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ASFI Academy FAQs

What is ASFI Academy?

ASFI Academy is a suite of e-learning courses developed by WWF-Singapore and its ASFI Partners, designed for financial professionals looking to build their sustainable finance expertise. The online Academy’s suite of courses have been developed in collaboration with Singapore’s leading finance sector industry associations, and have been accredited by the Institute of Banking and Finance (IBF) under their Standards Training Scheme (IBF-STS).

The Academy consists of a range of short (30 min - 4 hours), self-paced, digital courses, which will cover a variety of sustainable finance topics, from core themes like how to assess the quality of ESG data, to broader issues like regional regulatory developments, to sector specific topics, like how to drive climate-resiliency via investments across agriculture supply chains.

As of the Academy’s launch, two courses/series' will be available for enrolment. These will be available to Singapore-based asset managers via the IMAS iLearn portal, and to NGO professionals, members of academia, and others via the ASFI Academy website. Banking professionals can access courses via the ABS e-learning portal starting in October 2021. More courses will be released across all three platforms on an ongoing basis. 

Who are the partners involved?

WWF-Singapore is leading the development of ASFI Academy courses, with support from ASFI Knowledge Partners and Advisory Group members. Knowledge partners play a key role in co-developing course content to ensure it pulls on the latest research in their respective fields of expertise. For example, SASB has collaborated on developing and reviewing course content related to ESG standards; EDHECinfra has supported the development of courses focused on sustainable infrastructure. 

 

The ASFI Advisory Group members - the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS), the Institute of Banking and Finance Singapore (IBF), the Investment Management Association of Singapore (IMAS), the Life Insurance Association Singapore (LIA), and the Singapore Exchange (SGX) - play a critical role in guiding the course development process to ensure that the courses respond to the needs of their members. They also play an important role in course distribution, in some cases co-hosting ASFI Academy courses on industry LMS’ (e.g. IMAS iLearn and ABS' LMS) to ensure that members of their respective industries can easily access new courses as they are developed. 

 

Beyond the ASFI Knowledge Partners and Advisory Group members, some individual financial institutions are partnering with ASFI Academy to roll out the courses internally. For example, Bank of Singapore (BOS) is the first bank to roll out the courses firm-wide.

Why is ASFI Academy being launched?

The Academy’s launch comes amidst growing momentum around sustainable finance in Singapore and the region. Since 2019, IBF Singapore has launched its Skills Framework for Financial Services (SFwFS), which included a set of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) skills and competences; MAS issued Guidelines on Environmental Risk Management for banks, insurers and asset managers and established a Green Finance Industry Taskforce (GFIT). Further, Singapore unveiled its Green Plan 2030, which includes ambitions for the country to become a leading centre for green finance in Asia and globally. 

Yet even amidst these developments, recent findings from WWF’s annual SUSBA and RESPOND reports on sustainable banking and responsible investment practices respectively, revealed that banks and asset managers based in Asia lag behind their European counterparts when it comes to sustainable finance practices.

WWF-Singapore and its ASFI partners believe that digital learning platforms like ASFI Academy can play an important role in supporting Singapore’s 170,000+ strong finance sector workforce to build the ESG skills and competencies at the scale that is necessary to implement the new Guidelines, achieve the objectives of the Green Plan, and remain competitive on the global playing field. 

The courses are described as “based on the latest sustainability science”. What does this mean?

All ASFI Academy courses are developed by sustainability and sustainable finance experts from WWF-Singapore and its ASFI Partners, many of whom are involved in leading research in their respective fields. In developing the courses they draw on this research - from groundbreaking climate science, to research on the state of biodiversity loss. The courses also highlight new tools being developed to help financiers understand issues like the impact of natural capital depletion on businesses, and dig into the science behind the sustainability reporting metrics that some of the leading corporate sustainability standards call for. More information can be found here: Finance | WWF (panda.org)

Who can take / access the courses? 

The courses are open to anyone, but are geared towards Asia-based finance sector professionals, in particular asset managers and commercial bankers*. They will be made accessible through a few different avenues: 

In October 2021 the courses will also be made available via The Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) e-learning portal. 

ASFI Academy is also happy to work directly with individual financial institutions to explore opportunities for loading the courses directly into their internal Learning Management Systems (LMS’) to facilitate firm-wide enrolments.  

*We are currently exploring opportunities to develop additional courses that are geared towards the private banking, wealth management, and insurance sectors as well.

 

Does it cost money to enrol?

ASFI Academy courses range in price depending on course duration. Prices are determined based on course development and administrative costs, and are set at a level that will ensure the long-term sustainability of the programme. For finance sector professionals based in Singapore, the market price for ASFI Academy courses is as follows:

  • SG $250 for a 1 hour course

  • SG $300 for a 2 hour course

  • SG $350 for a 3 hour course series

 

Since the courses have been accredited by IBF, all individuals eligible under the IBF-STS scheme are eligible for subsidies to cover the cost of enrolment. As of August 2021 this subsidy ranges from 70-90% of course costs. More details on the subsidy scheme are available here

If your organisation is looking to enrol more than 100 individuals in a particular ASFI Academy course, reach out to us at academy@asfi.asia to explore options for bulk-purchase discounts. 

