Roger H. Hartmann, Chairman of the Board, Says the European Financial Planning Association has launched its EFPA ESG Advisor certificate across Europe giving access to common bases for all its members in ESG education. Interview.
What is the importance of education in combating climate change/ promoting sustainable finance principles?
Skepticism about climate change and human activity’s impact on this change are unfortunately still present. Some also fear a cap of economic activity and growth because of the "too important" weight of extra-financial criteria in economic policies, the Trump administration was a perfect example of this.
Historically, Education has always been an essential tool to fight skepticisms and fears, and it will have the same importance on the climate change issue. To impose the idea things can be done to fight climate change, education will play a major role.
Giving clear definitions of Sustainable Finance and its key concepts, providing example of concrete actions, we will definitely educate staff of the financial centers on their role and on what regulators are expecting from the financial sector in the fight against climate change.
Explaining initiatives such as the UN PRI, regulations such as the EU taxonomy will be major assets in understanding about what is expected and will make people more confident on what they have to do.
Education has always been an essential tool to fight skepticisms and fears, and it will have the same importance on the climate change issue.
What certifications do you provide on which topics and to which types of institutions?
EFPA Luxembourg ASBL provides certifications based on European standards for Private Bankers, Wealth Planners, Wealth Managers, Family Office… and can certify internal programs of banks or insurance companies. Our certifications are adaptable and the CSSF recognizes the EFPA European Investment Practitioner®, the EFPA European Financial Advisor® and the EFPA European Financial Planner® certifications as meeting the different criteria as stated in the Circular CSSF 17/665 of 31 July 2017. This recognition is also provided by other regulators and the 13 national EFPA across Europe. Today EFPA has 65’000 certified members across Europe. This year, EFPA has also launched an EFPA ESG Advisor certificate in 13 countries across Europe to sensitize advisors in Sustainable Finance issue. Through 24 hours of courses, our idea is to educate people and provide them common basis on Sustainable Finance concepts, regulation, investment vehicles… and promote their competences through a European certificate known everywhere in the continent.
Why did you choose these to start with?
As a non-profit organisation, EFPA Luxembourg has an important social role and social aims. Through its certifications it tries to increase people competences and employability and improve people’s live and sustainable development. It is engaged 1/ offering specific conditions to young people and jobseekers, 2/ opening certifications to people without diplomas, but with the professional experience required, to recognize their professional skills and 3/ allowing its corporate members to subsidy trainings. EFPA is also convinced that every financial advisor is defined by two main features: professional integrity and professional qualification. Ethics and skills are the two dimensions by which every financial advisor should be measured. Therefore, EFPA is promoting the dissemination of a European Code of Ethics to guarantee the best practices across Europe. The ESG education is not only part of our EFPA ESG Advisor certificate but present in all our certifications. It is essential for us that the financial centers better understand the challenges of today thanks to a better education.
How do you see ESG education evolving and what are the challenges and opportunities?
Thanks to EU taxonomy, ESG principles are the new standard in the financial industry in Europe. Driven by regulation, ESG training will do the same. The financial institutions must be aware of this and must train and train their staff so as not to become obsolete.
The main challenges for ESG education will be to become international and to avoid green washing. As finance is international, ESG education must follow this trend, providing clear definitions and common concepts to all the financial centers and avoiding commercial aspects. To contribute, EFPA has launch its EFPA ESG Advisor certificate across Europe giving access to common bases for all its members in ESG education. The main opportunities for ESG education will be to be able to sensitize professionals to subjects that are too often overlooked. If the E's and the G's of ESG are well known, the S has too often been put aside, poorly defined or sanctified.