Certification assessment is based on both publicly available information, as well as internal documentation of the responsible investment strategy and supporting processes. Information is required on an organisation level and product level. If the fund operates under a fund of fund or multi-asset structure, information will be required for all of the underlying funds, assets or investments.
The certification application form, available through the online member portal, forms the basis of the information used in the certification assessment. Access to this portal is only available to members who have applied for certification.
Data sources from which assessment for eligibility is taken include:
1. Data provided by the applicant through the RI Certification application form
2. Public documentation, such as on applicant’s corporate website, PDS or other relevant legal documentation
3. Investment team interviews
4. ESG research (internal and third-party)
5. Methodologies and tools to substantiate responsible investment strategies, sustainability claims and measurement e.g. carbon footprint relative to benchmark
A more detailed checklist of data requirements is included in your Certification Introductory Pack.
Who the information will be made available to?
Certification and recertification requires that information be made available to the Certification & Ratings team, Certification Assessment Panel and the Independent Verification Panel. The certification application form includes approximately 20 questions that are published, upon successful outcome of the certification assessment, on the publicly available Responsible Returns online tool. The application form includes requests for confidential information that is not distributed outside of the RIAA Certification & Ratings team, Certification Assessment Panel and the Independent Verification Panel.
Ongoing disclosure requirements
To comply with the Certification Standard, there are a number of ongoing disclosure requirements, on the product’s website/client portal or equivalent and Responsible Returns.
These disclosure requirements include:
1. Full portfolio holdings (for equities funds, or an equivalent disclosure for other products, including a full look through for fund of funds) with no longer than a 90-day lag, twice-annually
2. Past financial performance results/returns of the product twice-annually
3. Methodology and measurement of sustainability claims at least annually
4. Activities and outcomes from stewardship practices (both engagement and voting) – requirement as at 1 Jan 2021