Introducing NISM Certification

March 1, 2019

The National Institute of Securities Markets (NISM) refers to a public trust created by the regulatory body overseeing all Indian securities markets – the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).  As part of its oversight functions, NISM sees to the promotion of standards for best practices and propagation of knowledge for market participants in the Financial Industry.

NISM comprises six schools of excellence, one of which is the School for Certification of Intermediaries (SCI).  The SCI oversees all certification programs alongside Continuing Professional Education (CPE) programs, which are designed to endorse and improve the capabilities of the Financial Sector professionals.

Certification Modules of the NISM

Finance professionals willing to improve themselves can access a couple of certification modules created by the NISM and available through the SCI.  These modules are designed to meet the varying learning needs of these professionals and equipping them to thrive across various roles in their specific fields, and ultimately help investors make quality financial decisions as and when required.

Out of the 20 certifications available, some are mandated by the SEBI for professionals in certain job responsibilities, while others are only voluntary and offers advanced knowledge for financial professionals in their respective fields.

These certifications are outlined as follows;

  1. NISM Series I: Currency Derivatives Certification Examination
  2. NISM-Series-II-A: Registrars to an Issue and Share Transfer Agents-Corporate Certification Examination
  3. NISM Series II B: Registrars and Transfer Agents (Mutual Fund) Certification Examination
  4. NISM Series-III-A: Securities Intermediaries Compliance (Non-Fund) Certification Examination
  5. NISM Series-III-B: Issuers Compliance Certification Examination
  6. NISM Series IV: Interest Rates Derivatives Certification Examination
  7. NISM Series V A: Mutual Fund Distributors Certification Examination
  8. NISM-Series V-B: Mutual Fund Foundation Certification Examination
  9. NISM-Series-V-C: Mutual Fund Distributors (Level 2) Certification Examination
  10. NISM Series VI: Depository Operations Certification Examination
  11. NISM Series VII: Securities Operations and Risk Management Certification Examination
  12. NISM-Series-VIII: Equity Derivatives Certification Examination
  13. NISM Series-IX: Merchant Banking Certification Examination
  14. NISM-Series-X-A: Investment Adviser (Level 1) Certification Examination
  15. NISM-Series-X-B: Investment Adviser (Level 2) Certification Examination
  16. NISM-Series-XI: Equity Sales Certification Examination
  17. NISM Series-XII: Securities Markets Foundation Certification Examination
  18. NISM Series-XIII: Common Derivative Certification Examination
  19. NISM Series-XIV: Internal Auditors for Stock Brokers Certification Examination
  20. NISM Series-XV: Research Analyst Certification Examination

NISM Exam Dates, Eligibility, and Job Roles

The SEBI requires that all finance professionals obtain most of these certifications listed above, as related to their respective fields, with the aim of improving the quality of services available to investors in the financial industry.

Eligibility

The SEBI does not attach any special requirements to the participation of finance professionals in these certification courses as well as the exams.  In addition to finance professionals involved in stock exchange, SEBI permits interested individuals with or without prior financial knowledge, experience, or exposure to sit for these examinations.

For individual exams, the pass mark is set at 50% or 60%, while most of the exams attract a negative marking of up to 25%.  Intending participants must keep in mind that these certifications are designed to offer additional knowledge in specific fields.  Thus, each certification is meant for professionals in a specific field.

Considering that the certification exams are designed to be computer-based, candidates can sit for them at the exam center closest or most convenient for them.  While individual enrolments are allowed, it is important to note that a successful individual enrolment has a 180 days validity period.  In the case that the candidate fails to take the examination within this time frame, no refund will be made and the examinations will not be rescheduled.

If a candidate is interested in rescheduling an examination, they can do so by logging on the examination portal.   And such a change must be made at least 30 days before the examination date. Candidates should also note that rescheduling can only be done once for every enrolment.

Every successful candidate at the examinations is eligible for a NISM exam certification, which will be issued within 15 days of the date of the examination.  This certification is valid for three years only.  There is an option of renewal, which must be activated at least 12 months before the expiry date of the certification.  To renew a certification, a candidate will need to sit for a Continuing Professional Education exam, and if they pass, the certification will be renewed for another three years.

Exams

As stated earlier, each of these certification modules are meant for workers in a certain area of the financial services sector.  These modules are expected to improve the knowledge of the professionals participating in it, and ultimately ensure that the financial industry offers higher-quality customer services to investors.

Hence, the general structure of these exams entails a fundamental outline of the related areas, concepts, and methodologies.  It also highlights the professional roles and functionalities of the participants as related to their fields, alongside how they can apply the same in rendering practical assistance to customers.

Exam Dates and Requirements

Considering that these certification exams are accessible throughout the year, candidates can enroll at any time and schedule their exams at their convenience on the NISM portal. These certification exams are designed to be computer-based, hence any intending participant must be computer literate.  Apart from interested external candidates, the SEBI has mandated some of these certification courses for some professionals to improve their knowledge in the areas of the financial sector they specialize in.  These professionals, alongside other interested individuals, make up the eligible candidates for these exams.

Job Roles

These certifications are intended for finance professionals, including people working as  employees of merchant banking firms or investment banking firms, employees of stock brokers, employees of Registrar and Transfer Agents (RTA), Marketing/Sales Personnel in Currency Markets, Mutual Fund Distributors, Investment Advisers, and so on.

By taking these certification courses, these professionals mentioned above can gain relevant certifications and improved knowledge in their areas of specialization, which will ultimately enhance their career profile and growth.

Finally, the NISM certifications are great knowledge and profile boosters.  However, if you will be participating, be ready to give it your all in order to have a successful outing.

Good luck!

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