Tuesday, November 17, 2009

SIO launches advisor education course

The Social Investment Organization has teamed up with advisor group Advocis to offer a new course on socially responsible investing, worth 2.0 Advocis technical credits.

The course is a two-hour face-to-face Powerpoint course, explains SIO executive director Eugene Ellmen, with plans to deliver in an online format.

The first hour outlines the basics of SRI as well as reasons to consider SRI for clients. The second hour explains how to implement SRI in an advisor's practice using the Advocis core competencies model.

“The aim is to combat the lack of awareness and knowledge of SRI so prevalent among advisors,” says Ellmen. “Research by GlobeScan suggests that the vast majority of advisors fail to mention socially responsible investment options to their clients. We believe they're missing out on a huge opportunity to reach out to their clients on a deeper level.”

Ellmen says the SIO believes that SRI represents an important aspect of the “know your client” and “know your product” parts of an advisor’s practice. “The Canadian Securities Administrators and IIROC have recently issued new guidance on KYC and KYP<’ he says. “We believe that a fundamental part of advisor practice is knowing what investments a client is comfortable with from a social and environmental point of view. That's an important part of this course.”

The SIO is talking to the educational chairs of Advocis chapters about delivering the course to local members. Dates have been lined up in London and Owen Sound, Ont. and Victoria, B.C.. “Our aim is to offer the course to all 43 Advocis chapters across Canada,” Ellmen says.

This week, the SIO will be issuing a new directory, called Your Guide to Socially Responsible Mutual Fund Companies in Canada, primarily for advisors, but also for the investing public who want information on SRI fundcos.

The guide lists SIO-member fund companies and describes their various screens and approaches, says Ellmen. It was created after a number of advisors asked for a document providing information on the various fund companies and will also be a supplementary resource for the SIO's advisor education course.

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