The Personal Investment Management & Financial Advice Association has launched online training for advisers to meet increasing client demand for environmental, social and governance investing.
The academy launched today (September 15) in partnership with research provider Morningstar and provides CPD-accredited training free of charge to members.
Liz Field, chief executive of Pimfa, said the industry was witnessing increased client demand for ESG investments.
Ms Field said: "There is an opportunity to be seized here, and those companies that ignore ESG, or commit a misstep, could incur significant economic costs and jeopardise their ability to earn long-term, sustainable profits, which in turn has an impact on investors.
"It is with these factors in mind that Pimfa has launched the ESG Academy.
"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."
ESG investing has boomed in popularity over recent years as fears over climate change have led investors to consider the impact of their money and a growing number of millennials have begun investing.
It is likely to grow further as new proposals that form part of the EU Sustainable Finance Action plan — set to come into force in 2021 — will require advisers to identify their clients’ "sustainability preferences" and recommend products suitable on this basis.
But the complex nature of a client’s ESG choices, the sometimes contradictory and flawed rating systems and fears of "greenwashing" have created a confusing and challenging maze for advisers.
The newly launched academy is designed to provide advisers with the latest language and regulatory guidance surrounding the sector, with the aim of explaining what does and does not qualify as an ESG investment.
Anastasia Georgiou, director of client solutions in the adviser segment at Morningstar, said: "Our data shows global sustainable investment funds reached a record-breaking US$1trn in Q2 2020, demonstrating that ESG is fast becoming the new standard for long term investing.
"With emerging regulation and changing client preferences, there is an increasing imperative for advisers to have both the knowledge and the necessary skills to frame the conversation on ESG with clients, understand their preferences and provide advice on sustainable investments."
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