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Announcing RIAA Certification Program 2.0

The Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA) is announcing a suite of changes to its Certification Program, which reflect the rapidly maturing responsible investment (RI) market and a global focus on best practice. These changes strengthen the program, tighten the standards and provide better information to consumers and their advisers.

 

RIAA’s Certification Program is the longest running RI product certification scheme in the world. The Responsible Investment Symbol is considered one of the most sought after RI accreditation symbols.

 

The Certification Program 2.0 is now live, with new and renewing products being assessed under the new standards. We conducted a 10-month review process, based on international best practices, detailed consumer research and industry engagement. The enhancements include new rigorous standards, strengthened minimum requirements and additional information disclosure.

 

To find out more about RIAA’s Certification Program or to apply to be certified follow this link.

 

Consumer expectations
Investors in Australia and New Zealand are more interested in RI than ever before. More than 92% of Australians and 72% of New Zealanders, expect their investments to be made responsibly & ethically. But our consumer research shows us that the most persistent challenge to getting consumers to invest responsibly, is the lack of independent information.

 

That’s where RIAA Certification comes in. 85% of Australians and 71% of New Zealanders tell us they are more likely to invest in a product that is independently certified as ethical or responsible. View RIAA’s Consumer Research.

 

Consumers and advisers are actively searching for RI products through the Responsible Returns portal, which is seeing over 1000 new users searching for RI products per month. We are making responsible investing more accessible to Australian and New Zealand investors.

 

RI Certified product criteria
Through certification RIAA’s team of analysts conduct a thorough investigation of each product’s investment practices.   We currently have over 175 products on our database and this number is rapidly growing, as more product providers recognise the increasing consumer demand for RI products.

 

The Certification Program’s new Standards cover 8 broad categories as follows;
    1. RI Strategies – formal, disclosed, consistent, auditable and fit for purpose
    2. Product labels – clear, honest and not misleading
    3. Avoids significant harm – as a minimum requirement
    4. Accounts for Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues
    5. Mandatory disclosures – holdings, performance, benchmark, investable universe, sustainability outcomes and engagement and voting practices
    6. Active stewards – stewardship practices, such as engagement and voting and the improved outcomes of these practices
    7. Organisation has a demonstrated, formal commitment to RI
    8. Organisation educates consumers, financial advisors and the general public on why RI is important

 

What does our Certification Program achieve?
The Certification Program delivers a vast range of benefits to both industry and the consumer. The independent, transparent and comprehensive program provides the following;
    1. Defines best practice for investment products in the industry
    2. Allows more mainstream investment vehicles to adopt RI practices
    3. Makes RI easier to understand for consumers
    4. Provides a level of transparency for sophisticated investors and financial advisors
    5. Allow investors to easily switch to an RI product in line with their values

 

How to access information on RI Certified Products
All RIAA certified products are published on Responsible Returns. We continually enhance this information portal, based on consumer expectations and market developments. The first roll out of these changes, covering detail on full and partial investment exclusions will occur in October 2019.

 

To find out more about RIAA’s Certification Program or to apply to be certified, please contact Cassandra Williams, Certification and Ratings Manager at or +61 421332063.

 

To read more about the certification program click here.