Why the CFA Institute is calling on investment professionals to “measure up”

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CFA Institute has launched a global push to help build a better world for investors. The ‘Let’s Measure Up’ campaign is part of its work to promote the highest possible standards in the investment industry.

Karyn McLean, CFA, head of Marketing and Communication for APAC at CFA Institute, explains: “The campaign is a call to arms to build a better world for investors by putting clients’ needs before our own. It’s a challenge to the investment management industry to measure up to the highest standards of integrity and excellence.”

She adds that it aims to build greater trust within the industry itself by reinforcing the values of the CFA charter.

The campaign, which was launched earlier this year, focuses on the areas of ethics, diversity, investor rights, transparency and expertise. It is global in reach, but has a particular focus on 11 key markets, including Hong Kong SAR, Singapore, India, Australia and China.

“There’s always room for improvement in professional standards and building trust in the industry, especially in areas like transparency, communication with clients, and demonstrating the value to clients of the fees that you charge versus just being focused on returns,” says McLean.

One particular area of attention for the campaign is diversity. McLean explains: “Diversity is key in our industry because it is really important that we reflect the societies that we represent, and having a diversity of opinion has been shown to result in better decisions. We firmly believe that diversity of gender or sexuality or culture are all critical elements to making a stronger industry.”

She adds that it is important to lead by example, and CFA Institute has taken a number of steps to promote diversity within its own organisation. It is a member of the 30% Club, which promotes the presence of women on boards, and has set itself the target of making sure 30% of its own board is female by 2018 - a goal it expects to exceed following elections in the coming months.

It also has a diversity inclusion team that works with its CFA Societies in different countries to help them educate their members about the importance of having a range of different voices.

In addition, it provides financial support to societies that ensure at least 30% of speakers at their events are women.

But the CFA Institute does not stop there, having just launched a new programme in India to encourage young women to enter the investment industry. Under the scheme, 40 women from across India who have either just left school or are in their final year, attend a four-week boot camp to learn the basic principles of the financial markets. The camp is followed by a three to six-month paid internship with a financial services firm.

“The programme is specifically intended to promote greater diversity in the industry. We are very proud of it,” says McLean.

The Let’s Measure Up campaign furthers CFA Institute’s long-term goals of promoting high standards of ethics in the investment industry, providing education for its members and encouraging professional excellence. Continued reinforcement of ethics is a key area of work for CFA Institute, and it helps to set global standards of governance for the investment industry.

As well as providing training and accreditation to future professionals through the CFA Program, it also offers ongoing education and support to existing members. “We provide the best available knowledge and courses for our members, as, when they are as educated as they can possibly be, they serve their clients better,” says McLean.

CFA Institute delivers its continuing professional development programmes in a number of ways, offering global courses, as well as working with individual societies to help them meet local needs. It also partners with other institutions. “It’s very varied, and we take a holistic approach,” says McLean.

CFA Institute also works to help its members stay abreast of industry developments and trends. McLean explains: “For example, Fintech is a new and evolving area that all of our members need to be aware of and become tooled up on. We take great efforts to make sure we are educating our members and candidates about it and bring in third parties and outside resources to help keep their education levels high on those things.”

McLean is clear that one of the key benefits of being a CFA charterholder is the high level of technical expertise and industry knowledge people gain, and she thinks having the qualification helps them advance their careers, being one herself.

“If you are a candidate and there are opportunities, it does make you stand out amongst your peers,” she says. “We’re hopeful that this call to arms and campaign will have a long-term impact and will demonstrate to employers that having a CFA charterholder on your team will help you achieve the highest standards within the industry.”

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