ARLINGTON, Va. — Amidst growing worker interest in, and plan sponsor curiosity about, investments in environmental, social & governance investing, the National Association of Plan Advisors (NAPA) has launched a new certificate program designed to help advisors educate and evaluate those alternatives.

The NAPA ESG Investing for 401(k) Plan Advisors Certificate Program is specifically designed to provide retirement plan advisors with the knowledge to help employers manage their ERISA fiduciary obligations in evaluating the prudence of an ESG investment. The ESG program addresses the different terminology associated with ESG investing principles, strategies, and screens, and provides tools and resources to help advisors communicate the benefits and risks of ESG investments for retirement plans.

In fact, a recent survey[i] of retirement plan participants in plans that did not currently offer an ESG option found that two-thirds (69%) said they would—or might—increase their overall contribution rate if they had access to an ESG options.

The certificate course is a 3-hour online self-paced course broken into three interactive modules covering the fundamentals of ESG, the process for evaluating these options, and how to share that information with plan sponsors, participants, and prospects.

“While ESG has been slow to catch on with defined contribution plans like 401(k)s, there have been some significant regulatory and legislative changes in the past few months—and a growing sense that these options are of increasing importance to retirement plan savers”, noted Brian Graff, CEO of the American Retirement Association and Executive Director of NAPA. “We are pleased to be able to bring some additional clarity and appreciation for the importance of a prudent assessment of these options to the retirement plan marketplace.”

The program is available at no cost to NAPA advisor members thanks to the generous support of our education program sponsors; Amundi Pioneer, Blackrock, Calvert, Dimensional, Leafhouse Financial, Lord Abbett, MFS, Natixis Investment Managers, and Voya Financial. Additional information is available at https://napaesgk.org/.

The National Association of Plan Advisors was created by and for retirement plan advisors. Membership is also open to other retirement industry professionals who support the interests of plan advisors. NAPA is the only advocacy group exclusively focused on the issues that matter to retirement plan advisors. NAPA is part of the American Retirement Association, based in the Washington, D.C. area. More information about NAPA is available at napa-net.org.

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