There are many programs and courses available for finance professionals that can help them advance their careers. Earning a Mutual Funds licence is one of the ways of getting ahead in today’s competitive financial services landscape.
Two courses can enable financial professionals to earn their Mutual Funds Licence: the Canadian Investment Funds Course (CIFC) and the Canadian Securities Course (CSC). While these two courses often appear to be quite similar, there are important differences that prospective students need to know before making a decision.
Canadian Investment Funds Course
The CIFC is offered through the Institute of Financial Services Education (IFSE), the education arm of The Investment Funds Institute of Canada (IFIC)). The course is available at two educational institutions in BC, one being Ashton College. Designed to follow the typical process used with clients in the real world, the Canadian Investment Funds course includes studies of the following topics: regulatory environment, registrant responsibilities, suitability, economic factors and financial markets, types of investments, types of mutual funds, portfolio management, mutual fund administration, retirement, taxation and making recommendations.
Depending upon the educational institution and format chosen for study (online or in-class), the course duration will differ. At Ashton College, the 33-hours long course is delivered in-class. Successful completion of the CIFC exam meets the proficiency requirement of the provincial securities commissions for a Mutual Funds licence.
Canadian Securities Course
The Canadian Securities Course (CSC) looks at investing from a broader, more detailed perspective. The CSC is delivered through education institutions like Ashton College, while the exam is conducted through the Canadian Securities Institute (CSI). This course covers the Canadian investment marketplace, economy, investment products, the corporation, investment analysis, portfolio analysis, analysis of managed products, and working with the client.
The CSC course at Ashton College is 12-weeks long and is delivered in-class. Once the course is completed, students will be able to proceed with writing the CSC exams through CSI to apply for a Mutual Funds licence.
Similarities Between CIFC and CSC
There are certain similarities between the CIFC and CSC. Both courses:
– Lead to a Mutual Funds licence if the proficiency requirements set out by industry regulators are met.
– Look at the overall Canadian economy.
– Review ways and means to explore portfolio assessment and work directly with clients.
– Are offered through accredited educational institutions.
– Have separate proctored exams, meaning the formal exam process is not part of the course. The exams are written at a different time at a separately booked session overseen by the professional education organizations.
Differences Between CIFC and CSC
The differences between the Canadian Investment Funds course and the Canadian Securities course are as follows:
– The CSC takes a deeper dive into the Canadian investment marketplace, the market environment, various financial instruments and how these tools work within a client’s portfolio while the CIFC is focused on working primarily with mutual funds in a client’s investment portfolio and assisting the client in understanding the mutual funds environment.
– The CSC is designed for those looking to become a full-service investment advisor whereas the CIFC is for those who want to be able to provide advice on mutual funds
– Exam formats also differ. The CIFC exam is delivered on paper in a multiple-choice format over three hours with a passing grade of 60% and allows a maximum of three attempts to complete. The CSC exam is split into two separate exams that may be taken on paper or online. These exams are two hours each in duration and carry 100 multiple-choice questions. The passing grade is 60% and you’re allowed a maximum of three attempts per exam.
Those interested in adding a Mutual Funds licence to their qualification should consider their goals and determine whether they want to pursue CIFC or CSC. Because Ashton College offers both these courses, the school can provide insight into which option may be most suitable for your desired career path.