CPA, CFA, MBA, CFP – these are just some of the designations you commonly see in the banking industry. For the tens of thousands of employees working in the Operations world, there has long been a lack of recognized industry certification to recognise the level of knowledge required for this critical function.
The Investment Operations Certificate (IOC) by the UK-based Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment is the most recognised, and is available in over 50 countries.
Previously known as the Investment Administration Qualification (IAQ), in Asia it comprises of passing 3 units; an introductory module to Securities and Investment (highly recommended), and then 2 technical units from a choice of over 12 topics, including Derivative Operations, Global Securities Operations and Operational Risk.
Prior to becoming a professional trainer, I spent over 15 years working in banking operations across 3 continents. I first received my IAQ (renamed as the IOC) over 10 years ago when it was little known outside the UK.
Fast forward 5 years, when I was based in Australia, and my global employer had made attaining the IAQ a pre-requisite for promotions within Operations, demonstrating its growing influence and importance.
In the past few weeks, Anagram Group has been awarded the status of Accredited Training Provider (ATP) for IOC modules in Singapore. This allows us to provide training workshops, and support towards employees passing their exams. As the lead trainer for these modules, I’ve found myself retaking the exams and being impressed with the relevant but challenging topics covered by the course material.
For those of you who are uncertain as to its relevance, here are 5 reasons why you should sign up immediately:
1) Globally Recognised Certification
The IOC is now taken in over 50 countries worldwide and is the principal certification for administration and operations employees to demonstrate their knowledge and skills.
2) Attractiveness to Employers
When I was recruiting new employees, it was something I always looked for on the CVs. If I had two similar candidates, I was more likely to go with the one with the IOC as it demonstrated their commitment to further education within their industry. With each exam requiring around 80 hours of study time, each candidate needs to balance their challenging work schedule with their desire to further improve themselves.
3) Industry Expertise
The Introduction to Securities and Investment (International) module gives candidates a broad understanding of the wider financial market. The technical units allow them to increase their understanding of specific products and processes, to a level higher than the requirements of their jobs. For example, for those working in Derivative Operations for large brokers, you often work in one function such as fixed income derivative settlements, however the exam will demand your understanding of all products, different processes such as confirmations or legal, and to be up to speed with recent regulatory initiatives impacting the industry.
4) Upgrade your employees
Investment in training and staff development is a recognized motivation factor and an effect tool for boosting employee engagement levels. The upgrading of your employees’ skill sets will not only boost their engagement, but will also be of benefit to your team’s productivity levels.
5) Recognised learning path
Once candidates have passed 3 exams and achieved the IOC, the learning doesn’t need to stop there. In addition to different CISI membership levels, they can take advanced qualifications in operational risk and global security operations.