A year in review 2019/20


Welcome to my second annual report as your chair. As I write, we are in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic and my thoughts and hopes are with our global family of colleagues and members. We undoubtedly will struggle and suffer, but with care, compassion and a determination of spirit, most will emerge on the other side; perhaps bruised and battered, but resolute that we did our very best in the very worst circumstances. My sincere condolences to those of you who have lost loved ones. Reaction, Resilience, Recovery and Renewal

Reaction, Resilience, Recovery and Renewal

I am delighted to report that we reacted quickly to the threat of Covid-19 and we approach this next phase in a resilient and financially healthy position, confident, but not complacent, that we will weather this period of dislocation and will continue to provide services and support to our members over the coming months.

As you will read in the CEO’s report, we are thinking ahead, working hard to introduce remote invigilation to enable existing and new members to take exams, wherever they may be. We are also well on the way to delivering our CISI mobile app this year, which will further help our members to work remotely and at their convenience.

Our management continues to contribute actively to important sector-wide work on purpose, diversity, mental health and wellbeing, and many other developments that will continue to improve the working environment for all.

The resilience and predictability of all institutions have never been more important than now. Remember Brexit? It dominated our lives last year, but is now a distant memory and deferred from our minds until the second half of 2020, as we focus on Covid-19 recovery. Through these national and global difficulties, we remain vigilant in our focus to promote integrity and professionalism in our financial services.

As ever, we are grateful for the determination and energy of our management team, whose leadership ensures the continued flourishing and strong sense of purpose and service that we deliver for our members worldwide. We continue to benefit from the outstanding contribution of the professional members who work, voluntarily, to ensure that the CISI remains relevant and fit for purpose, via stimulating professional interest forums and timely and insightful continuing professional development.

I would like to take this opportunity also to thank our knowledgeable, conscientious and engaged Board of Trustees who too give their time voluntarily to help the Institute to stay on track, focus on renewal and be the best that our Institute can be.

Never has the engagement and enthusiasm of our community of members, volunteers, trustees and staff been more important than it is today, as we all face challenging changing times. As your Institute invests thoughtfully in the sustainable renewal of its services and delivery, we are confident that we will continue to promote your integrity, professionalism and a commitment to lifelong learning, wherever you may be.

Michael Cole-Fontayn MCSI
Chair, CISI  

Chief executive's review

The Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI) is a global professional body, headquartered in London, with a strong UK base and wide international reach. Its 170 staff are spread over eight offices and governed by a board of Trustees.

In a normal year, this report would reflect on, and provide many examples of, how the Institute has, and continues to, help the public by improving the knowledge, skills, and integrity of those working in the wealth, financial planning and capital market sectors of the global economy. We are proud of its many achievements, especially during the first eleven months.

However, the impact of the Covid-19 virus has scared and scarred the world. Some countries are emerging from the global pandemic, but others are at very different stages and it continues to present a major threat to sections of our society and economy.

Like other disasters, thanks to numerous selfless individuals, humanity will survive and prosper. However, it is against this background that I present a short summary of the Institute’s contributions in the fields of education and integrity.


During the year we saw the retirement of our long-standing chair, Sir Alan Yarrow Chartered FCSI(Hon), who, under good governance arrangements, stood down after nine years. We are indebted to him for his leadership, advice, and passion for the Institute. It was fitting that Sir Alan retired after the annual dinner in October 2018, at which the governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, spoke warmly of his achievements.

We are delighted to welcome the Institute’s fourth chair, Michael Cole-Fontayn MCSI, a veteran from Bank of New York Mellon and also chair of the investment bank trade body, the Association for Financial Markets in Europe. Last year was a conundrum. On the one hand, we welcomed 3,066 new members, taking the total of fully qualified members to 25,897 in addition to 16,114 student members.

On the other hand, entries for examinations fell by 6%, partly reflecting the lack of business confidence and, in the UK, some banking roles moving outside UK borders in anticipation of its departure from the European Union.

For the UK, much of the year was surrounded by Brexit paralysis which slowly sapped business and public confidence. For 11 of the past 12 months, examination activity in the UK declined. The clear December General Election result revitalised confidence and there were encouraging signs of growth – which were abruptly halted by the unprecedented shutdown of all most major economies a few months later.

Nevertheless, although less than last year, over 37,000 (-7% on the previous year) qualifications were taken, 24,565 in the UK (-9% on the previous year) and 12,588 internationally (-3% on the previous year).

Financially, despite the tougher economic conditions and the shutdown towards the end of the year, we increased our net reserves by returning a surplus of £283k, while our investments rose strongly during the year but fell back to end the year almost neutral, taking the total level of reserves to £13.6m.

This positive financial out-turn has allowed us to continue to donate £150k to the CISI Educational Trust.


We are proud to be both a Chartered body and a charity. This means that we seek to maximise our objectives rather than our profits. That is not to devalue the importance of earning a surplus, as we receive no public income or government subsidy, but creating money is not our primary aim.

