With the aim of supporting capacity building and talent development for banking professionals, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) has been working together with the banking industry to introduce an industry-wide competency framework - “Enhanced Competency Framework (ECF) for Banking Practitioners” in Hong Kong.
The Enhanced Competency Framework on Green and Sustainable Finance (hereinafter referred to as “ECF-GSF”) is a non-statutory framework which sets out the common and core competences and capabilities required of practitioners who are performing functions related to GSF in the banking industry in Hong Kong.
With reference to the HKMA’s Guide to Enhanced Competency Framework on Green and Sustainable Finance, the objectives of the ECF-GSF are twofold:
To develop a sustainable talent pool of GSF talent for the banking industry; and
To raise the professional competence of practitioners who are performing functions related to GSF in the banking industry.
Although the ECF-GSF is not a mandatory licensing regime, authorized institutions (AIs) are strongly encouraged to adopt it for purposes including but not limited to:
Serving as a benchmark to determine the level of competence required and assess the ongoing competence of relevant practitioners;
Supporting relevant employees to attend the required trainings and assessments in order to obtain the certifications under the ECF-GSF;
Supporting the continuing professional development (CPD) of individual employees;
Promoting the ECF-GSF as an industry-recognised qualification, including for recruitment purposes.
For more details, please refer to the HKMA's Guide to Enhanced Competency Framework on Green and Sustainable Finance.
The framework applies to practitioners working in roles related to GSF within AIs. These role include:
Green and Sustainable Finance Product and Servicing. Examples of functional titles: Relationship Officer, Sustainable Investment Analyst, and GSF Data Analyst.
Sustainability / Climate Risk Management. Examples of functional titles: Climate Risk Strategy Analyst and Climate Risk Modelling Analyst.
Sustainability Disclosures and Reporting. Examples of functional titles: Sustainability Reporting Associate.
Sustainability Strategy, Compliance and Control. Examples of functional titles: Sustainability Officer, ESG Legal & Compliance Officer, and Internal Audit Officer.
HKIB’s Role in ECF-GSF
The HKIB is the administrator of the ECF-GSF, whose major roles including handling certification and grandfathering applications, providing the training programmes, administering the examinations and CPD requirements, and maintaining a public register of qualified certification holders.
The ECF-GSF has two competency levels: the Core Level (benchmark at QF Level 4) and a Professional Level (launch date TBC). It is composed of four modules:
Module 1: Introduction to Sustainability
Module 2: Fundamentals of Green and Sustainable Finance
Module 3: Sustainability Risk in Banking
Module 4: ESG/Sustainability Strategy, Disclosures and Reporting
Detailed programme structure will be released in due course, including module outline, contact hours and examination format etc.
Upon completion of specific modules of the professional qualifications programmes, practitioners can apply various professional qualifications:
Professional Qualification (PQ)
Completion of Module
Associate Green Finance Professional (Product and Servicing)
Module 1 + Module 2
Associate Green Finance Professional (Climate Risk Management)
Module 1 + Module 3
Associate Green Finance Professional (Sustainability Disclosures and Reporting)
Module 1 + Module 4
Associate Green Finance Professional (Sustainability Strategy, Compliance and Control)
Module 1 + Module 4
Practitioners with at least 2 years of relevant experience in a Core Level job that are described in the GSF roles 1, 2, 3 and 4 in the Guide and are employed by an AI are eligible to apply for a one-off grandfathering from 1 December 2023 to 31 May 2024 (6 months ONLY). The detailed grandfathering requirements are as follow:
An RP who has passed any of the certain training programme(s) is eligible to apply for exemption from Module1/ 2 / 3 of the ECF-GSF Core Level training programme. For more details, please refer to the HKMA's Guide to Enhanced Competency Framework on Green and Sustainable Finance.
If an RP has completed an in-house training programme organised by an AI with substantially overlapping syllabus coverage with that of the ECF-GSF and would like to be exempted from the relevant module(s) under the ECF-GSF, he/she will be required to obtain a pass in the examination(s) of the relevant training modules(s) organised by the HKIB in order to be eligible for the exemption.
Existing RPs who meet the above criteria can submit their exemption applications to the HKIB. Modular exemption fee(s) and examination fee(s) will apply where applicable.
Respective exemption application form will be available in due course.
Annual Renewal of Certification and CPD Requirements
The ECF-GSF certification is subject to annual renewal by the HKIB and the renewal of the certificate holder’s membership of the HKIB. An RP is required to:
For the Core Level qualification, a minimum of 12 CPD hours is required for each calendar year (ending 31 December), of which at least 5 hours should be on topics related to GSF.
For the qualified CPD activities and topics, please refer to the HKMA's Guide to Enhanced Competency Framework on Green and Sustainable Finance.
General Enquiry/ Feedback
Professional Qualification (PQ)
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