When it comes to the stock market in India, there are two ways one can gain the knowledge needed to be successful in it – either learn professionally or do self-learning and combine it with experience.
When it comes to professional learning, one of the most efficient certifications are the NISM certifications. Through this blog, we will look at the features and benefits of taking the NISM certification exams, and what lies ahead for its candidates in terms of job opportunities.
What is NISM?
The National Institute of Securities Market or NISM was set up as a trust by SEBI in 2006 to provide financial education.
Among the various courses offered are the certificate courses offered by its School for Certification of Intermediaries (SCI). While these are mainly for intermediaries currently engaged in the stock market, to help them get certifications, one can choose these courses to enhance their existing knowledge of the financial sector.
NISM certifications can also be used as a stepping stone to begin working in the stock market as an intermediary, or a trader or investor as well.
Framework of Certifications offered:
NISM has divided its certification exams into 19 “series” or modules, along with some additional exams. While most of these are mandatory for professionals looking to work at SEBI and as intermediaries in the market, some of them are voluntary, with the aim to update learners with the latest on how the various segments of the stock market work.
Each exam caters to a specific segment of the stock market, and taking it will help a professional or a learner equip themselves with the knowledge they need to dabble in that segment. However, there is no prior eligibility criteria to follow before taking these exams.
These exams are available throughout the year. One can schedule their exam thirty days before they wish to take it. If the exam is passed, the exam-taker can get their certification in the next fifteen days.
NISM certifications have a validity of three years, following which one can take a one-day re-validation “Continuing Professional Education (CPE)” program, following which the certification will be renewed for three more years. However, NISM may dictate the re-taking of the exam, depending on the changes in the syllabus among other factors.
Which NISM certification is For You?
There are multiple subjects categorized into modules, some having one or two sub-modules within them.
A full list of subjects are available on the official website, where one can learn about the focus of the exam, and what knowledge it will equip the test-taker with.
Depending on your purpose and goal, let’s find out which module is perfect for you:
1. NISM-Series-I: Currency Derivatives Certification Examination:
This exam is for those learners who wish to develop a base of knowledge in the basics of currency markets and specifically Exchange Traded Currency Derivatives markets.
Meant For – Currency Derivatives Traders, Career in Forex and International Trade related activities.
2. NISM-Series-II: Registrars to an Issue and Share Transfer Agents Certificate Examination:
This exam is for those who wish to work with Registrars and Transfer Agents (RTA) firms, or start an RTA business.
The exam is divided into two sub-modules – corporate transfer agents and mutual fund transfer agents, both are mandatory to pass this series.
Meant For – Those who wish to pursue a career working for R&T agents such as CAMS, Karvy etc.
3. NISM-Series-III: Securities Intermediaries Compliance Certificate Examination:
This exam is meant to create a minimum knowledge benchmark for those people engaged in the business of –
- Stock Brokers,
- Depository Participants,
- Merchant Bankers,
- Bankers to the Issue,
- Debenture Trustees, and
- Credit Rating Agencies.
While Exam III-A is compulsory as it deals with non-fund compliance for intermediaries, the Exam III-B is voluntary, and it aims to help learners understand the compliances required to be adhered to by those working as compliance officers.
4. NISM-Series-IV: Interest Rate Derivatives Certification Examination:
This exam is for those who wish to work in the stock market segment dealing in interest rate derivatives and fixed income securities.
As per SEBI guidelines, all those who are engaged in the sales of interest rate derivatives in the stock exchanges have to hold this certification mandatorily.
Meant For – Traders of Fixed Income Securities such as bonds and government securities. Career in the Debt Markets.
5. NISM-Series-V: Mutual-Funds-Related Certification Examination:
This set of exams is necessary for those who want to work in the mutual fund industry, engaged as distributors, agents, etc.
There are three sub-modules –
- V-A: Mutual Fund Distributors Certification Examination – for those looking to become mutual fund industry employees;
- V-B: Mutual Fund Foundation Certification Examination – for those engaged in selling and distributing schemes for postal agents and retired government and semi-government officials;
- V-C: Mutual Fund Distributors (Level 2) Certification Examination – this is a voluntary exam for those who work in the mutual fund industry and want advanced knowledge.
Meant For – Mutual Fund Agents and Distributors. Those who wish to pursue a career in the mutual fund’s industry.
6. NISM Series VI: Depository Operations Certification Examination:
This exam, as per SEBI guidelines, is for those who are engaged in working with the depository participants (DPs) of India’s stock exchanges.
Meant For – Any person engaged in any work related to the DPs has to mandatorily have this certification.
7. NISM-Series-VII: Securities Operations and Risk Management Certification Examination:
This exam helps learners develop a base of knowledge of the stock exchange and its products.