Being focused on our objectives allows us to consider the longer term and to carry out initiatives which might be the right thing to do for our profession and society rather than the most profitable.

As the Institute approaches its 30th birthday, we have been reflecting on the recent focus on ‘purpose’, contributing to the discussion by running a workstream amongst wealth management firms for the FCA, which is interested to consider what role purpose plays in determining behaviour and culture in financial services firms. As a result, we have started to consult our members and stakeholders in order to refresh and renew our purpose, and, although stalled by Covid-19, the consultation will continue later in the year.


Our second core principle – integrity – is as relevant now as it has always been: finance continues to rely on trust. People buy from people and if there is no trust, there is no transaction.

Our integrity case studies and guidance have continued to be well received during the year, especially internationally.

Over 70,000 of our unique IntegrityMatters tests have been completed and the Institute remains the only professional body to require new members, and those taking some of our capital market exams, to take and pass a unique integrity test.

However, not every member lives up to our expectations and, during the year, 40 disciplinary cases were reviewed by our internal panel, and seven cases were sufficiently serious to be heard by the Disciplinary Panel, an independent review body made up of CISI and lay members.

Regrettably, of those disciplinary cases reviewed by the Disciplinary Panel, one member was expelled from the Institute, three members received reprimands, one member received a severe reprimand, one member had their Chartered status revoked and, for one member, there was ultimately no case to answer.

Membership of the CISI requires members to meet standards set out within the Institute’s Principles as part of our Code of Conduct. These Principles impose an obligation on members to act at all times not only in compliance with the rules, but also to support the underlying values of the Institute. The public needs to have confidence in the integrity of members and we actively encourage the reporting of behaviour which falls short of the Institute’s Principles.


The acquisition and assimilation of knowledge is one of our core pillars. Our aim is that CISI qualifications and the body of knowledge that accompanies them are recognised as the global benchmark for wealth managers, financial planners, capital market, compliance or operations professionals.

It was therefore pleasing to receive recognition from 14 further jurisdictions during the year, taking the total to 62 and meeting our strategic goal to reach 60 by the end of 2020.

Amongst the countries recognising our qualifications in 2019 was Saudi Arabia, where we are developing a suite of local qualifications that will be taken alongside our global securities and wealth qualification.

Our work in Africa continues to expand significantly, particularly in Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania and Ghana, where we are working in partnership with local regulators.


Lifelong learning, or continuing professional development (CPD) is now the norm in firms and mandatory for our members. Since its inception we have focused on providing high quality learning experiences and, apart from the Financial Planning Annual Conference, are at no additional charge.

This year we have expanded the quality and range of digital learning, providing over 135 elearning suites, many in a variety of languages, including Spanish, Arabic, French and Greek. As many as 10,000 of these modules are downloaded monthly. CISI TV has added 175 seminars, which were accessed over 82,000 times during the year.

To make further use of technology, during the year we have been consulting with our members on, and developing, a fully responsive and interactive mobile app, which we expect to launch in the summer. Thank you if you took part in this survey, results from which will enable us to focus on delivering something you want and need. The app will be available for both Apple and Android devices, and will make learning even more accessible for smartphone users.

We are seeing strong growth in other countries, particularly the Gulf region, where regulators, having first raised the level of skills by introducing benchmark qualifications, are now focusing on ensuring that individuals maintain their competence by actively encouraging or mandating CPD.

Integration of services

Financial planning is an important part of the Institute’s core activities and we are seeing an increase in demand for financial planners being integrated into wealth teams as firms widen their scope to provide full rounded advice to their customers

The number of members who have joined our Financial Planning Forum has surged to circa 5,300, making the CISI the natural home of real financial planning. We are delighted that financial planning candidates are now taking our new level 6 Advanced Financial Planning exam and then continuing along the pathway to our updated level 7 Financial Plan Case Study, culminating in the prestigious and globally recognised CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ designation.

With costs and value for money in the investment world generally becoming more and more important, many wealth managers see the value of adding a financial planning service to their businesses. Adding this service should help with client retention and growth in the years to come. To become a CFP™ professional, entrants will need to hold sufficient exams to be authorised by the FCA to sell retail packaged products (i.e. activity permissions 4&6). For those with only securities exams, the CISI’s Financial Planning and Advice exam should be taken. Once checked by our qualifications team, entrants can embark on the new Advanced Financial Planning Diploma. More details can be found on our website.

Chartered Body Alliance

It is now two years since the formation of the Chartered Body Alliance, which is a loose alliance of three professional bodies: the CISI, the Chartered Insurance Institute, and the Chartered Banker Institute.

The enhanced cooperation between the bodies is proving beneficial to members, who have been able to attend events put on by other bodies and a number of tripartitely arranged activities.

