New education program sets education and ethics standard for financial services sector
CFA Institute, the global association for investment professionals, launched the Claritas® Investment Certificate yesterday at its 66th Annual Conference (19-22 May in Singapore). The new education program provides a thorough understanding of how the investment industry works and represents a new international education and ethics standard across the financial services sector. Global registration for the Claritas Investment Certificate is now available on the CFA Institute website.
The Claritas certificate is accessible to a wide range of professionals working with investment decision makers in functions such as operations, administration, IT, HR, marketing, sales, compliance and customer service. It is a self-study course which requires between 80 to 100 hours of study over a six month period and is made up of seven modules, covering the industry, tools, instruments, structure, controls, client methods, and ethics, culminating in a single self-scheduled, online exam at a proctored testing center. On successful completion of the examination, candidates will be awarded a certificate of knowledge.
CFA Institute developed the Claritas certificate in response to the financial crisis, and as part of a global call to action for industry participants to play their part in addressing the overall lack of trust in financial services. This follows feedback from industry leaders, government regulators, academics, and investors which revealed a need for an accessible, foundation-level program which gives a clear understanding of the investment industry and the professional responsibilities within it.
The industry’s enthusiasm for the Claritas certificate has been confirmed through a pilot program, which launched in January 2013. Over 3,300 candidates from 70 companies in 50 countries served as pilot participants. Feedback from pilot participants also supports the need for the program: 84 percent of participating employers said they would recommend the program to other employees, and 85 percent of employees who took the course would recommend it to colleagues. (Read company testimonials below)
John Rogers, CFA, president and CEO of CFA Institute, officially opened public registrations from the CFA Institute 66th Annual Conference in Singapore, and expressed his excitement about the initiative: “We are pleased to announce the launch of the Claritas Investment Certificate. It has been two years in the making and it is fitting that we launch this new initiative in Asia, the birthplace of the concept. In recent years, financial institutions have suffered considerable reputational damage. We must work to raise the professional standards of all participants in this industry, and rebuild public trust,” said Rogers. “Education is at the heart of the CFA Institute mission and the new program allows us to broaden our programs to help people working across the financial services sector.”
John Bowman, CFA, managing director and co-lead of Education for CFA Institute confirmed the organization’s commitment to establishing a new global education benchmark: “We have an obligation to be a proactive voice in both restoring trust and raising investment acumen across the industry,” said Bowman. “The Claritas certificate is a visible and tangible step for any company which wants to demonstrate an institutional commitment to ethics, offering employees a strong opportunity to develop their skills and competence in the industry.”
More Than 3,000 Participants Complete Claritas Certificate Pilot Program
Beginning in January, professionals from more than 70 companies served as pilot participants. These employers have said the following about the program:
Dean A. Junkans, CFA, Chief Investment Officer at Wells Fargo Private Bank: “We were excited to be part of the pilot program for the Claritas Investment Certificate, and are very pleased with the results we’ve already seen. As an employer committed to training and development, it is important for us to be ahead of the curve and investing in innovative initiatives like the Claritas program for the benefit of our team members and customers.”
Christopher J. Ailman, Chief Investment Officer at CalSTRS: “I commend CFA Institute for once again raising the bar of knowledge in the investment industry. Investment accountants, marketing, client servicing personnel, and anyone else involved in the investment industry should aspire to earn the Claritas certificate. CalSTRS is honored to have been selected to participate in the pilot program. As an education-focused fund we appreciated teaming with CFA Institute to advance the level of learning available to our investment-industry colleagues.”
Joe Dear, Chief Investment Officer at CalPERS: “Talent management is a key strategic objective for CalPERS. Training programs, like the Claritas Investment Certificate, help strengthen the investment decision making and control processes, and improve quality, efficiency and accountability. Following the success of the Claritas pilot at CalPERS, we intend to continue the program as part of our ‘financial fundamentals’ training.”
Nathan Palmer, CFA, Vice President of Wilshire Fund Management: “We were very excited to participate in this new program from CFA Institute and to support its social mission of a more knowledgeable and ethical industry. As a company which already offers the CFA Program to employees in investment roles, we felt this was a great opportunity to extend the education platform to a broader group of staff.”
Keith Marks, Partner and General Counsel at Ascendant Compliance Management: “The compliance profession has always been committed to fostering fair and ethical practices throughout the financial industry. Ascendant Compliance Management, Inc. participated in the Claritas Pilot Program because of the tremendous assistance the program will provide to compliance professionals in their work with investment executives. Ascendant Compliance Management appreciates the diligence shown by CFA Institute in helping to bridge the gap and produce a better financial marketplace.”
Timothy P. Selby, Alston + Bird LLP: “My interest in the Claritas program was the message conveyed by our participation. Specifically, as an industry provider of legal services specializing in the area of alternative investments, our participation afforded us the opportunity to demonstrate the profound commitment our firm has to understanding the nature and business of our clients. The exam and related study materials reinforced principles and concepts well known to me and my colleagues, and refined our knowledge in those related areas that we encounter on a less frequent basis.”
Gerard Carney, Global Head of Financial and Professional Services, FleishmanHillard: “FleishmanHillard is proud to be the first communication agency to participate in the Claritas Investment Certificate, which we believe will establish a global educational standard for those of us who work with investment professionals. Our employees around the world have a seat at the table with the brightest minds in the financial services industry, and the Claritas program will strengthen and enhance their knowledge and help us to deliver higher quality counsel to our clients. We look forward to making the Claritas Investment Certificate an integral part of our firm’s professional development offerings.”
Martin Schnauss, Global Category Lead for Product, Finance and Risk Education, UBS: "We are delighted to be one of the first companies to participate in this exciting and important new program from CFA Institute. Our employees who participated in the pilot program have already reported a better understanding of their roles and responsibilities within the industry, and we firmly believe that this improved understanding will lead to a more efficient, productive and collaborative workforce.”
CFA Institute is the global association of investment professionals that sets the standard for professional excellence and credentials. The organization is a champion for ethical behavior in investment markets and a respected source of knowledge in the global financial community. The end goal: to create an environment where investors’ interests come first, markets function at their best, and economies grow. CFA Institute has more than 116,000 members in 137 countries and territories, including 108,000 CFA charterholders, and 138 member societies.
Whereas the Claritas certificate program is designed to reach everyone in the investment industry who helps enable investment decision making – from client services to operations, compliance and legal, from human resources to sales and marketing – the CFA Program is intended for those who are directly involved in the investment decision-making process.
The CFA Program is a globally recognized, graduate level curriculum that provides a strong foundation of real-world investment analysis and portfolio management skills along with the practical knowledge you need in today’s investment industry. It also emphasizes the highest ethical and professional standards.
Open to all, the Claritas Investment Certificate is for all professional disciplines in the financial services industry outside of investment roles; from client services to compliance; from human resources to IT and operations; from marketing and sales to legal. It is designed for the many different people in the financial services industry who are not directly involved in analyzing or making investment decisions. Participants do not need to meet any education or experience requirements to study for the Claritas certificate.
With the Claritas Investment Certificate, learners can study online in their own time. In around 100 hours of study over an expected three to six month period, they should gain a clear understanding of all the essentials, including: ethics and regulation, structure of the industry, the various asset classes and client needs. Registration is open to corporates and individuals and available in English worldwide. The name is taken from the Latin for clarity, and everything about the Claritas certificate - from online support to the look and feel - has been designed to be as clear as possible for participants.