The Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI) welcomes the UK Government’s updated Green Finance Strategy which importantly now recognises the key and unique role played by UK-based professional bodies.
As the leading charity and chartered professional membership body for those working in wealth management, financial planning and capital markets, the CISI is a co-signatory to the Green Finance Education Charter. This demonstrates our commitment to incorporating ESG principles across the three elements which confirm our professionalism and which are integral to upholding standards across our membership: knowledge with our extensive continuing professional development suite, skills via our qualifications and exams and behaviour as reflected in our Code of Conduct and Integrity and Ethics programme.
This latest version of the Green Finance Strategy sets out the UK’s plan to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The strategy highlights climate and environmental factors as a financial imperative, with an emphasis on mobilising private finance for clean and resilient growth and cementing UK leadership in green finance. However, as the Sustainable Finance Education Charter reports in its ESG Skills Survey, UK employers, educators and the government together need to do more to secure the UK’s future as a global sustainable finance centre, and to deliver the commitments made by financial services firms.
Professional bodies are already playing their part as demonstrated in the Sustainable Finance Education Charter 2nd Progress Report. Signatories are incorporating ESG into initial and continuing professional development programmes.
CISI CEO Tracy Vegro said: “We warmly welcome the new UK Government Green Finance Strategy and in particular its heightened focus on education and skills. We must develop clean, resilient and prosperous economies that work for everyone. While Britain has led the world as a hub for innovation and growth in green and sustainable finance, our work with CISI’s global partners through our international offices has shown us that other countries are placing a higher priority on upskilling their financial services sectors. Britain must not lose its edge.
“UK financial services firms can do more to invest in the capacity and capabilities required to support their sustainability commitments and the UK’s net zero and other sustainability goals, especially as these evolve.
“We look forward to working with governments in the UK and globally, and with finance sector firms, regulators, professional bodies and others to raise our ambitions and build sustainable finance capacity and capabilities for all.
“The success of the Green, and now Sustainable, Finance Education Charter has demonstrated the convening power that professional bodies can exercise to help make the world a better place.”
About the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI)
CISI’s purpose is to champion lifelong learning and integrity, raising individual standards of knowledge, skills and behaviour globally to enhance public trust and confidence in financial services.
The CISI’s mission is to help members attain, maintain and develop their knowledge and skills and to promote the highest standards of ethics and integrity in the securities and investment profession.
Based in the City of London, with origins in the London Stock Exchange, the CISI is a global organisation with representative offices in financial centres such as Barcelona, Colombo, Dubai, Dublin, Glasgow, London, Manila, Mumbai, Nairobi and Qingdao.
CISI qualifications are recognized in over 70 jurisdictions, with over 35,000 examinations sat in 81 countries in the last twelve months. With 45,000 members in over 100 countries, the CISI is the professional body which sets examinations and offers qualifications for those working in, or looking to establish a career in, the financial planning, wealth management and capital markets professions.
About the Sustainable Finance Education Charter
Announced in the UK Government’s 2019 original Green Finance Strategy, and launched in June 2020, the Green Finance Education Charter (GFEC) was a world first. Reflecting the need for professional bodies to engage with our members on issues beyond climate, including on biodiversity, nature-based finance and social sustainability, the Charter was recently relaunched as the Sustainable Finance Education Charter (SFEC).
The Charter is designed to build the capacity and capability of the green and sustainable finance sector in the UK and internationally. The SFEC currently comprises 14 professional bodies, representing around 1 million finance professionals and includes signatory members from those in the accounting, actuarial science, audit, banking, insurance, investment, risk management and treasury sectors.
Individually and collectively SFEC member bodies play critical roles in setting and embedding professional, technical and market standards and norms in UK and global finance.
The SFEC also acknowledges the collective responsibility of the global community, including banking, finance and professional services sectors to deliver society’s goals as expressed in the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Climate Agreement and the Global Biodiversity Framework.