It has also allowed the three institutes to engage with regulators at a high level and provide a direct route for them to speak with our members.


People are the Institute’s special ingredient. As I have written before, we are so fortunate to enjoy the assistance of many hundreds of practitioners who voluntarily help us every year. Some help with our exam panels, some run our Professional Forums, some write articles for us and some run our regions. We owe them a huge debt of gratitude because, without our volunteers, we would not have an Institute.


Most of us will have used technology while working remotely, so will be familiar with its benefits, but also its shortfalls. Humans are social and, especially during times of crisis, including significant market volatility, they need and value advice, especially from professionals, the vast majority of whom possess high levels of empathetic and relationship skills.

Therefore, we place a high value on our regional networks and forums where individuals can learn, debate and enjoy fellowship.

During the year we have been part of the government’s Financial Services Skills Taskforce, led by former Minister and chair of Flood Re, Mark Hoban FCSI (Hon). This year-long review concluded in January 2020, setting out the challenges of attracting talent to the sector, including providing reskilling opportunities, especially for those in the more administrative roles, which are increasingly automated.

Professional bodies have a large role in helping to retrain and reskill members and employees, especially in what are seen as ‘soft’ skills, such as creativity, emotional intelligence and leadership.

Under the banner of the Chartered Body Alliance, the CISI will take a seat as a director in the first year on the new Financial Services Skills Commission.


The Institute is a charity and we are fortunate that so many dedicated professionals wish to help us meet our objectives across the world. During the year we adopted a number of new initiatives, including enhanced maternity/paternity provision and remote working as a standard option.

All staff now have laptops, which proved critical when we needed to close the office due to the global pandemic and move to remote working in London (118 staff) and in Colombo (50 staff).

Although we are not required to report our gender pay gap, it is 15%. However, we do not support the use of quotas and will continue to appoint on merit. We already recruit on a genderblind basis.

As we move into 2020 we know that these are difficult times for everyone, and I have been delighted and impressed by how well everyone has adapted and quickly moved from dealing with the immediate dislocation to business as normal, which means actively seeking to help our candidates, members and the public with their learning experience.

I thank our staff, especially, for their dedication and commitment during this difficult period.


The impact from the Covid-19 pandemic will be felt for many years, not just the significant loss of economic activity and knock on effects, but also in a potential rethink of the importance of global financial centres.

We as an Institute can expect a loss of around £2m to £3m for 2020/21 as we evaluate the lasting effects of a very different economic environment. Fortunately, we have significant reserves for precisely such unexpected situations, which have allowed us to continue to pay all our 170 staff their full salaries.

When we emerge, we may be faced with a different landscape and different challenges, but we are well prepared to meet it.

Simon Culhane, Chartered FCSI
Chief Executive


In 2012 I sat the Private Client Investment Advice & Management exam. It was hard, a lot of work, but it was totally worth it. I still feel the impact of it today, I talk about it to my colleagues and I feel it is my selling point when I talk to my employer. Whoever is going to hire you will look at your CISI qualifications - sometimes even more than your University degree.

Zeena Farouk MCSI
Associate Director, National Bank of Kuwait
Watch Zeena's full interview
It is important to be a professional in the current climate, because knowledge and integrity are vital to do the role that we do. My clients expect me to be the best adviser and professional that I can be. That’s why my CISI qualifications and membership are very important. Without them I would not be able to do my job and progress in my career. People should sign up for CISI membership and study because it opens up many opportunities.

Katie Presland, Chartered FCSI
Investment Manager, Charles Stanley & Co
Watch Katie's full interview


Our international business continues to grow, with more than 12,500 exams taken internationally across 85 countries over the past year, and the number of CISI members from outside the UK growing by 10%. We have also increased the number of jurisdictions where the CISI is recognised by 14, meaning we now have some form of official recognition in a total of 62 jurisdictions worldwide.

This year we have focused on expanding our online offering for members, who can access a wealth of membership and continuing professional development (CPD) activities. This includes access to numerous CISI TV videos, events, and more than 180 Professional Refresher elearning modules on topics ranging from East Africa: Cyber Crime to Cyprus: Suitability of Client Investments.


Poznan University of Economics students visiting the CISI, June 2019

We continue to work in a number of countries across Europe and, through our connections with the European Banking and Financial Services Training Network, we have developed a number of new partnerships this year. This includes Romania, where we launched our International Certificate in Wealth and Investment Management in partnership with the Romanian Banking Institute (Institutul Bancar Român).

Our presence in Gibraltar grew this year, and we were pleased to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the Gibraltar Association of Compliance Officers (GACO) to help strengthen the culture, integrity and professionalism of the local financial services markets and practitioners. In March 2020, just prior to the Covid-19 shutdown, we launched our Gibraltar National Advisory Council, which will provide valuable local expertise and advice to support our activities across the financial services sector.

