The top skills necessary for ESG professionals amid regulation push

esg disclosure ESG Joe Longo ASIC climate change disclosure

24 April 2024
| By Jasmine Siljic |
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Kaizen Recruitment has pinpointed the most common skill sets for ESG investment professionals, as ASIC chair Joe Longo commits to the upcoming climate reporting regime.

The recruitment firm has released its ESG and Responsible Investment Salary Guide for 2024, covering data from junior analysts to director and board-level executives.

As the Australian government and ASIC work to introduce its mandatory climate-related financial disclosures regime over the coming years, ESG reporting has grown to become the most prominent skill for ESG professionals. Some 65 per cent of survey respondents cited abilities in this area.

Other top skills include ESG integration, due diligence and risk analysis, ESG research, strategy and sustainable finance.

On the opposite end, skills relating to M&A, products and investor relations are listed lower down in the responsible investing space.

Breaking it down by asset classes, 23.6 per cent of ESG professionals have experience working in equities. This is followed by property and real estate at 17 per cent, private equity at 15.3 per cent and fixed income 14.9 per cent.

“This has shown that there is an even split across asset classes and that there is a focus across the board on ESG considerations when investing irrespective of asset class,” Simon Gvalda, manager at Kaizen Recruitment, told Money Management.

“Diverse skill sets are necessary for professionals to thrive in the evolving landscape of ESG, emphasising the need for a multidisciplinary approach to address complex sustainability challenges effectively.”

The research comes as Longo calls for financial entities to begin preparing for the upcoming mandatory climate disclosure regime, which is on the cusp of becoming Australian law.

Speaking at a forum event on 22 April, the corporate regulator said it will take a pragmatic approach to the supervision and enforcement of the regime.

“For both the smaller and the larger entities, there is some understandable apprehension, because now the legislation is actually upon us. And this is a crucial point: you have to do this now. It’s simply not an option to put this off until after legislation has passed, and then scramble to comply. You have to figure out how you’re going to marshal data, support and capabilities, and start keeping the necessary records now – today,” Longo urged.

The chair encouraged entities to start developing necessary organisational and governance structures to uphold future reporting requirements.

ASIC will also develop and issue a regulatory guide on climate-related financial disclosures for financial institutions to access, as well as additional resources on its website.

Longo continued: “As I’ve said before, the growing interest in ESG issues is driving the biggest changes to financial reporting and disclosure standards in a generation.

“While it’s too early to talk about enforcement strategy, that should not be taken to mean it’s too early to be prepared. This means considering and putting into place the systems, processes and governance practices that will be required to meet new climate reporting requirements. It means ensuring you adopt the necessary practices to avoid greenwashing.”

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