Of the nearly 1,500+ FSA Credential candidates, a handful have been featured below. Learn more about each test taker by clicking their photo or name and title. View an infographic snapshot of all FSA test takers.

Sarah Adams Chief Sustainability Officer, Vert Asset Management

Years in profession: 20

Why did you sign up for the FSA? I’ve been closely watching the development of professional certifications as I built a career in sustainable finance and found there were none available. The FSA was one of the first credentials that linked sustainability analysis to an investment and corporate perspective.

What have you liked best about what you’ve learned? Something you didn’t expect? I like that the FSA contains elements of both theory and practice of sustainability issues in investment decisions.

How have you benefited from the FSA exam?  I had done a lot of leg-work building my career to try to achieve the education that the FSA provides in a credential… I encourage undergraduate students who are looking to start their career in sustainable finance to take the FSA.

 

 

Christopher J. Ailman Chief Investment Officer, California State Teachers’ Retirement System

Years in profession: 30 years as a CIO, 34 years in investments

Why did you sign up for the FSA? Continuous learning. I want to model to my staff the idea that the investment world is constantly evolving and changing, so if you’re not learning, you’re falling behind. Plus I wanted to show that, as the CIO, I believed the SASB standards would be part of our future investment curriculum.

What have you liked best about what you’ve learned? Something you didn’t expect? I understood the push for more non-financial information and the legal background on corporate disclosure, but I did not know about the SASB SICS industry breakdown and the focus on standards for specific industry groups. It’s not just an information dump, it’s specific information relevant to that specific industry activity.

How have you benefited from the FSA exam?  Yes, it’s a rigorous exam process and in-depth study materials. This study has fine-tuned my view and understanding of non-financial risk and its factors. It will improve our investment analysis and helped me push us to be a lead investor, pushing the SEC and the industry to make SASB standards a required disclosure.

 

 

Stephanie Berger Senior Specialist, Corporate Responsibility and Environment, BCE Inc.

Years in profession: 11

Why did you sign up for the FSA? There are two main reasons. First, I work for a public company that files with the SEC and the OSC, therefore it is imperative that I stay abreast of developments in corporate reporting for ESG topics. Second, if I want to consider myself as an expert in ESG reporting, I need to be able to demonstrate this expertise. This certification is a clear way to demonstrate this.

What have you liked best about what you’ve learned? Something you didn’t expect? I was surprised to learn about the implications of using the term ‘materiality’ in our Corporate Responsibility report.

How have you benefited from the FSA exam?  I believe that I am better-informed about ESG reporting in general, but especially as relates to my industry. In particular, I believe that I am better-able to successfully identify and analyze truly material issues.

 

 

Hope Connolly Senior Supply Chain Analyst, Gap Inc.

Years in profession: 6

Why did you sign up for the FSA? To learn more about the theory of sustainability accounting and to add a respected credential to my resume.

What have you liked best about what you’ve learned? Something you didn’t expect? I loved how I learned how sustainability accounting has been derived from financial accounting.  Coming from a science background, it was tough to learn the financial terminology but I expect it to be very useful in the future!

How have you benefited from the FSA exam?  The FSA credential has solidified my understanding of the importance of sustainability to a company’s legal and financial standing.  I feel like I am more able to make the business case for sustainability and have a much deeper understanding of materiality.  Overall, it’s given me high-level perspective on how sustainability is really judged by the C-suite in terms of its impact to a company and the bottom line.

 

 

Ryan Frazier CEO & Managing Principle, Frazier Global Strategies

Years in profession: 10+

Why did you sign up for the FSA? The FSA is essential education for those of us who are committed to understanding the range of sustainability issues and how they are linked to financial performance and value creation for investors, companies, and the broader stakeholder community.

What have you liked best about what you’ve learned? Something you didn’t expect? The principles and scenario-based learning were invaluable for my needs, they helped bring the material into a practical application. Especially the learning on the channels through which sustainability issues are likely to have financial impacts: revenues, costs, assets & liabilities, cost of capital.

How have you benefited from the FSA exam?  Let’s call it what it is, obtaining the FSA means something, it says to those across industries, that you’ve invested the time and effort to be better at your craft and that expertise can help them address their needs and meet their goals.