In Spain and Cyprus we have focused this year on maintaining an excellent service for our members in both countries, with our Cypriot members benefiting from a number of events held this year on topics including ‘Technology risks in financial services’ as well as a highly successful gala dinner celebrating ten years of the CISI in Cyprus. We now have more than 1,000 members working across Europe.

In Poland we have seen increased activity with both our corporate clients and universities. We were delighted to participate at the career fair at Wroclaw University of Economics in December 2019, where the CISI was promoted to more than 1,000 students and young professionals in Western Poland. We have now opened a new CISI test centre in Wroclaw to meet local demand.

Middle East

CISI CEO Simon Culhane, Chartered FCSI, with the management team of Financial Academy Riyadh

In the Middle East we saw a record year for exams, with more than 4,500 being taken in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) alone, the result of the UAE Securities and Commodities Authority mandating our exams for a number of licensed roles. The UAE now has the largest number of CISI members outside the UK and we run an extensive events programme for our members. We are very fortunate in having a very supportive National Advisory Council, led for a decade by Richard Stockdale, Chartered FCSI (Hon), and taken over last year by Peter Smith, managing director at the Dubai Financial Services Authority.

We are proud to be working closely with regulators across the Gulf and during the year we signed formal agreements with the capital market regulators in Jordan, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. This typically involves a blend of benchmark CISI qualifications sitting alongside localised regulatory exams, specifically developed for the individual jurisdictions, and available in both English and Arabic.

Our presence in Africa has continued to grow since the opening of our Nairobi office two years ago, and we now have regulatory recognition in more than 15 countries across the continent. We are grateful to be supported in our activities by our local partners, and were delighted to launch a CPD programme in partnership with the Kenyan Capital Markets Authority (CMA) this year. In August 2019, also in Kenya, we partnered with the Institute of Certified Investment and Financial Analysts (ICIFA) to offer individuals joint membership. The launch event focused on integrity and professionalism, which included contributions from the ICIFA executive team, as well as our director of global business development, Kevin Moore, Chartered FCSI.

We work with a growing number of universities across Africa and were pleased to sponsor nearly 500 University of Rwanda students to sit our Fundamentals of Financial Services exam, as part of our work with Financial Sector Deepening Africa. Following the signing of our memorandum of understanding (MoU), we have worked with the Casablanca Stock Exchange to offer our globally recognised qualifications to Moroccan university students, supporting the development and professionalism of human capital in Morocco.

We launched an initiative in Ghana to support the Ghana Investments and Securities Institute (GISI) with the implementation of an international certification programme, appropriate for different job functions as licensed by the Securities and Exchange Commission Ghana (SEC). These qualifications will be mandated by the SEC as a requirement for new capital markets practitioners in different job roles, developing the next generation of qualified professionals to support market sustainability.

We have continued to work with both the Chartered Bankers Institute and Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) under the auspices of the Chartered Body Alliance. We continue to distribute the CII’s Award in Bancassurance, taught by our accredited training partners, and in March 2020 we signed an MoU with the Kenyan school of Monetary Studies (KSMS), fully owned by the Central Bank of Kenya and the Ministry of Finance, to offer training to practitioners in Kenya and throughout the East African Community.

In West Africa we have continued our partnerships with the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers and Chartered Institute of Bankers Nigeria and the number of CISI members in Nigeria has grown by an impressive 37% this year.


Mathew Sirma, director, management development center, KSMS; Kimacia Gitau ACSI,CISI East Africa region representative; Dr Joshua Kimoro, director, KSMS; John Kihoro,CISI East Africa region representative; Irene Tuda, procurement services, KSMS

Following the opening of our Nairobi office two years ago,our presence in Africa continues to grow and we now have regulatory recognition in more than 15 countries across the continent. We are grateful to be supported in our activities by our local partners, and were delighted to launch a CPD programme in partnership with the Kenyan Capital Markets Authority (CMA) this year. In August 2019, also in Kenya, we partnered with the Institute of Certified Investment and Financial Analysts (ICIFA) to offer individuals joint membership. The launch event focussed on integrity and professionalism, which included contributions from the ICIFA executive team, as well as our Director of Global Business Development, Kevin Moore Chartered FCSI.

We work with a growing number of universities across Africa and were pleased to sponsor nearly 500 University of Rwanda students to sit our Fundamentals of Financial Services exam, as part of our work with Financial Sector Deepening Africa (FSDA). Following the signing of our Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), we have worked with the Casablanca Stock Exchange to offer our globally recognised qualifications to Moroccan university students, supporting the development and professionalism of human capital in Morocco.

We launched a new initiative in Ghana to support the Ghana Investments and Securities Institute (GISI) with the implementation of an international certification programme, appropriate for different job functions as licensed by the Securities and Exchange Commission Ghana (SEC). These qualifications will be mandated by the SEC as a requirement for new capital markets practitioners in different job roles, developing the next generation of qualified professionals to support market sustainability.



