It was some 15 years ago that, as part of its strategic review, the CISI started working overseas, predominantly in emerging markets. “Many of our major banking customers were expanding their operations and wanted to ensure their international staff had the same high education standards as in the UK,” says CISI CEO Simon Culhane, Chartered FCSI. “We started our international strategy by focusing on the major hubs where our UK banks were growing, notably in places like India and Singapore. Once we were established, we worked with local and regional banks.”
The CISI’s key global initiatives
Dubai – The CISI has partnered with the University of Dubai and its Center of Executive Development to provide internationally recognised financial qualifications to students. The university was the first educational institution in the UAE to partner with the CISI.
Kuwait – The CISI has a contract with the Kuwait Capital Markets Authority to establish an integrated programme for securities practitioners in the local capital markets. The programme includes international and bespoke Kuwaiti qualifications in both English and Arabic
Nigeria – Working with the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers of Nigeria, the CISI focuses on integrity and continuing professional development. This allows the members to keep up to date with sector developments, maintain regulatory compliance and demonstrate continuous learning.
Kenya – In 2014, the CISI signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Kenyan Capital Markets Authority and CISI exams are now mandated as part of the Kenya Capital Markets Programme for Certification and Licensing.
South Africa – The CISI has a special relationship with the University of Johannesburg, underlined by the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding for cooperation. The partnership allows some of the CISI’s international vocational qualifications to be built into undergraduate programmes at the university.
India – The CISI has had a presence in India for ten years, offering examinations at Christ University and Jain University in Bangalore. In 2016, over 2,000 exams were taken in the country.
Sri Lanka – The CISI’s exams have been taken by over 5,000 students in Sri Lanka, thanks to a partnership deal with the University of Sri Jayewardenepura.
The Philippines – The CISI has been mandated to provide financial literacy courses and exams in colleges and universities across the Philippines.
Today the CISI has recognition for over 45 jurisdictions, including nations in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Kevin Moore, Chartered MCSI, CISI director of global business development, says: “We are talking about a group of countries across the world that are very different from each other, but they do have many things in common, such as a potential talent pool of exceptionally bright people who have an eagerness to learn, build their career and experience the international community. Part of our job is to assist them in achieving their aspirations.”
The CISI’s contribution is partly about raising standards, adds Kevin. “One of the things that defines a country on an upward trajectory is the introduction of a professional and more competitive financial landscape. To achieve that, the workforce has to have the required skill set and awareness that will allow the country to enter the international financial market. The CISI’s examinations help to facilitate that process.”
Simon points out that emerging markets can show a new way forward as well as adopting legacy processes. “It would be a mistake to see the traditional markets as always the leaders in terms of trends. Just consider the September 2017 McKinsey report, Mobile financial services in Africa: winning the battle for the customer,
which describes Africa as the global leader in mobile money. In some areas, you have emerging markets ahead of traditional markets, largely due to the fintech revolution.”
Success in Kenya
One example of how the CISI works with local bodies to help establish momentum and provide expertise along the way is in Kenya, where it has partnered with the Capital Markets Authority (CMA) to provide internationally recognised qualifications such as the International Introduction to Securities and Investment (Kenya).
The relationship with the CMA in Kenya has been a success story; an opinion shared by its chief executive, Paul Muthaura. “Kenya, at 80%, has one of the highest pass rates for the Introduction to Securities and Investments, a certification that is one of the initiatives under the Memorandum of Understanding we have with the CISI,” says Paul.
He is also upbeat about what this means for the financial services community in Kenya, adding that the certification programme will produce a good talent pool, in accordance with the Capital Market Master Plan and Vision 2030 to become a regional and international finance centre.
A desire for learning
Simon is naturally proud of the CISI’s role in adding significant value to emerging markets. As well as providing a qualification framework that introduces a ready-made structure for regulators, the CISI works closely with the academic community and helps people working in financial services gain the knowledge necessary to work in a frontier market.
“I am always struck by the desire for learning that you see in these markets,” Simon says. “I think people there see a more direct link between their education and their future. But our work is not simply about benchmarking standards; it is also about providing consumer protection in markets where savings and pensions are still growing, but where knowledge and understanding associated risks are often limited. Across all disciplines, we are making a key contribution to market evolution.”
The original version of this article was published in the Q1 2018 print edition of The Review. The print edition is available to all members who opt in to receive it, except student members. All eligible members who would like to receive future editions in the post should log in to MyCISI, click on My Account/Communications and set their preference to 'Yes'.
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