 

 

Bridgette Malone, CFA Investment Officer, Global Governance, CalPERS

Years in profession: 15

Why did you sign up for the FSA? I believe the FSA knowledge aligns with CalPERS’ mission and Investment Beliefs.  It’s my fiduciary responsibility to act for the benefit of different generations…making it critical for me to extend my understanding of the corporate risks involved as the world changes in demographics, technology and natural resources. Also, my interest is based on my commitment to the investment industry, stability of the capital markets, and my passion to analyze different dimensions of risk in company analysis.

What have you liked best about what you’ve learned? Something you didn’t expect?  The best aspect of the FSA teachings is the accounting metric standardization of the previously overwhelming topic of environmental and social topics to a manageable and meaningful conversation, one that relates directly to business strategy and financial value. The standardization creates a common language and improves boilerplate risk information. The data further enhances an understanding of the likelihood of past earnings being predictive of the future.

How have you benefited from the FSA exam?  This is the first groundbreaking credential on sustainable accounting standardized data and its integration into business strategy.  The credential helps others easily identify me with “sustainable” accounting skills, passion, and interest. The knowledge that I have gained will enhance my ability to add value to CalPERS’ Global Governance Principles. The goal is to make a difference in the world and lead the path to a more sustainable world of doing business while positively impacting CalPERS’ risk-adjusted investment returns.

 

 

Filipe Monteiro Chief Sustainability Officer, Vert Asset Management

Years in profession: 10

Why did you sign up for the FSA? When I discovered the possibility of getting a certification that would bring me the title of being a SASB specialist here in Brazil, I realized the possibility of being ahead of the others, differentiating myself from those who were already studying GRI, and how much this would add to my curriculum.

What have you liked best about what you’ve learned? Something you didn’t expect? I realize that we have really entered a new phase where issues such as knowledge, technology, innovation, relationship skills and respect for natural resources are essential for the survival of a company. In other words, the sustainability of companies can no longer be measured by their ability to generate dividends only, but also by all the value they are able to generate for stakeholders as a whole.

How have you benefited from the FSA exam?  The knowledge that FSA has given me has supported me in writing articles, opened doors in discussion communities about ESG here in Brazil as well as given me technical support in consulting activities to diagnose the stage of maturity of our clients and make suitable recommendations, especially on the use of frameworks and standards, on materiality issues and how to structure a report.

 

 

Alyssa C. Rieder, CFA, CIPM Chief Investment Officer, Dignity Health

Years in profession: 19 years

Why did you sign up for the FSA? Dignity Health cares a lot about sustainability issues both at an environmental level and in investments. I am interested in gaining a greater understanding of SASB’s approach to analyzing material sustainability factors and recognizing their impact on financial performance and investment valuations.

What have you liked best about what you’ve learned? Something you didn’t expect? I was pleased to learn more about current research quantifying the benefits of incorporating sustainability factors into the mosaic of investment analysis.

How have you benefited from the FSA exam? In addition to what I mentioned above, by taking the FSA Level I exam I have demonstrated my interest in and commitment to this important, developing area.

 

 

Sagarika Sahoo Vice President, ESG Research & Quality, ISS ESG India

Years in profession: 15

Why did you sign up for the FSA? I was aiming to upskill myself and earn a credible certification. FSA is one of the most informative courses in the market. It helps you to be aware of the need and evolution of ESG/sustainability accounting, concepts, and their use. I can say it is an extremely good course to get started in this space.

What have you liked best about what you’ve learned? Something you didn’t expect? I liked the overall simplicity of explaining the evolution of sustainable accounting in level 1. In level 2, I find the case studies, SASB ESG themes and metrics, and approaches of integration of ESG metrics into mainstream issuer valuation are very interesting.

How have you benefited from the FSA exam? Learnings from FSA has helped me a lot in framing relevant ESG metrics and its research methodologies, developing ESG data quality assurance mechanism, etc.

 

 

Tara Mei Smith MBA Candidate, NYU Stern

Years in profession: 7

Why did you sign up for the FSA? ESG integration is the future of finance and I want to be ready for that future. The FSA gives me a language to communicate material ESG factors in a standardized and decision-useful way.

What have you liked best about what you’ve learned? Something you didn’t expect? It is really beneficial to have a shared understanding of material ESG topics and metrics. I was pleasantly surprised that the FSA exam helped me in my MBA classes.

How have you benefited from the FSA exam? The FSA has already helped me both in the classroom and in serving clients. I use the accounting metrics and technical protocols to support client sustainability strategy and value creation.

 

 

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