Christ University IOC awards ceremony group shot, January 2020

In India, our partnership with Christ University continues into its fifth year, providing students with access to our internationally recognised exams with the support and leadership of the university faculty. In January 2020, our director of global business development, Kevin Moore, Chartered FCSI, was honoured to attend an event at the university to discuss the topic of ‘Future jobs in the financial services sector’ and present awards to the many students who had achieved our full Investment Operations Certificate.

We have also focused on expanding the number of webinars we run, offering practitioners across India the opportunity to access learning on a variety of topics, including Anti-Money Laundering and the Know Your Customer process. We were also delighted that, in summer 2019, the State Bank of India approved our Risk in Financial Services exam, confirming its relevance and value for Indian financial services practitioners.

As in other parts of the world, we are fortunate to have a supportive and influential National Advisory Council, headed by CISI main board member Mr Puranam Ravikumar FCSI(Hon) and including the business heads of many of the CISI’s main corporate clients in India.


Institute of Banking & Finance Singapore(IBF) recognised CISI’s ethics CPD. Simon Culhane, Chartered FCSI, CISI CEO,presenting an Integrity at Work session at IBF, January 2020

We have continued to grow our presence in Asia Pacific through our regional headquarters in Manila. Our existing National Advisory Councils in Singapore and the Philippines were joined by our new Greater Bay Area China Advisory Council. These comprise senior members and supporters and play a hugely important part in guiding and advising the CISI.

Our CPD Ethics offer has been recognised as qualifying continuing professional development by the Singapore Institute of Banking and Finance (IBF). This includes our flagship Integrity at Work programme that offers practitioners the opportunity to debate real-life ethical dilemmas. In January, CISI CEO Simon Culhane, Chartered FCSI, delivered the Integrity at Work seminar in Singapore to an audience invited by IBF, as well as CISI members.

We were also pleased to receive formal accreditation for our online Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing professional assessment module from the Anti Money Laundering Council of the Philippines. In Malaysia, we signed an MoU with the Islamic Banking and Financial Institute (Malaysia) to recognise IBFIM programmes for CISI membership, offering Islamic finance professionals in Malaysia the opportunity to access our internationally recognised elearning programme.

We continue to work with university students across Asia, and our Global Trust Awards were held in Singapore for the first time this year. This brought together winners from Singapore, Malaysia, Myanmar and India, offering them the opportunity to meet and learn from senior practitioners in the sector.


Employability is at the heart of what we do

Developing and nurturing the future talent of the financial services sector is integral to the Institute. Our education development team works with over 30 schools and colleges and 26 universities across the UK to support them in offering our professional qualifications to their students.

We support our partner schools and universities through various talks, networking and careers events, hosted by high-profile financial sector firms.

Insight events

CISI students attend a networking lunch with members at the Guildhall, March 2020

We organised three Insight events over the past year, bringing together young people and employers. For the fifth year running, the annual week-long work experience and careers insight event took place in Liverpool in July 2019, with students from eight schools in the city placed in six investment management firms. For the final two days of the week, students honed their soft skills and presented the conclusions of tasks completed during their placements to a panel of senior investment professionals.

In September 2019, we ran our first Insight event in Newcastle. Forty students from five schools and colleges took part at Ernst & Young’s modern offices. They were joined by experienced and junior professionals from Access Wealth Management, Brewin Dolphin, Ernst & Young, Julius Baer International, Rathbones and UBS.

Education programmes

The CISI Educational Trust sponsored and coordinated three education programmes in the UK over the last year. The most established programme, which has been running in Liverpool since 2014, saw 21 students successfully complete our level 3 Certificate for Introduction to Securities & Investment, with mentoring and support from professionals who sit on the local CISI committee.

In Manchester, a similar education programme has been recently established, with students studying towards the level 2 Fundamentals of Financial Services qualification in addition to their A levels. Congratulations to the more than 30 students who have successfully completed the professional qualification since July 2019.

We have also partnered with the City of London Corporation for the past three years to offer students from eight London-based schools the opportunity to study towards CISI qualifications and engage with professionals from different firms. Students had the opportunity to attend networking lunches, hosted at Guildhall by Deputy Keith Bottomley, with the majority also currently taking part in the skills and employability focused ‘Think Investments’ programme, run by Investment 20/20.

Educational Trust Awards

The annual CISI Educational Trust Awards celebrate achievement amongst students studying CISI accredited courses at our UK partner universities, at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. The winners this year received a combined total of £15,000.

For the top ten students, the competition culminates in an essay competition and interviews with senior practitioners across our UK university partners. This year the top performing postgraduate was Gianluca Labagnara of the University of Sussex,who won a prize of £3,000. Jack Gillman of the University of Bangor was awarded a prize of £1,500 as the top performing undergraduate.

