The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Societies Australia has seen a compound annual growth rate for members and candidates of 18.5 per cent and 20.0 per cent, respectively, after starting with 32 members in 1996.

By 2016, CFA Societies in Australia had more than 2500 members and 5700 candidates sitting the exams, and is celebrating its 20-year anniversary.

Today, some of the highest-level investors in the superannuation industry hold the prestigious designation, including Mark Delaney, chief investment officer of AustralianSuper, Damian Graham, chief investment officer of StatePlus and acting chief investment officer of First State Super, and Charles Wu, head of allocation and risk at State Super.

“Australia is unique in the size and importance of its pension system. Because of that, the investment decision by Australian superannuation funds have got broader implications across our ecosystem,” said Richard Brandweiner, former chief investment officer of First State Super, who led the Sydney chapter for three years as its president.

“There is the possibility of investing in ways that fulfils the CFA requirements of competence and ethical standards. This will be critically important for us as a nation going forward.”

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He added the CFA designation was the best thing he had ever done in his professional life, as it gave a “wonderful grounding” across all asset classes, valuation, portfolio construction, ethics and standards.

“It provides you with is a wonderful platform to build your professional knowledge and expertise. As a CIO, it really gave the basis of my understanding of how capital markets work.”

Anthony Serhan, the current president of CFA Society Sydney and managing director, research strategy, Asia-Pacific at Morningstar, said the sophistication within superannuation investment teams has grown dramatically over the past 20 years, with the CFA being a qualification and piece of study that equipped a lot of people.

“The CFA has the ongoing members’ education which has helped a number of participants inside superannuation funds as they have increased in technical competency,” Serhan said.

To mark the anniversary, CFA will host a special event featuring world-renowned human rights barrister, academic, author and broadcaster, Geoffrey Robertson QC.

Robertson will present a series of “hypotheticals” for discussion with leading Australian investors, regulators and eminent public figures which will focus on key issues around superannuation funds and environmental, social and governance (ESG) principles, investment in government infrastructure, banking behaviour, financial planning, insider trading and issues around fiduciary duty.

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