Ninety-seven top CISI exam performers from around the world recognised at CISI’s annual awards

by Lora Benson | Apr 18, 2016

The CISI’s 23rd annual awards ceremony, held at the Mansion House in London, celebrated the achievements of the CISI’s exam candidates globally. Top performers from over 40,000 CISI exams taken in 80 countries were recognised for their outstanding exam success, with prizes being awarded in 58 categories, covering capital markets and corporate finance, operations, compliance and risk, wealth management, financial planning and Islamic finance.

Overseas winners totalled 20, from Cyprus, India, Indonesia, Italy, Malaysia, Malta, Myanmar, Oman, Poland, Republic of Ireland, Spain and the UAE, with Italy, Myanmar and Malta featuring for the first time.

The firms with the highest amount of winners were Barclays (five prizes won by four individuals), HSBC (four prizes won by four individuals), Fidelity (three prizes won by two individuals).

Of the 97 winners, 68% are male and 32% female.

RBC Wealth Management was principal sponsor of the awards ceremony. 

Overseas award winners

Daniel Owczarczak from Poland is one of four winners of the Collective Investment Schemes Administration unit, a unit of the level 3 Investment Operations Certificate(IOC). His role as Senior Fund Accounting Manager at BNY Mellon falls within the scope of training and competency (T&C) rules, so he was enrolled to the firm’s T&C scheme. He said: “IOC exams are BNYM’s qualification of choice that helps to achieve T&C compliant status.”

George Demosthenous from Cyprus is one of two winners of the Corporate Finance Techniques & Theory diploma, which forms the first unit of the level 6 ICAEW/CISI Diploma in Corporate Finance. George, a Senior Manager at KPMG Cyprus, said: “I thought that obtaining the Diploma in Corporate Finance qualification would significantly improve my skills and competences in the area of corporate finance. Obviously this gave me the chance to be involved in more corporate finance engagements in my current job role, obtaining more experience in this area. I was able to apply the theory in actual situations and transactions and see how everything is put into practice.”

UK award winners

London and regions: London produced the majority of the winners, but the South Coast and East Anglia also featured prominently, yielding four and three respectively. Other regions represented were Birmingham & West Midlands, Bristol & Bath, Central, East Midlands & Lincoln, Jersey, Liverpool, Chester & North Wales, Scotland and the South East.

Georgia Sherman MCSI, a Channel Marketing Executive at Quilter Cheviot in London, obtained the highest mark for the CISI’s highest-level qualification, the Chartered Wealth Manager Qualification (CWM – level 7)). She said: “The CWM opens the door to a career in the wealth management industry, and the knowledge gained from the qualification can be applied to a plethora of roles. Having not studied economics or finance at university, the CWM improved my understanding of financial markets and provided me with a range of skills that I will continue to use in my current role and in future roles.”*

James Cooper, a Corporate Finance Manager at Lovewell Blake in East Anglia, is the overall winner of the Diploma in Corporate Finance (level 6), and also the winner of the Corporate Finance Strategy & Advice unit – the final unit within the Diploma. He said: “I wanted to gain a better understanding of the theory behind corporate finance. The partners at Lovewell Blake were also supportive of my undertaking the Diploma via the study route, so that we could promote this to future members of the team. I believe that having this qualification adds credibility when advising clients on CF related matters.”**

Multiple award winners

Andreas Maximilian Niederle from Perella Weinberg Partners in London (OverallCertificate in Corporate Finance (level 4) and Corporate Finance Technical Foundations).

James Cooper (Corporate Finance Strategy & Advice and Diploma in Corporate Finance winner (level 6)).

Lisa Fox from Fidelity Investments in the South East (Overall Investment Operations Certificate (IOC – level 3) and one of the Introduction to Securities & Investment winners).

Lisa said: “The IOC exams are a superb introduction to the industry as a whole, and an invaluable tool in learning the key elements and regulation. The qualifications have provided a solid foundation on which I can build my knowledge of the financial services industry and progress within my career at Fidelity.”

Gareth Hodson MCSI from EFG Harris Allday in Birmingham (Global Operations Management and Diploma in Investment Operations (level 6).***

Gareth said: “CISI exams are widely recognised throughout the industry and I have always been determined to expand my knowledge with pertinent qualifications. The Global Operations Management (GOM) paper was the final exam I needed to pass in order to complete the Diploma in Investment Operations. I enjoyed the fact that this paper took a very high-level view over a broad number of topics and themes.”

Sebastian Ion MCSI from Barclays in London (one of the joint winners of Regulation & Compliance (level 6), and sole winner of Diploma in Investment Compliance (level 6)).

Tobias Herbert-Caesari from Coutts in London (Overall Investment Advice Diploma(level 4) and one of the Securities (Investment Advice Diploma) winners).

New awards and their respective winners

Educational Trust Awards: Emma Jackson (undergraduate), Alexander Sholarin and Comfort Tomisin Aliu (postgraduate) 
The Educational Trust, an education charity established and funded by the CISI, uses its funds to support educational initiatives. The awards celebrate achievement amongst students studying CISI-accredited courses around the UK, at both undergraduate and postgraduate level.

18 students were nominated by their university on the basis of excellence in an item of work or examination, and the final three winners were identified following an intensive interview process.

Two Educational Trust Award winners attended the ceremony. They are Alexander Sholarin and Comfort Tomisin Aliu,

Derivative Operations (level 3 – formerly Exchange Traded Derivatives and OTC Derivatives): Olayinka Lawson, Operations Analyst at Nomura International in London
Olayinka said: “I chose to take a CISI qualification because I knew that it would help my career. By completing the Investment Operations Certificate I was able to increase my understanding of the financial services industry and to gain a qualification that would help me stand out from my peers.

Managing Operational Risk in Financial Institutions (level 4): Marion Zimmer, Chartered MCSI, Compliance Manager at Fitch Ratings in London; and Steven Wyles ACSI, Head of Audit – Sales & Operations at Santander in London
Steven said that he took the qualification because “It is a recognised qualification with a strong reputation” that has provided flexibility for him to study at home and at his own pace.

International Certificate in Advanced Wealth Management (level 5): Matteo Palotta ACSI, founder of Wherefor in Milan; and Elvis Antobam 
Matteo (from Italy) said that after beginning his studies in finance, he decided that he wanted to specialise in wealth management. However, he found “that financial curriculae in universities tended to lack structured programs on the matter (especially outside the UK).”

* Read more about Georgia in CISI’s ‘Back story’ in the June print edition of the Securities & Investment Review
** Read more about James Cooper in CISI’s 60-second interview in Securities & Investment Review
***Read more about Gareth Hodson in CISI’s ‘60-second interview’ in the June print edition of the Securities & Investment Review