CFA Institute Certificate in ESG Investing Sees Highest Demand in the UAE Amongst MENA Countries

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Shift to a sustainable mindset spurred an uptick in demand for the Certificate

Abu Dhabi: CFA Institute, the global association of investment professionals, has witnessed significant interest for its Certificate in ESG Investing (environmental, social, and governance) in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, and especially in the UAE, with 240 registrations so far, representing over 55% of the MENA market. These figures indicate the commitment of CFA Institute alongside CFA Society Emirates to the advancement of skillsets required in the fast-changing world of investment management.

Launched in 2019 by CFA Society of the United Kingdom, the Certificate in ESG Investing is now under the auspices of the CFA Institute and is available to candidates in most markets globally. The education program represents a new global qualification for ESG in investment management, with the Certificate enabling industry leaders to navigate the growing demand for sustainable investments equipping them with technical knowledge and practical application skills in the fast-growing field of ESG investing. The Certificate in ESG Investing is also available for investment firms to make bulk registrations for their employees, making it more convenient and practical for both companies and individuals.

Globally, there are over 25,800 registrations for the Certificate in ESG Investing, with high demand and interest in the Middle East, specifically from the UAE. Financial institutions and other organizations such as PwC and HSBC Wealth and Personal Banking, amongst others, have been some of the largest employers of candidates registered for the Certificate in ESG Investing. These firms are taking future-proofing action to arm their investment professionals with a solid understanding of a growing field. Financial professionals are also showing their readiness to incorporate the right skill sets to tackle ever-expanding real-life challenges.

Dana Day, Managing Director, Europe, Middle East and Africa, CFA Institute, said: “As sustainable innovation is becoming an imperative for businesses around the world, having strong knowledge of ESG investing is increasingly a competitive advantage. Our Certificate in ESG Investing offers professionals working across the finance industry the practical, theoretical, and technical knowledge they and their organisations need to address today’s challenging problems and prepare for the complexities of tomorrow.”

In the UAE, the topic of ESG is especially important, given the strides the country has made towards making sustainability a major pillar in its efforts to diversify the economy in recent years. The UAE Green Agenda 2015-2030 was announced as an umbrella framework for green policies, while the UAE Net Zero by 2050 strategy aims to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

In a recent survey that was conducted in 2022 by consultancy firm PwC with Middle Eastern CEOs, 66% of regional respondents said that they aim to increase investments in ESG and sustainability initiatives over the next three years as part of their long-term investments and planning.

Taimur Ali Mir, PwC Partner said: “Understanding the impact of ESG is critical for organisations, now more than ever, and the first step to doing this is having the right people with an ESG expertise to help businesses prepare for ESG integration. CFA Institute’s Certificate in ESG investing is a stamp of credibility for investors, business leaders and ESG associated professionals in the Middle East, and we are proud to bring this upskilling solution for our clients to the region. I am excited about the impact this will create on embracing ESG – on individuals, organisations, and economies as a whole.”

In another far-reaching step, United Arab Emirates Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) made it mandatory for listed Public Joint Stock Companies to publish their annual sustainability report to assess the long-term health and stability of the market.

Financial institutions in the UAE are leading the way with their ESG agendas and are strengthening their focus on sustainability. Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank’s (ADIB) ESG Report 2021 highlights how ESG and sustainability have always been a key element to their success and are committed to launching an ESG strategy as part of their 5-year strategic plan to help banks switch to a low carbon operation.

The Certificate in ESG Investing is a self-study course requiring approximately 130 hours of study, culminating in a computer-based exam comprising 100 questions at a proctored testing center or via online proctored testing. Candidates who complete the course receive a Certificate and a digital badge. The Certificate and learning materials were developed by leading practitioners and have been recognized by the UN Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), an independent body that seeks to encourage investors to use responsible investment to enhance returns and better manage business risks.

CFA Institute offers educational programs recognized and respected worldwide as the ultimate commitment to clients’ best interests. The CFA Institute’s flagship offering, the CFA Program, is designed to equip portfolio and wealth managers, investment and research analysts, professionals involved in the investment decision-making process, and finance students who want to work in the investment management profession with the expertise and real-world skills in investment analysis that will help them advance their careers.