Money Management Institute and Morningstar Launch Sustainable Investing Curriculum To Prepare Financial Advisors for the Growing ESG Market

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

NEW YORK, NY, May 1, 2019 – The Money Management Institute (MMI) and Morningstar today announced the launch of the MMI/Morningstar Sustainable Investing Curriculum to address increasing investor demand for sustainable investing. The eight-course online curriculum provides financial advisors with an introduction to the fundamentals, principles, and practices of sustainable and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing, enabling them to start client conversations and integrate sustainable investing into their practices. Sustainable investing refers to the incorporation of ESG factors and their impact into investment decisions.  

“Increasingly investors want to integrate their values and principles with their investments,” said Craig Pfeiffer, MMI President and CEO. “This creates a twofold challenge for financial advisors. First, how to respond to clients inquiring about incorporating ESG investing into their portfolios. Second, how to initiate conversations with clients around their values to discern the depth and direction of their interest in ESG investing. MMI is excited to team with Morningstar to deliver this new curriculum, which blends foundational information and terminology with practical insights from advisors who have already successfully integrated ESG into their practices.”

“We have heard from investors and advisors alike that they need help understanding how to approach ESG investing, particularly as the U.S. sustainable investing landscape continues to grow at such a fast pace. Despite market volatility late in the year, 2018 marked the third consecutive year of record flows into U.S. sustainable funds,” said Tricia Rothschild, Chief Product Officer at Morningstar. “The course modules help educate advisors on sustainable investing topics so they can begin implementing ESG into their practices quickly and effectively. We focused on making the courses highly interactive and engaging – with videos and knowledge checks integrated throughout – unlike traditional reading-based approaches.”

“More and more, investors are voicing their values and raising key issues – whether it’s a cleaner environment, board diversity, corporate anti-corruption policies, or support for human rights – that they want reflected in their investment strategies,” said Jackie Vanderbrug, Head of Sustainable and Impact Investing Strategy for Merrill and Bank of America Private Bank. “These investors deserve strong performance and high-quality investment options. We are pleased to support this initiative, which gives advisors the educational foundation to meet an increasingly important set of client desires and expectations.”

According to a new report by MMI and The Investment Integration Project (TIIP), “Fundamentals of Sustainable Investment: A guide for financial advisors,” sustainably invested assets grew an estimated 25% worldwide and 33% in the U.S. between 2014 and 2016. At least 84% − and as much as 90% − of Millennial investors and nearly three-fourths of women are interested in sustainable investing. Millennials and Generation Xers – who will inherit upwards of $41 trillion dollars in the coming decades – are outspoken about the need for businesses to consider their environmental and social impacts. Furthermore, a new Morningstar whitepaper, “The True Faces of Sustainable Investing: Busting Industry Myths Around ESG,” found that 72% of the U.S. population expressed at least a moderate interest in sustainable investing – spanning genders and generations.

“A new generation of investors wants to invest in positive change, which is driving the growing interest in responsible investing,” said John Streur, President and CEO, Calvert Research and Management. “The Sustainable Investing Curriculum provides financial advisors with what they are asking for – fundamental training in order to have productive sustainable investing conversations with their clients.” 

Calvert Research and Management, Merrill and Bank of America Private Bank, and FlexShares® – three other industry leaders in sustainable investing – partnered with MMI and Morningstar as leadership sponsors to support and contribute to the development of the course content. The curriculum, based on 70 hours of interviews with subject matter experts and information from 180 unique sources, is ideal for product teams, due diligence staff, service team associates, financial advisors, and their support personnel – basically, anyone who would benefit from a practical understanding of sustainable investing and how it can be incorporated with traditional advisory approaches and practices. After successful completion of the eight-course curriculum, participants are eligible for CE credits toward the Investments & Wealth Institute CIMA®, CPWA®, CIMC®, and RMA®; Fi360 AIF®, AIFA®, and PPC®; and CFP® designations.

This edition of the curriculum provides an intermediate-level overview of sustainable investing, balancing substantive ESG academic content and related investment management practices with insights for practical application by advisors and their clients. In the Fall of 2019, MMI will release a second series of sustainable investing courses focused on ESG from a behavioral finance perspective, best practices for client conversations, the sustainable product landscape, implementation strategies, and ESG performance assessment and reporting. 

To complement the new courses, MMI also offers access – through its Continuous Learning Center – to  well-respected sustainable investing curriculums from CFA Institute, Investments & Wealth Institute, Principles for Responsible Investment Academy (PRIA), and US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment.

About Money Management Institute (MMI): Established in 1997, the Money Management Institute (MMI) is the industry association representing financial services firms that provide financial advice and investment advisory solutions to investors. Through conferences, educational resources, and thought leadership, MMI facilitates peer-to-peer connections, fosters industry knowledge and professionalism, and supports the development of the next generation of industry leadership. MMI member firms are dedicated to helping individual and institutional investors, at every level of assets, plan for and fulfill their financial goals. For more information, visit www.mminst.org.

About the MMI Continuous Learning Center: The MMI Continuous Learning Center provides access to professional development programs for investment advisory solutions professionals. Through collaboration with MMI member firms and educational organizations, the Continuous Learning Center provides contemporary and continuously updated course offerings that investment professionals can access at their own convenience and pace. The online curriculums available include introductory, intermediate and specialized courses on Investment Advisory Solutions, Wealth Management Essentials, Wholesaler Training, Sustainable Investing, and Alternative Investments. For more information, visit mmi.smartpros.com.

About Morningstar, Inc.: Morningstar, Inc. is a leading provider of independent investment research in North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. The company offers an extensive line of products and services for individual investors, financial advisors, asset managers, retirement plan providers and sponsors, and institutional investors in the private capital markets. Morningstar provides data and research insights on a wide range of investment offerings, including managed investment products, publicly listed companies, private capital markets, and real-time global market data. Morningstar also offers investment management services through its investment advisory subsidiaries, with more than $210 billion in assets under advisement and management as of March 31, 2019. The company has operations in 27 countries. For more information, visit www.morningstar.com/company. Follow Morningstar on Twitter @MorningstarInc.

Contact:  
Joan Lensing,
 Money Management Institute, jlensing@mminst.org, (646) 868-8518
Matthew Conroy, Peppercomm, mconroy@peppercomm.com, (212) 931-6133