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CFA UK launches pilot impact investing exams

Published: 5 December 2023

The UK membership association for investment professionals is offering a basic foundation level certificate in impact investing to professionals who want to build some expertise in the sector

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CFA UK has launched its pilot impact investing exam | Scott Graham on Unsplash

The CFA Society of the UK (CFA UK), the membership organisation for investment professionals, has launched a pilot exam programme for its Certificate In Impact Investing. Approximately two hundred candidates are sitting for the exams, and approximately five hundred people have registered their interest in taking them when the certificate is officially launched next year.

Speaking to Impact Investor, Will Goodhart, chief executive officer at CFA UK, said: “The environmental and social challenges we are facing are considerable, and becoming much more urgent. The ability of private capital to contribute to or help address those challenges while making attractive financial returns from doing so is clear.”

The move follows on from previous certificates launched by CFA UK and CFA Institute, the global organisation of which CFA UK is part. “We started working on certificates in sustainable investing in 2017 and we brought out the certificate in ESG investing in 2019, and when we did that, we were already thinking that perhaps there would be scope for future certificates on other topics,” said Goodhart.

According to Goodhart, the organisation had been working on its impact certificate for approximately 15 months. “We followed the same approach that we have followed with our other certificates. You get a group of people from the investment sector, some with specialist knowledge of impact investing, and some with interest in impact investing, and they design a syllabus. You then get a smaller group to oversee the commissioning of authors, of questions, and so on.”

CFA UK Certificate In Impact Investing Syllabus

  1. Introduction to impact investing
  2. Impact investing philosophy, strategy and implementation
  3. Asset classes and products in private and public markets
  4. Impact investing, sourcing and due diligence
  5. Impact measurement, management, monitoring and reporting
  6. Investor contribution and stewardship

A basic foundation

The certificate is foundational, he said, allowing candidates to start building some experience in the sector. “The CFA Programme tends to be taken by people who are looking for deep technical information around valuation and analysis, but the certificate is designed for someone who wants an overview on impact investing, to look at issues like measurement and reporting and due diligence. We offer a pretty accessible qualification that will hopefully prepare people well for a part of the market that is expected to grow quite steadily over the next few years,” he said.

Currently, the certificate will only be offered in the UK, but Goodhart says it may be rolled out more widely in time. “Impact investing is becoming a lot less niche, and more mainstream. Investors with relatively long-time horizons and longer dated assets and liabilities are key investors in this space, and we are seeing demand from people who want to change things.”

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