The chartered financial analyst (CFA) designation is more than a credential. It is administered by the Association for Investment Management and Research (AIMR) in Charottesville, Virginia, which is an advocacy group in the United States. The group has decided to extend its reach to Asia by setting up an Asian Advocacy Committee “to be the voice of the investment community”.

Actually, PensionsAsia, the magazine of Asian investment management published quarterly by FinanceAsia, is the voice of the investment community. But AIMR could run a respectable second place.

AIMR’s Patricia Doran Walters, senior vice president of professional standards and advocacy in Charlottsville, says the Asian Advocacy Committee will address issues such as insider trading and licensing requirements of investment advisors by availing their opinions under the well-known AIMR name to local regulators.

The investment community in general in Asia is less developed than that in the United States, and AIMR believes it can use its credibility to help improve standards and ethical behaviour in the financial industry.

Singapore-based Aaron Low of Dresdner Asset Management is the committee chairman. He has, of course, a CFA.