG Analyst Certification.
Before Covid-19, the exam had also been carried out in person in venues in the main financial centres: New York, London, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Paris, Madrid, Milan, Amsterdam, Brussels, Helsinki, Lisbon, Oslo, Stockholm, Vienna and Zurich. The pandemic itself is a sign that has highlighted the importance of the environment and social aspects and, therefore, the importance that training in these issues has for our future when making investment decisions.