- January 17, 2022
- Posted by: CFA Society India
Rajendra Kalur, CFA
(Director – Research & Advocacy, CFA Society India)
“Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will” this inspiring quote from the father of our Nation is a very apt commentary on how our members came up trumps despite having to go through the tough times that the second wave of Covid 19 brought upon us.
If in 2020 many of us heaved with a sigh of relief that the first wave of the pandemic didn’t result in heavy loss of life, it was not so in 2021. The months from April to May was when the second wave hit us like a whiplash and our members had to for the first time struggle for hospital beds and oxygen cylinders. The second half of the year gave us hope as the increasing vaccination numbers meant that we may have seen the worst of the pandemic.
At the Society however the exemplary commitment and passion of our volunteers meant that we could carry out most of the activities as laid down in the annual plan and even went that extra length to carry out some new initiatives too.
We welcomed 203 new members to our Society in 2021. For the first time, we hosted a virtual charter award ceremony that was attended by over 120 new charterholders. An ad, with the names of the new charterholders was featured on the page1 of LiveMint, bringing much-needed cheer to the awardees and their families. It was also great to see excellent participation 200+ attendees – for the ‘Take the Next Step to Earning the CFA Charter’ sessions hosted along with CFA Institute India office.
With no opportunities for in-person networking, we are thankful for high percentage of members – 75%+ who renewed their Society membership in a very challenging second year of the pandemic. We continued to focus on member value and added new benefits including discounts for Prime Investor subscription, Crisil, Capital Market Publishers India Pvt. Ltd (Capitaline), Probe Information Services Pvt. Ltd. &TWS Systems Pvt. Ltd. (Tofler). The team has also been working on an app to bring member benefits and interactions seamless; Excited to be launching it very shortly!
This year is notable for the launch of the Insurance Conference organized by the Hyderabad chapter, the alternative investments summit organized by the Ahmedabad chapter and Commodities Conference organized by the Indore. These three now would be a regular feature and would further enrich our already strong repertoire of marquee conferences. They would complement the annual Value Investors’ Pioneers conference from Delhi, Fintech Summit from Bengaluru, Fixed Income Summit from Chennai & the Corporate Governance summit from Pune.
This year also saw the launch of the Ethics Challenge in India with 17 leading MBA Institutes taking part in the pilot nationals and later on 32 leading MBA Institutes competing to participate in the APAC Regional Finals. What’s more noteworthy is that the graders for the Ethics Challenge comprised of a team of all ladies charter holders. The jurists in the finals comprised of eminent people from the world of Banking, KPOs, Investment Management and Administration. This along with the already well established Research Challenge competition enables us to engage even more strongly with institutions. The launch of India Insights this year was done to showcase the activities of CFA Society India volunteers in the field of Research & Advocacy as well as give us a medium to reach out to the stakeholders in the financial services community.
On the career services front, the monthly webinar on career insights by experts across various domains is already a keenly awaited event. This apart we are seeing a growing number of employers and prospective employees reaching out through the career services portal. We are conscious of the fact that genuine development can occur only if there is greater participation of women in financial services. At the Board level while we had an increase in the women participation, a lot needs to be done at the industry level. In this endeavour, we continued our “Women in Finance” initiative and added a Research Writing Competition amongst women charterholders. Both these events had enthusiastic participation. The webinar had notable personalities including Arundhati Bhattacharya, former chairperson SBI & Nicky Manoleas Executive Vice President, BCA Research amongst others.
This year as part of the research and advocacy activities, the focus was on ESG. Not only did the committee volunteers participate enthusiastically in the consultation papers of the CFA Institute and SEBI, there were also a series of round tables held with investment managers and other key stake holders to enhance understanding of this increasingly important subject. Webinars on sustainability and climate change complemented the activities around ESG this year. As part of the thought leadership initiative, the committee brought out two very well received publications: one on the Annual General Body Meetings, AGM Handbook update and the other a Capital Markets Briefing on India as a collaborative effort with the CFA Institute & CFA Institute Research Foundation respectively.
We have completely overhauled our society website and members can have a better user experience as they navigate through the various features on the web. This apart, we continue to attract a greater number of followers on our social media sites. Our twitter account comes with a prestigious blue tick and our LinkedIn account has the highest number of followers across all CFA Societies globally and has recently crossed the 40k mark. The Youtube channel has more than 28k subscribers now after adding more than 10k subscribers this year alone. A video campaign for increasing awareness of Ethics Challenge garnered 2.6 million impressions and a quiz around ethics challenge
Membership networking and engagement activities without the physical arrangements may appear to be daunting but this has not deterred some of the societies from organizing virtual gatherings.
All this is because of the indefatigable efforts of our volunteers and their indomitable will.
In the coming year, we look forward to continuing with the great work that the volunteers have put in. In addition we look forward to possibly restarting the physical events if the pandemic subsides and we have an environment conducive for this.
We are looking forward to the coming year with a lot of hope while at the same time fully cognizant of the fact that the winds of change are blowing across the industry and the CFA Community as well. In the words of AlvinToffler, “nobody can predict the future with certainty but we can always identify ongoing patterns of change”. The changing winds are throwing a challenge to the society and volunteers to constantly reskill and upskill and the Institute is keen that apart from supporting CFA Charterholders, we provide support to other certifications that the Institute may launch. At the Society level, we are aware that there is a need for more focused certification across several domains as the Investment Management community faces up-to the disruptive challenges of technology, regulation and demographics. With the launch of the ESG Certification, CFA Institute is focusing on making us future ready and do watch out for more such offerings.
While we would want to continue with the good things that the society is doing, we also would want to work on making the experience better for our members in the membership renewal process.
The year begins with the India Investment Conference, now in its 12th edition and this year too we have lined up an impressive panel of speakers to provide you with the perfect curtain raiser.