The standard of work submitted this year was, again, high. Each nominee submitted a 500-word essay on the question ‘To what extent do you agree that, in financial services, choosing to adopt a broader social purpose is only available to more profitable firms?’

Global Trust Awards

In addition to the UK based Educational Trust Awards, this year a Global Trust competition was held with students competing from India, the Philippines, Myanmar, Malaysia and Singapore. All of the winners received a three-day educational tour of Singapore with opportunities to speak with a variety of senior practitioners. The success of the event was a testimony to the efforts and commitment of members of the CISI in Singapore who hosted the visits to their firms.


2019 award winners at awards ceremony in Ireland, May 2019

Over the past year we have enhanced our portfolio of exams and learning resources and re-engineered the teams and processes we have in place to support them. These changes have improved the breadth and quality of our offer and give us an excellent platform for the future.

We have reviewed our portfolio to ensure that our offer meets the needs of current and future financial services practitioners. We have removed duplication and increased the focus on fintech, data, ESG (environmental, social, and governance), and globalisation. We have also worked with regulators and practitioners to deliver an extensive programme of development work.

Our new financial planning pathway launched last summer. We have since run two sessions of the level 6 Advanced Financial Planning exam and a first round of submissions for the level 7 financial plan assessments. The numbers of candidates and the pass rates are increasing, and we anticipate a corresponding rise in those attaining the sought-after CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ designation.

The first exam from our new International Certificate in Advanced Wealth Management was introduced recently and the second will launch this summer. Other new international offerings include a regulatory exam for Kuwait and a version of our Corporate Finance Technical Foundations exam for the Saudi market; these are available in both English and Arabic. Work has also been started on a number of regulatory exams for jurisdictions in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, as well as a new Transfer Agency module for the Investment Operations Certificate.

We have enhanced the quality of our digital offer, enriching the products with more videos and animations. Our professional refreshers continue to be a popular form of CPD for members. New products focusing on ESG, data, and a range of soft skills have been developed to complement our financial modules, and over 200 titles are now available free to our members. Our revision aid for candidates, Revision Express, has been upgraded and now includes some of our higher-level narrative exams.

We have restructured the Learning Directorate to increase and enhance its focus on the most critical activities. Qualifications staff are now clearly aligned either with our qualification pathways or with the management and development of our portfolio. Similarly, the learning resources staff now specialise in either the commissioning and production of our hard copy workbooks or the production of our digital offer. We also strengthened the team, bringing in additional financial services specialists to enhance our sector expertise and an animator to make the digital products more engaging.

Implementation of the new Surpass online system is complete and the system is now used for the development, maintenance and delivery of all our multiple-choice exams. We aim to introduce further innovations, including computer-based testing for narrative exams and remote invigilation, next year.

Finally, we would like to thank all our stakeholders, including regulators, firms, and accredited training partners, with whom we work closely to optimise our offer. We are also extremely grateful to the many subject matter experts whose contribution ensures the quality and relevance of our qualifications and learning resources.

818 members streamed our Integrity Debate live

1,000+ views subsequently on CISI TV
1,237+ members passed our Speak Up Professional Refresher
70+ Integrity at Work interactive workshops presented in 19 countries
3,187 members passed the Integrity and Ethics Professional Refresher

Professional Standards

Amrita Bhogal, CISI professional standards and ethics manager, presenting an Integrity at Work session to the South East Branch at the University of Sussex in November 2019


Ahead of the extension of the FCA’s Senior Managers and Certification Regime (SMCR) Conduct Rules to all staff in December 2019, we launched the SMCR Conduct Rules toolkit which has now been accessed 12,000 times. The toolkit is available to all members and aligns CISI resources to each of the Conduct Rules, guiding members to relevant articles from The Review, CISI Professional Refreshers, CISI TV videos and Grey Matters ethical dilemmas.

Our Annual Integrity Event, held at Plaisterers’ Hall on 12 February 2020, took the format of three pre-recorded dilemmas discussed by four expert panellists. The theme for the evening was ‘Outside the 9 to 5’, discussing how we should consider individual behaviour and ethical values outside of the working day. More than 1,000 people experienced the event live by either attending in person or watching via live webcast, including members from over 40 different countries. This was the most participants ever at one of our Integrity events.

We value the support from our Integrity and Ethics Committee, and welcomed Kate Griffiths-Lambeth, HR director at Charles Stanley, to the Committee this year. We would like to thank Ian Stevenson, Chartered FCSI, Martin Hall MVO, MBE, and Alan Ramsay FCSI(Hon), who stepped down over the course of the year, for their many years’ contribution and dedication to the Committee.

Richard Charnock, Chartered FCSI will also be stepping down from the Committee after over ten years as chair, and will be succeeded by Tracey Davidson, Chartered MCSI. We would like to thank Richard enormously for his significant contribution to the development and success of our integrity related initiatives and annual events over the past decade.