If your organisation is located outside of Singapore, contact us for more information about localised pricing. 

If you are a student, academic, or non-profit professional, please make sure to indicate this affiliation when creating your ASFI Academy profile in order to be eligible for course rate discounts. If you have any questions, or if the above pricing poses a financial barrier to accessing the courses for you, please contact us and we are happy to explore how we can assist. 

Is ASFI Academy available for those outside of Singapore?

Yes! ASFI Academy content is designed with an Asia-wide audience in mind. While initial course development and distribution partners are largely based in Singapore, WWF-Singapore and its ASFI partners are collaborating with finance sector industry associations outside of Singapore as well. For example, the ASFI Academy team is currently developing a custom set of sustainable finance courses for bankers in the Philippines in collaboration with WWF-Philippines, the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), and the Association of Development Financing Institutions in Asia and the Pacific (ADFIAP). We have also translated an initial set of ASFI Academy courses into Simplified Chinese, Japanese, Thai and Vietnamese. Based on demand, we expect to make more translations available in the future.

If you are interested in partnering with ASFI Academy to co-develop and/or distribute courses outside of Singapore, please contact us for more details.

What courses are currently available?

There are currently two fully accredited courses/series' available on ASFI Academy. These include:

  1. Responsible Investment 101: How to get started (~1 hr), and

  2. A 4-part course series: Sustainable Finance across Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (asset manager edition) (~ 3 hr)

    1. Agriculture & the environment at a glance

    2. Materiality & risk transmission in agriculture

    3. E&S metrics & tools for agriculture

    4. Strategies for responsible investment in agriculture

Will more ASFI Academy courses be developed?

Yes! More courses are planned for development and roll-out throughout the 2021 and 2022 calendar years. These include an introductory course to sustainable banking and the MAS ERM guidelines for banks, a sector series on sustainable finance in infrastructure, a sector series on sustainable finance in energy, a course on implementing the TCFD recommendations for financial institutions, and a course on biodiversity and nature reporting (the TNFD) for financial institutions. 

Beyond these planned courses, ASFI Academy recognises that the field of sustainable finance is rapidly developing and constantly changing. As such, we expect to develop additional courses in response to emergent needs of finance sector stakeholders, to ensure that they keep pace with the latest science and thinking in the field.

How are the courses structured and how long do they take?

ASFI Academy courses are designed to be accessible and engaging for a range of financial professionals - from those new to the field of ESG to those with years of experience. As such, the courses are designed in a modular, self-guided style; they are short in length (30 min - 4 hours), can be taken at the learner's leisure (there is no expiry date), and integrate a mixture of text, graphics, and video clips. Some of the courses are stand-alone, while others are designed as part of multi-course series, enabling users to take a deep dive into the environmental and social risks and opportunities they need to understand when considering investments in a particular sector. All courses conclude with a short 10-20 question assessment; a score of 80% or higher is required to pass.

What is the benefit of taking the courses?

All ASFI Academy courses are accredited by the Institute for Banking and Finance (IBF) Singapore under the IBF Standards Training Scheme (IBF-STS). As such, practitioners who successfully complete the courses can count them towards the fulfilment of their annual continuing professional development requirements for IBF certification. After successfully completing each course, and obtaining a score of 80% or higher on the course exam, learners will receive an auto-generated course certificate which they can save or print for their records. 

Further, as a part of the IBF-STS scheme, a substantial course fee subsidy is provided by IBF. More details on the subsidy scheme are available here.

My organisation is interested in developing custom sustainable finance e-learning content. Is this something ASFI Academy can support us with?

ASFI Academy is eager to provide Asia-based financial professionals with the e-learning content they need to enhance their sustainable finance skills and expertise. Contact us to explore options for co-developing custom e-learning content. Depending on the ASFI Academy content development schedule at the time of your inquiry, we are happy to explore options to work with you.

Does ASFI Academy offer real-time, webinar, or in-person sustainable finance training? 

Yes! Since its launch in 2019, ASFI has been providing both webinar-based and in-person training sessions, workshops, and its partners have spoken at conferences throughout the region on a variety of sustainable finance topics. You can explore some of our past speaking engagements and events here. 

Please contact us to inquire about opportunities to collaborate on such events in the future.

After I’ve completed an ASFI Academy course, will I still have access to the content in the event that I want to refresh my knowledge?

Yes. Once you have enrolled in an ASFI Academy course you can access the course content at any time, even after you have completed the course. For your convenience we have also developed short, course summary PDFs, as well as a list of all resources (reports, websites, supplemental reading) referenced in each course. You can download or print these upon course completion.

Where can I provide feedback on a course I’ve taken? And where can I share ideas for future courses I would like to see developed? 

 

We greatly welcome your feedback on existing and future courses. There are a few ways you can share your thoughts:

  1. You can send us an email via academy@asfi.asia. Please make sure to include “ASFI Academy: Course Feedback” in the subject line, and make sure to reference the name of the course you are commenting on (if an existing course). 

  2. At the end of each course we have a short course evaluation (<5 mins. to complete) We encourage you to complete this evaluation and provide honest feedback about what was useful, and what could be improved. 

  3. Within the ASFI Academy platform we have an ongoing “Poll” where you can vote for the course that you would like us to develop next.