As a Green Finance Education Charter co-signatory, CISI has:
Engaged CISI members and the public, by:
- Curating, developing and promoting a wide range of resources on responsible, sustainable and green finance, climate change and climate and transition opportunities and risks;
- Broadcasting more than 200 programmes on CISI TV in 2022 (viewed more than 140,000 times by the end of 2022), with green and sustainable finance issues woven into all where appropriate, and publishing regular articles and special features on these themes in our CISI Review magazine;
- Working with the Chartered Banker Institute to make the Certificate in Green and Sustainable Finance widely available to CISI members and students; and similarly the Climate Risk Certificate, developed jointly with our Chartered Body Alliance partners, the Chartered Banker Institute and the Chartered Insurance Institute.
Developed green and sustainable finance resources, including:
- The development of a Sustainable and Responsible Investment Professional Assessment. This has been significantly updated in Q1 2023 to align with major global regulatory changes affecting both retail investors and their advisers, as well as institutions and markets.
- Our range of Professional Refreshers: short online-learning modules typically ranging from between 30 minutes and 1.5 hours in duration. We currently have seven green and sustainable finance specific modules in the suite, which cover topics including Responsible and Sustainable Investment Funds, Greenwashing, and Ethical and Sustainable Investment.
- Micromodules: following a change in CPD requirements by the UK Financial Conduct Authority, we have begun to develop short bite-size learning modules as part of our offering, which are between 5-15 minutes in duration. These micromodules facilitate flexible, effective learning by providing short bursts of on-demand and meaningful content. We have released a Micromodule covering ESG Investing and are scheduled to release further modules covering green topics in the first half of 2022.
Encouraged adoption of global and national standards, frameworks and guidance, by:
- Regularly updating relevant qualifications and learning materials to include the latest changes to (and developments in) global regulations and standards, including the development of the UK, EU and other regulatory taxonomies; and related sustainability requirements, such as those arising from the work of GFANZ, IOSCO, ISSB, and TCFD;
- Paying particular attention to the development of the FCA’s approach to transparency, trust and transition in sustainable finance in Britain. We have also focused on the parallel global work of IOSCO, especially on the critical importance of comprehensive and comparable information as a means to mitigate greenwashing.
Conducted reviews of our Code of Conduct and related guidance to address a growing lack of client trust and confidence in this area, including:
- Developing guidance to support the CISI Code of Conduct, to incorporate diversity, environment, and inclusion.
Reviewed relevant programmes of initial and continuing professional development, including:
- Our major examination programmes and created a robust and wide-ranging array of CPD materials, for our members and others, to include green and sustainable finance topics where relevant;
- A particular focus on the impact of greenwashing and its kin, such as rainbow-washing and blue-washing, as well as the overarching problem of competency-washing – unwarranted claims of firms’ and individuals’ expertise.
CISI 2023 plans
A key focus of the CISI’s work in 2023 and beyond will be equipping members to advise their clients – both retail and institutional – on how best to identify, and where possible, quantify, their sustainability priorities, as well as how to match their portfolios to these requirements. This straddles four key themes:
- Governance and strategy – the approaches our members are taking to review their business models, governance and strategy to ensure alignment and commitment to government and regulatory initiatives round the world to address the climate challenge and broader sustainability issues;
- Risk management – addressing the significant risks to all financial services firms, including reputation, regulatory impacts, and financial loss;
- Data – facing up to the challenges of measuring, monitoring and managing sustainability exposures and linking these to their strategies.
- Disclosures – coping with the flood of new reporting requirements, including for instance the Financial Stability Board’s Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) and the EU’s Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR) and Non-Financial Reporting Directive (NFRD), plus the plethora of domestic regulatory requirements.
We will also focus on tools needed across the spectrum of members’ activities, from front office to middle to back, and in specialist areas like compliance and risk, corporate finance, and Islamic finance, to convert this knowledge into the skills required to serve client needs and to grow and manage appropriate corporate strategies.
This will include tools and guidance to help members and their organisations build boards and management structures able to tackle the many sustainability challenges in which finance has an important role to play, including climate and transition, and broader nature-related themes. The aim is to enable them to go further still to incorporate wider UN SDGs and to navigate the relatively new terrain of nature-based finance.
Specifically on this latter area, we will be harnessing our contacts and membership in the middle east – our second-biggest territory outside the UK - through our long-established office in Dubai to bring as much value to our global community as possible from COP28 in the UAE in November 2023. From our perspective, this will focus not just on the linear progress from COP27 in Egypt, but on the important outcomes from COP15 on biodiversity in Montreal in December 2022.