In this episode, Bill interviews Jennifer Coombs. Jennifer is an Associate Professor at the College for Financial Planning, Developer of the CSRIC designation, and ESG subject matter expert.  You can see our video at:

I recently got my CSRIC designation – Chartered Sustainable Responsible Impact Investing (SRI) Counselor. Jennifer was my instructor.

Here are some highlights from our conversation:

  • CSRIC designation program started October 2018
  • The course is updated annually and syncs to the USSIF trends reports
  • There are two instructors currently teaching the course
  • Grew out of the USSIF condensed foundations course
  • USSIF has had demand for a designation in the SRI field but they lacked the resources to do it until they partnered with the College for Financial Planning
  • Mostly financial advisors are in the CSRIC course but there are some asset managers
  • Jennifer worked as an analyst in NY before moving to Colorado
  • She had done a TED talk on sustainable investing
  • One of the funds she worked for had an SRI index
  • The CSRIC course covers:
    • Terms
    • History of SRI
    • How is SRI relevant today (largely environmental)
    • Strategies that are used: positive and negative screens; shareholder advocacy, community investing
    • Thematic investing
    • Corporate social responsibility
    • Risk and return elements – ESG scores, metrics, ratings (useful but not perfect)
    • Asset allocation
    • Ethics and the fiduciary standard
    • Opportunities and challenges in SRI
  • USSIF does a lot of work around consumer awareness of SRI
  • The course demand is client driven – clients want the options of SRI portfolios
  • We discussed the acceptance (and pushback) of the course in the SRI community
  • There has been a shift in the people interested in SRI
  • We discuss the latest USSIF trends report – the findings and the limitations because the reporting is not complete
  • Reporting to USSIF is voluntary but reporting was up for the latest report
  • The top shareholder advocacy issues were around climate change and equality (racial and gender)
  • We discussed resources to keep up to date with SRI
    • US SIF website
    • MSCI
    • Morningstar – sustainalytics
    • As You Sow
    • Barrons
    • Green Money Journal

To get more information about CSRIC, you can visit: or contact Jennifer at:


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