CalSTRS Involved in New Financial Services Exam Pilot Program
CalSTRS investment support staff are part of the CFA Institute's Claritas Investment Certificate pilot program.

News release Ricardo Duran

WEST SACRAMENTO, CA – Investment staff at the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) are involved in the pilot phase for the Claritas™ Investment Certificate program, designed to raise the knowledge level of people who work alongside investment professionals.

The CFA Institute, the global association for investment professionals and administrator of the CFA Program, announced the launch of this international education standard for the financial services industry, which includes 29 CalSTRS staff members.

The participants have been in the program since December 2012, and are scheduled to graduate by the end of April 2013. The program will open for global registrations in May 2013.

“CalSTRS, as a culture, reflects the values of a membership that is educationally minded and who strongly support and recognize the power of learning at every level of life,” said CalSTRS Chief Investment Officer Christopher J. Ailman. “We are proud to participate in this effort that will improve the performance of a cross section of financial services staff, who support our investment professionals. We wholeheartedly support the advancement of this type of critical knowledge and expertise, which enhances the financial services industry.”

The Claritas Investment Certificate program is aimed at the broad range of people in the financial services industry who work alongside those in investment roles. Currently 68 organizations and more than 3,000 candidates are taking part in the pilot program. These organizations are supporting the development of the industry-focused program and include asset managers, financial institutions, media and consulting groups. Participants are also globally diverse, with candidates participating from a variety of countries including Australia, Canada, China, Denmark, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Pakistan, South Africa, South Korea, Singapore, Switzerland, UAE, UK, Uruguay and the United States. The first pilot exams are scheduled for late March.

This program will provide a foundational level of education aimed at increasing levels of knowledge and understanding of the investment industry for the many professional disciplines within financial services, including consultancy, compliance, marketing and communications, sales, legal, HR, IT and operations. Based on feedback from CFA Institute members and input from top financial leaders, regulators and academics from around the world, the new program is made up of seven self-study modules covering the industry, ethics, tools, instruments, structure, controls and client needs. Those completing the certificate will emerge with a clear understanding of the investment industry and their professional responsibilities within it.

John Rogers, CFA, President and CFA Institute CEO, said: “Building and maintaining trust in the financial services industry is at the heart of our mission at CFA Institute, and the Claritas Investment Certificate was born out of our firm belief that clarity and knowledge will help achieve this. Claritas will enable those working across financial services to become more effective, knowledgeable and responsible professionals. This will benefit their employers, colleagues and society as a whole, as well as help support their own career development.”

John Bowman, CFA, Head, Claritas Investment Certificate, CFA Institute, said: “Claritas represents a vital opportunity for the industry to raise standards across the board and lay the foundation to a better educated and informed workforce at all levels, regardless of their role. I am delighted with the program that we have developed in partnership with the industry and the warm reception we have received from our numerous and diverse pilot partners. I believe all candidates will find it stimulating and motivational, and employers will certainly benefit from the introduction of this global standard.”

The California State Teachers’ Retirement System, with a portfolio valued at $157.8 billion as of December 31, 2012, is the largest educator-only pension fund in the world. CalSTRS administers a hybrid retirement system, consisting of traditional defined benefit, cash balance and voluntary defined contribution plans, as well as disability and survivor benefits. For 100 years, CalSTRS has served California’s public school educators and their families, who today number 856,000 from the state’s 1,600 school districts, county offices of education and community college districts.