CISI to offer benchmark financial literacy qualification for Philippine colleges and universities

By Lora Benson | Jan 14, 2016

The Philippine Commission on Higher Education (CHED) has officially recognised the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI) as a provider of financial literacy courses and exams to be taught in potentially hundreds of colleges and universities throughout the Philippines.

The project is announced this week during the visit to Manila by the CISI CEO Simon Culhane Chartered FCSI for the official opening of the CISI’s Philippines office.

The CISI’s Fundamentals of Financial Services qualification will be initially offered to select  Philippine universities and colleges and a Train The Trainer programme is underway to instruct teachers to teach for the syllabus and exam, in collaboration with the Finance Educators Association and Eastwest Educational Specialists, Inc.

Ken McGowan, CISI Regional Director in Asia, said: “With a literacy rate of 97.5%, far higher than some of its Asian peers, the Philippines is an ideal location for the Institute to make strides in its charitable goals – particularly that of improving financial literacy. Our qualifications at the foundation level are very relevant to schools and colleges in the Philippines and our newly appointed Country President, Anton Mauricio, is the founder of the local Financial Educators Association (Fin.Ed.).”

The CISI exam, which has also been studied by 5,000 students across Sri Lanka, will be taught over the course of a semester, following which students will take a computer based test, receiving their results instantly. CISI is currently collaborating with CHED’s technical panel for business and management in order to roll out this plan by 2016.

Simon Culhane, Chartered FCSI and CISI CEO said: “Our work in the education sector has been achieved with the support of both the British Embassy in Manila and with Alderman Sir Alan Yarrow, CISI Chairman and Lord Mayor last year, when he led a trade mission in Manila.”

A CISI initiative also achieved as part of the trade mission is that of the deal struck with the Philippines Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to share CISI’s global expertise in the areas of continuing learning and qualifications training.

While in Manila Mr Culhane will be running a CISI Integrity At Work seminar for 30 top financial executives at the Peninsula Manila as part of CISI Philippines’ Financial Integrity Initiative. CISI will partner with major business and finance groups in the country for this effort.

The Integrity At Work presentation, delivered by CISI in 15 global locations to date in English, Spanish and French, is an interactive session where participants can supply their live responses to case studies via electronic voting devices. The case studies are based on real-life integrity dilemmas as provided by CISI’s practitioner members.

Mr Culhane said: “Integrity and ethics are critical foundations in the building of a successful global financial services industry. We are keen to support this growing sector within the Philippines and meet the need for financial literacy education and for qualified professionals.”

CISI’s CEO will also address 5,000 finance students at the National Finance Summit at the SMX Convention Center at the Mall of Asia. Separately, Mr Culhane will also be the keynote speaker at the annual conference of the Finance Educators Association at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, which will be attended by finance teachers from all over the country.

“With the introduction of the Republic Act 1061, allowing full entry of foreign banks in the Philippines, approved in July 2014 and which scrapped limits on foreign ownership, the Philippine market is now fully open to foreign investment.

“That has got to be an incentive for foreign investors looking for opportunities to complement the business processing outsourcing sector (BPO). The Philippines BPO sector has been ranked no 3 in the 2014 world top 5 outsourcing destinations, accounting for 10% of the Philippines GDP by 2016 amounting to around $25bn and employing about 1.3 million people. Opportunities exist outside BPO in an ever expanding banking sector and we are keen to support the professionalism which is integral to growing and maintaining this expansion.

“Last year the global CISI award winner for the highest score in the CISI Operational Risk exam was an employee at the HSBC electronic data processing facility in Manila and we look forward to further outstanding results from Philippine candidates,” said Mr Culhane.