New Niche Certifications for FAs Include Behavioral Finance, ESG Areas

By Crucial Clips     June 30, 2020
The following text is a transcript of a portion of a speaker's presentation made at an industry conference or during an interview. This transcript solely represents the view of the individual who spoke, and not the view of Financial Advisor IQ or any other group.
Source: FAIQ @ IAF, Feb. 13, 2020 

MIRIAM ROZEN: We're here at the investment advisor forum with Devin Ekberg, the chief learning officer of the Investments and Wealth Institute. What certifications, new kinds of certifications, do you see coming up on the horizon for advisors that they should be paying attention to?

DEVIN EKBERG, CHIEF LEARNING OFFICER, INVESTMENTS AND WEALTH INSTITUTE: Well, some of the new certifications that I'm starting to see are more niche areas and in developing bodies of knowledge, so things like behavioral finance or ESG and SRI-type style of investing where traditionally that body of knowledge has maybe been more included in some of the other certifications out there that are looking for methodologies and ways to really focus in a niche, be a niche advisor in those areas. And so those certifications will sort of develop those skills and knowledge and abilities beyond what you might see in some of the more broad certifications that are out there.

MIRIAM ROZEN: And knowing that some of the institute's sort of the alternative sort of vocation providers to the Institute have some of these out there. What do you think, say, for example, with the social impact ESG certifications have they got it right yet, or are we sort of talking about product development that still needs a little more development?

DEVIN EKBERG: Well, what our members are telling us is that the things around impact investing, ESG, SRI, most of the advisors are bought in. They understand the why, and they understand really what the what is. I think where we can improve and where some of these other certifications can start to develop more is really the how and understanding how some of these mechanisms work, understanding the challenges that come with instituting a strategy like that and how to overcome them and also, frankly, how to communicate the value of those types of strategies to the clients they're meant to serve.

MIRIAM ROZEN: So in that sense, a deeper understanding themselves of the entire ESG social impact sector and how it can be evaluated within the context of a portfolio.

DEVIN EKBERG: I think so because the research on ESG from a technical perspective is actually quite mixed. There's kind of some misperceptions about whether there's a guarantee of underperformance if you pursue a strategy like that. But really, the research actually shows a lot of opportunities. So advisors that do it the right way have an opportunity even to outperform the markets with that strategy. But the question is really, how? And how is the technology there for us to understand how those performance issues are happening and looking at kind of longer time frames of the impact of that style of investing.

MIRIAM ROZEN: Devin, thanks for helping us out with this.

DEVIN EKBERG: Thank you for having me.