Your clients want Responsible Investment (RI) to become a holistic part of their portfolios. In fact, 82% of investors are looking to dedicate a portion of their portfolios to RI, according to the Responsible Investment Association (RIA). And 77% agree that companies with good environmental, social and governance (ESG) practices are better long-term investments, adds RIA.
The market has responded to this positive momentum, with over 40 new ESG Canadian mutual funds launched since the beginning of 2021. But with more products available now than ever before, it can be challenging for advisors to identify what makes each ESG solution different.
Only a small number of advisors are even broaching the subject with clients – 16% of investors state they’ve had a conversation about RI with their advisors, according to a 2020 Desjardins survey.* That means 84% of advisors are potentially missing out on a great opportunity.
To help advisors, Desjardins launched a Responsible Investing Certification Program. The program aims to educate advisors and help them take their business to the next level.
It answers key questions about RI and focuses on what makes RI strategies valuable for their clients’ portfolios as well as their own practices. Here are the areas covered.
1. Why is RI important now, and how does it work?
This section outlines why RI strategies were developed in the first place and why people are adopting them. It also details ESG issues, including how they can represent unforeseen risks and opportunities for investments, what strategies are integrated in the portfolio decision-making process, and how they impact portfolio construction. We also look into how investors can have an impact and address growing concerns about greenwashing.
2. How does RI potentially create value for your portfolio and practice?
Some may think you need to sacrifice returns if you want to include ESG solutions in portfolios. However, that’s a myth. The truth is you can invest responsibly without any compromise on potential returns.
This section demonstrates how ESG integration can be an invaluable tool to manage risk and identify opportunities that arise as the economy transitions.
It also includes a toolbox that’s accessible to all advisors who want to integrate RI into their practices. There are ready-made marketing materials and tools to help advisors guide their conversations, pinpoint their clients’ RI needs and curate the best-fitting solutions for them.
3. Direct access to portfolio managers
In this section, a Desjardins Fund’s portfolio manager (PM) shares their experience with one specific RI mandate, including its strategy, ESG assessment and security selection process. Advisors have the opportunity to ask questions directly to the PM and do their due diligence.
The program takes 3.5 hours to complete and is provided online. Desjardins’ Responsible Investing Certification Program is recognized by the RIA as RI CE credits to maintain the Responsible Investment Specialist (RIS) designation.
Desjardins is able to educate advisors through its pre-eminent program due to its more than 30 years of RI experience. The Desjardins Funds manager, Desjardins Investments Inc., provides diversified options and has the broadest offering of RI products in Canada. As of year-end 2020, 88% of advisors who attended the program rated it as relevant or very relevant to their practices, and 99% intended to talk to their clients about RI.
RI provides a tremendous opportunity for advisors. Most clients want to learn more about it and are looking for qualified advisors to help guide their decisions. Desjardins is a partner of choice for any advisor who wants to incorporate RI into their practice.
The Desjardins Funds are not guaranteed, their value fluctuates frequently and their past performance is not necessarily indicative of their future returns. Commissions, trailing commissions, management fees and expenses all may be associated with mutual fund investments. Please read the prospectus before investing. The Desjardins Funds are offered by registered dealers.
* Desjardins SOM Investor Web Survey, held from November 25 to December 14, 2020, with 2,864 Canadian respondents. The margin of error is ± 2.6%, 19 times out of 20.
 RIA: https://www.riacanada.ca/responsible-investment/
 Desjardins, internal data.