International reach

Our Integrity at Work presentation was delivered in 19 countries this year, including Nigeria, Malaysia, Singapore, India, Australia, the Philippines, and China. This is reflective of the global reach and relationships the Institute has built.

We were also delighted that three of our Integrity products received recognition by the Institute of Banking and Finance Singapore (IBF) this year, allowing both members and non-members to complete their Ethics CPD requirements in Singapore.

Disciplinary process

We continue to focus on ensuring high standards of ethics and integrity across the financial services sector. Our Disciplinary Committee held its inaugural meeting in May 2019, chaired by Frank Moxon, Chartered FCSI(Hon). The Disciplinary Committee, independent of the CISI Board, oversees the application and administration of the Institute’s disciplinary process.

We also launched a disciplinary webpage that highlights: the types of disciplinary offences; importance of disclosure; the CISI Code of Conduct; the disciplinary process, as well as CISI disciplinary case sanctions. This supports the work of our Disciplinary Panel, who use their professional background and expertise to hear each individual disciplinary case. We would like to welcome more applications to volunteer for our Disciplinary Panel.

2,701 members completed the membership survey
Annual Integrity Event 2020 at Plaisterers’ Hall #IntegrityCISI
Core membership 25,344 grew 4%
132,544 Review articles read
28% growth in international members



We believe that membership of a professional body enables those working in financial services to demonstrate their commitment to professionalism, acquiring further knowledge, skills and working towards excellence. Our membership offer is crafted from what our members tell us they want and what they value from a professional body.

The past year saw growth of 25% in new members outside the UK, as the trend towards mandatory continuing professional development (CPD) continues to develop globally.

With the need for members to meet mandatory CPD policies, our CPD offering continues to be valued highly by members. We aim to support those working in the sector to access cutting-edge information, to be able to network with peers and to debate and discuss common issues through our local CPD events and our online offering of CISI TV and Professional Refresher. Our extensive online offering has proved particularly important for members recently, with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic meaning more individuals are working from home and cannot attend in-person events.

All members have their own online CPD record within the members’ MyCISI portal, where all of their CISI activities are automatically added and other CPD activity can be recorded.

Professional Forums

The Institute’s nine Professional Forums and two Interest Groups provide a platform for members of all levels to share content, update their skills and network with like-minded professionals.

Each forum is run by its own committee, comprising practitioners in the relevant field who work closely with us to identify topics and trends of interest for discussion, for articles in The Review magazine or for planning events. Our Interest Group events are open to non-members and draw in a wide range of professionals who are interested and connected to the financial services sector.

We are grateful to all our chairs and committees for their ongoing support. A full list of those who volunteer their time is shown at the end of this report. 2019 saw our forums embrace diversity and inclusion, with an initial focus on improving balance within the forum committees themselves.
Our forums and interest groups include:
Bond, Compliance, Corporate Finance, FinTech, International Regulation, Operations, Paraplanner, Risk, Training & Competence

Young Professionals Network

A Young Professionals Network event at Schroders in July 2019

Find out more about the YPN Network

Our Young Professionals Network (YPN), set up to support our younger practitioners (normally under 35 years old) went from strength to strength in its second year. We provide a suite of learning and content to ensure YPN members have access to new tools to help them propel their career forward. In 2019, this centred around an events programme offering topics such as personal branding, negotiating,entrepreneurialism and wellbeing. These face-to-face events were hosted all over the UK, expanding on the programme held in London in 2018.

Our dedicated YPN microsite (cisi.org/ypn) hosts content curated for young professionals, selected from all our channels. This includes modules within our Professional Refresher elearning platform in MyCISI, interviews with exam achievers in The Review and in press releases, and with experts from across our professional forums. Since January 2020 we have a new Young Professionals Committee, chaired by Emma Dobson MCSI, compliance officer from Lombard Odier, who will ensure we continue to support our young professionals.

The Review

Covers of our quarterly magazine, The Review

View the Review
We produce four editions of our members’ magazine per year and publish up to 13 new articles per month on The Review online platform. Articles and features are selected by our Editorial Panel, comprising 20 financial services practitioners covering all ten of the professional areas that the CISI represents. The panel, expertly chaired by Claire Perryman, Chartered MCSI, managing director at State Street and also a CISI Board member, meets up to eight times per year to help guide the editorial team, our publisher, Wardour Communications, and Review editor, Jane Playdon, to deliver this portfolio of content. Themes for the special reports in 2019 were social mobility, digital skills, mental health, and pensions.

CISI TV and podcasts

Our CISI TV platform, accessible through the membership MyCISI portal, is a jewel in our online offering. In 2019 we added over 172 new videos to contribute to the learning and CPD for members. This content has been generated from live event recordings, interviews conducted for The Review magazine, bespoke features and interviews commissioned by our professional forums, international and regional branches, and promotional videos from our Marketing and Communications team. All of the videos are now tagged by the most relevant topic and our members can personalise their MyCISI dashboards to see the areas most relevant to them.

