CISI publishes guidance booklet on ESMA report

The CISI’s new guidance booklet aims to assist firms in their efforts to meet the new European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) guidelines, effective January 2018


In response to the publication of the ESMA Final Report in December 2015, Guidelines for the assessment of knowledge and competence, the CISI is offering support to European financial services regulators and firms, and ultimately consumers, by publishing its own guidance booklet setting out its stall across the qualifications, continuous professional development and business ethics areas.

The ESMA guidelines have been put in place to ensure that all staff working in financial services customer facing roles throughout Europe are qualified to the highest professional standards as outlined in the new Markets in Financial Instruments Directive, MiFID II. It affects staff who are either “giving information” or “giving investment advice”.

The CISI booklet is a toolkit for firms and regulators across the EU member countries who will need to comply with these new MiFID II regulations if they want to work with consumers.

ESMA, which is based in Paris, is the independent EU authority contributing to safeguarding the stability of the EU’s financial system by enhancing the protection of investors and promoting stable and orderly financial markets. ESMA operates a single rulebook for EU financial markets.

Kevin Moore, Chartered MCSI and CISI Director of Global Business Development said: “As a global professional body we have been working with firms and members in Europe and other countries around the world for many years. We are absolutely committed to raising professional standards, in terms of knowledge, competencies and behaviour. This initiative is very much in the interests of consumers all across Europe."

The CISI has an excellent track record in supporting the introduction of new knowledge and competency requirements for the profession, having worked closely with the previous Financial Services Authority (now the Financial Conduct Authority or FCA) on the introduction of similar standards in the UK under the Retail Distribution Review (RDR). The CISI is an FCA-accredited body for the issuance of Statements of Professional Standing (SPS), which is a licence to practise as a retail investment adviser in the UK.

The CISI works with financial services regulatory authorities in 37 countries around the world. In the EU, the CISI has links with these authorities in Cyprus, Germany, Greece, Malta, Netherlands, Republic of Ireland and the UK. The CISI has members in 25 EU member countries, and in 2015 the Institute’s qualifications were sat in 24 of those EU countries.

The CISI guidance for regulators and firms who need to comply with ESMA’s requirements on knowledge and competence is available from or

The ESMA guidelines stipulate firms must:

The CISI solution

Ensure that staff providing relevant services to clients are assessed through the successful completion of an appropriate qualification and have gained appropriate experience in the provision of relevant services to clients.

Existing CISI qualification syllabi which completely match the ESMA appropriate qualification requirements:

Carry out an internal or external review, on at least an annual basis, of staff members’ development and experience needs, assess regulatory developments and take any action necessary to comply with the ESMA requirements. This review should also ensure that staff possess an appropriate qualification and maintain and update their knowledge and competence by undertaking continuous professional development (CPD).

Free relevant CPD for members covering a variety of mediums:

Ensure that they submit to their regulator, on request, records concerning knowledge and competence of staff providing relevant services to clients.

  • Online CPD record for all members enabling them to log dates, activities undertaken and attach evidence
  • Firms have a superuser function to view employees' CPD records, run reports, and export to Excel

Ensure that staff providing relevant services possess the necessary knowledge and competence to meet regulatory and legal requirements and business ethics standards.

The CISI has a complete integrity and ethics offering, including:

  • Integrity at Work publication
  • Integrity Matters scenario-based e-learning
  • E-learning modules covering ethics and whistleblowing
  • Interactive classroom sessions and in-house courses
Published: 25 Jul 2016
  • Compliance, Regulation & Risk
  • The Review
  • Press
  • Wealth Management
  • Mifid II

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