NEW YORK, NY, July 18, 2017 – The Money Management Institute (MMI) today announced an initiative focused on preparing financial advisors to incorporate sustainable investing into their practices. Sustainable investing refers to the incorporation of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors and their impact into investment decisions. The program will include a suite of educational resources as well as workshops, forums, and thought leadership content that will provide financial advisors with the knowledge they need to engage with their clients on the topic and recommend appropriate investments.
“We are excited to work with Morningstar, a distinguished industry leader and pioneer in evaluating ESG metrics with its Morningstar Sustainability RatingTM for funds, to launch the MMI/Morningstar Sustainable Investing Initiative. Morningstar, as the Presenting Sponsor, will contribute important data, analysis, and insight, and will co-host with MMI a wide array of planned events,” said Craig Pfeiffer, MMI’s President and CEO.
The initiative is part of MMI’s strategic commitment to continuous learning and professional development and the ongoing build-out of its Continuous Learning Center. The Sustainable Investing Initiative’s educational courses will balance substantive ESG academic content and related investment management practices with insights for practical application by advisors and their clients. To complement the courses, MMI will also offer access to introductory courses from CFA Institute, Investment Management Consultants Association (IMCA), Principles for Responsible Investment Academy (PRIA), and US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment. For those who wish to pursue more advanced topics, MMI will engage with Concordia University’s John Molson School of Business to offer the Sustainable Investment Professional Certification program.
“We are committed to advancing ESG engagement to mirror what’s happening in the marketplace,” Mr. Pfeiffer added. “Leading asset management firms are ramping up the development and delivery of ESG-driven investment solutions as investor demand – particularly from women and millennials – for responsible investment strategies continues to grow.”
“Clients are clearly interested in discussing ESG with their financial advisors, but the majority of advisors need more professional education and practical insights on incorporating sustainable investing into their practices to feel comfortable having those conversations,” said Jon Hale, Morningstar’s Head of Sustainability Research.
Mr. Pfeiffer also announced that three other industry leaders in sustainable investing – Eaton Vance affiliate Calvert Research and Management, Merrill Lynch, and FlexShares® Exchange Traded Funds at Northern Trust Asset Management – have committed to support the Sustainable Investing Initiative as Leadership Sponsors, helping to underwrite the program launch and course development.
“This education initiative will teach advisors how to get the most leverage for their clients,” said John Streur, President, Calvert Research and Management. “Responsible investors deserve strong performance, high-quality ESG research, shareholder engagement, and clear impact reporting. This program will teach them how to get what their clients deserve.”
Added Anna Snider, Head of Due Diligence for the CIO Office within Bank of America’s Global Wealth & Investment Management division, “Our clients are telling us loud and clear that they want their investments to reflect the environmental and social issues most important to them. So, we’re pleased to support this program, which will further advisor knowledge and engagement with clients seeking to adopt ESG and a broad range of impact investment strategies.”
Noted Marie Dzanis, Head of Intermediary Distribution for Northern Trust Asset Management, “The landscape of investing is changing and data extending beyond traditional financial reporting is readily available, globally. Investors care what companies do within a community, how they treat employees, and the impact they have on the environment. Clients increasingly want their portfolios to reflect their values, and we are proud to participate in this groundbreaking effort to prepare financial advisors for the important task of addressing the ESG interests of their clients.”
To assure timely and effective delivery of this critical professional development content, the MMI/Morningstar Sustainable Investing Initiative will be guided by an Academic Advisory Board comprised of academic leaders and chief investment officers, and a Distribution Advisory Board, comprised of asset manager and industry executives.
About the Money Management Institute (MMI): Since 1997 MMI has been the leading voice for the global financial services organizations that provide financial advice and professionally-managed investment advisory solutions to individual and institutional investors. Through industry advocacy, educational initiatives, regulatory affairs, data reporting, and professional networking, MMI supports and advances the growth of a diverse spectrum of investment advisory solutions that serve an evolving worldwide financial landscape. MMI member organizations are committed to the highest standards of fiduciary responsibility and ethical conduct and to creating the most successful outcomes for investors at every level of assets. For more information, visit www.MMInst.org.
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 $200 billion in assets under advisement and management as of March 31, 2017. The company has operations in 27 countries.