Meant For – It is a mandatory requirement for anyone working with stock brokerage, clearing and settlement, etc., to take this certification exam.
8. NISM-Series-VIII: Equity Derivatives Certification Examination:
This certification is mandatorily for those who work as personnel in firms operating in the equity derivatives segment of the market.
It aims to provide basic knowledge of the segment and help learners equip themselves with the knowledge they will need to form the right strategies to earn in this segment.
Meant For – Career in stock trading related activities such as technical analyst, Prop-desk jobs and derivatives trader.
9. NISM Series-IX: Merchant Banking Certification Examination:
This exam is for those who are engaged in the merchant banking segment, and assist the launch of IPOs, open offers, buy backs, etc.
Meant For – Anyone working in the merchant banking domain to take this exam.
10. NISM-Series-X: Investment Adviser Certification Examination:
This exam is for those engaged in investment advisory, and has two mandatory levels to pass before one can hold this certification.
This is a two part exam with a focus on the basics of planning to assist advisory, asset allocation, and an understanding of the financial market to help learners assist their clients in investment decisions.
Meant For – Those who wish to become Financial Planners & Advisors.
11. NISM Series-XII: Securities Markets Foundation Certification Examination:
This voluntary exam is built for entry-level personnel who wish to make a career in the stock market.
It can also be taken by students, homemakers, and non-stock market participants to assist them with their personal trading and investing journey.
Meant For – Beginners in the financial markets. It is the building foundation for anyone who has no idea about finance but wishes to start a career in it.
12. NISM-Series-XIII: Common Derivatives Certification Examination:
This exam is built for those who plan to be engaged in the derivatives segment of the Indian stock exchanges.
It covers the basic knowledge pertaining to the products under the equity Derivatives, Currency Derivatives and Interest Rate Derivatives segment.
Meant For – This is a beginner course for those looking to start a career in Derivatives.
13. NISM Series-XIV: Internal Auditors for Stock Brokers Certification Examination:
This is a voluntary exam for auditors, CAs, Company secretaries, and others engaged in internal auditing in the various firms of the stock market.
14. NISM-Series-XV: Research Analyst Certification Examination:
This is a mandatory examination for those looking to join the financial sector as research analysts.
Its passing will equip learners with the basics of fundamental analysis, and the working of all segments of the stock market in India.
Meant For – Those looking to get involved in equity research oriented fields such as equity analysts, mutual fund’s industry,financial advisor etc.
15. NISM-Series-XVI: Commodity Derivatives Certification Examination:
This mandatory exam explores all the rules, regulations and the various products available under the commodity derivatives segment.
16. NISM-Series-XVII: Retirement Adviser Certification Examination:
This exam is for those who wish to work in the stock market, pertaining to retirement advisory and planning services, as a retirement adviser registered under PFRDA (Retirement Adviser) Regulations, 2016.
17. NISM-Series-XVIII: Financial Education Certification Examination:
This voluntary exam is made for those who wish to assess the current state of their financial literacy.
It tests on the basics of financial planning and literacy, and its practical aspects.
18. NISM Series XIX-A: Alternative Investment Funds (Category I and II) Distributors:
This voluntary exam is created to equip learners with the knowledge and skills related to working in the alternative investment segment of the market.
Benefits of taking the NISM certification exams:
- The examinations can be taken by anyone, irrespective of their academic background or job. One can easily begin a career in the stock market with these certifications.
- These exams can be taken anytime, all year round, thus proving to be flexible and self paced.
- The exams and the institution is backed by SEBI, which is why it is recognized across all of the Indian financial institutions.
- The NISM institute itself provides test takers with ample material to help them prepare and pass the exam.
- These certificates are an excellent value addition to a resume. They can equip a test-taker for personal investing and trading, and for possible jobs in the fields of capital management, wealth management, economics, etc.
- Compared to many other finance professional courses, NISM courses are cheaper in price. Registration fees doesn’t exceed the range of ₹1500 – ₹3000.
How to choose the right NISM certificate?
The answer to this question is dependent on the goals of the test-taker.
If one is looking to begin a career path in the stock market with these courses, they can easily start off as a mutual fund selling agent or an Equity Dealer with NISM modules.
For example, NISM Series V-A is the Mutual fund distributors certification examination, which is mandatory for anyone who wants to take a step in their career that will involve the selling and distribution of mutual funds.
However, one can prepare for higher and more complex roles in the financial sector by choosing NISM courses in combination with other professional courses to get an edge of knowledge in the market. These courses include an MBA in Finance, CFA, etc.
As we have seen throughout this post, NISM offers a vast expanse of exams, each of which can help one learn about every aspect of the market, and build their stock market career path accordingly.
NISM certifications are an essential stepping stone to a successful career in the markets, with various benefits to offer.