Highlights of the year include over 20 interviews filmed with practitioners around the world to contribute to our 2020 brand campaign #beaprofessional, bespoke CISI introduction videos for each of our international regions, and interviews with senior practitioners in financial services for the launch of our mental health portal. We also refreshed the branding of all our public facing videos on our YouTube channel and have grown that platform to just under 3,000 subscribers. And we launched our very first podcasts on CISI TV in 2019, which were closely followed by new dedicated podcast channels on Spotify, iTunes and Stitcher.

Mental health and wellbeing

Following our extensive research at the start of 2019 on mental health in financial services, which was reported by the BBC, we took the results of that and what our members told us in the 2019 member survey and created a dedicated microsite and campaign for promoting wellbeing across the sector. The campaign, titled `Start a conversation’, was launched on Mental Health Awareness Day in October 2019.

The new website contains inspiring interviews with senior figures in the financial services sector talking about their personal challenges with mental health. It also features content for managers on how to recognise signs of anxiety and depression in their team members and what to do, as well as signposting readers to tools, apps and sites that provide further guidance on looking after their mental health. This content is free to all practitioners around the world, so please do have a look at cisi.org/startaconversion.
Start a conversation
We are proud to have sent our Executive Team and key managers on mental health awareness training in 2019 and we have two qualified mental health first aiders on our staff too.

Being a CISI member has helped me to maintain a high level of professionalism. It has provided me with the tools to deliver financial analysis projects to high standards. Now I have the confidence to discuss solutions with government representatives, high-net-worth clients, and investment banks around the world.

Dr Joe Appiah-Kusi, FCSI
Director, London City Accountants
Watch Joe's full interview
I first came across the CISI as a university student when I was searching for professional qualifications that would boost my career prospects. The CISI is important to me because it’s opened me up to so much in the world of financial operations. If you are considering pursuing the CISI examinations, you should do it because of the great value added to your skills across a wide range of sectors. End consumers require professionals and the CISI delivers professionals.

Elena Thomas,
ACSI Data science analyst, EY, India
Watch Elena's full interview

Our Board of Trustees for 2019/20

Chris Allen MCSI, Head of Global Private Banking EMEA, HSBC Bank Plc - F

Fionnuala Carvill, Chartered FCSI, Non-Executive Director, Investec Bank (CI) - I,J

Richard Charnock, Chartered FCSI, Chief Executive, Chief Executive, Aberdeen Standard Capital - E

Debbie Clarke, Chartered MCSI, Director, New Clarke Ventures - A,D

Michael Cole-Fontayn MCSI, Chair, CISI - A,E,F,H,I,J

Danny Corrigan MCSI Chief executive, London Reporting House - F

Tracey Davidson, Chartered MCSI Deputy CEO,Handelsbanken;Chair, Heartwood Wealth Management - E

Petros Florides, Chartered FCSI Senior regional governance adviser, World Vision International (Cyprus)

Philippa Foster Back CBE*, Director, Institute of Business Ethics - E

Clair Mills Chief operating officer, Prudential Regulation Authority

Claire Perryman, Chartered MCSI, Head of SPDR UK, State Street Global Advisors - B,G

Puranam Ravikuma FCSI(Hon), Independent Non-Executive Director, Financial Services Sector (India)

Alan Ramsay FCSI(Hon), Deputy Chair, CISI and Director, International Property Securities Exchange - A,I,J

Martin Ruskin CFP™, Chartered MCSI, Head of Business Development, Paradigm Norton Financial Planning

Clive Shelton, Chartered FCSI. - A,D

Nick Swales DL Chartered FCSI Regional director, Rathbone Investment Management - C,G,H

Becky Taylor CFP™ Chartered FCSI, Managing Director, Aurea Financial Planning - H,I,J
The Trustees served on the following committees: A Audit Committee B Editorial Panel C Educational Trust D Examinations Board E Integrity & Ethics Committee F International Committee G Investment Committee H Membership Committee I Nomination Committee J Remuneration Committee The Trustees, all of whom are non-executive, are elected by the members (except for co-optees who are appointed by the Board) at the Annual General Meeting for a term of office of three years. None of the Trustees had any interest in the company or its subsidiaries. Appointed Tracey Davidson, Chartered FCSI 10 October 2019 Petros Florides, Chartered FCSI 10 October 2019 Clair Mills * 10 October 2019 Jon Walker, Chartered FCSI 10 October 2019 Resigned Joanna Place * 10 October 2019 Gary Teper, Chartered MCSI 10 October 2019 Andrew Westenberger MCSI 10 October 2019 * denotes a co-opted Trustee
* denotes a co-opted Trustee
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The Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI) is a global professional body, headquartered in London, with a strong UK base and wide international reach. Its 180 staff are spread over eight offices and governed by a Board of Trustees.

Annual Report 2019/20