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CISI – The beauty of a modular qualification system

Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment – The Beauty of a Modular Qualification System

Many professional bodies offer a limited set of qualifications in a limited set of subjects. By using the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI) qualifications there are a wide range of options and routes available; furthermore, it is possible to use the same module for multiple qualifications at the same level or building on lower level modules to achieve higher level qualifications.

Level 3 – Operations, Compliance & Risk

Level 3 is broadly equivalent to A-levels in the United Kingdom, and in fact many of these qualifications are regulated by Ofqual (the UK Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation) at that level. Many of these qualifications are recognised or supported by other institutions and in some cases these meet regulatory requirements in various jurisdictions.

Let’s take a common qualification – the Investment Operations Certificate (IOC). The IOC is comprised of three modules, typically firms that are regulated in the UK by the FCA will require:

Introduction to Securities & Investment
UK Financial Regulation
A relevant technical module

Any three modules within the programme can be linked to complete the qualification.

Let’s assume that a student has decided on their modular progress and has started by passing the Introduction to Securities & Investment – they have already achieved the Level 3 Award for Introduction to Investment.

Next, they decide to take a technical module – in this case they are in an anti-money laundering role and decide to take Combating Financial Crime – they have now achieved the Level 3 Award in Combating Financial Crime. At this stage, they have also achieved a qualification that allows them to apply to become and Associate of the CISI (designation: ACSI).

Finally, they the student takes UK Financial Regulation – this combines with the previous modules to complete two further qualifications:

  • Level 3 Certificate in Combating Financial Crime (combining with Combating Financial Crime)
  • Level 3 Investment Operations Certificate (combining with both other modules)

Four qualifications achieved from taking three modules – quite impressive.

Our student is not quite finished yet – they then decide that since they have an interest in Cyber Crime they want to take a further module – Managing Cyber Security… in addition to the previously listed qualifications they have now achieved a further four:

  • Level 3 Award in Managing Cyber Security (this module alone)
  • Level 3 Certificate in Managing Cyber Security (combined with UK Financial Regulation)
  • Level 3 Certificate in the Prevention of Financial and Cyber Crime (combined with Combating Financial Crime)
  • Extended Certificate in Investment Operations (combined with the Investment Operations Certificate)

Eight qualification from four modules!

The UK Financial Regulation module is also one of the two modules necessary to complete any of the certificates in the Capital Markets Programme.

Building on Level 3 – Operations

Taking either the Global Securities Operations or Operational Risk modules at level 3 can also lead to higher level CISI qualifications.

  • Global Securities Operations (Level 3) + Advanced Global Securities Operations (Level 5) = Advanced Certificate in Global Securities Operations (Level 5 qualification)
  • Global Securities Operations (Level 3) + Advanced Global Securities Operations (Level 5) + Global Operations Management (Level 6) = Diploma in Investment Operations (Level 6 qualification)
  • Operational Risk (Level 3) + Managing Operational Risk in Financial Institutions (Level 4 standalone qualification) + Global Operations Management (Level 6) = Diploma in Investment Operations (Level 6 qualification)

Building on Level 3 – Compliance

Any one of the Combating Financial Crime, Global Financial Compliance or Risk if Financial Services level 3 modules can be combined with the Level 4 UK Regulation & Professional Integrity* and the Level 6 Regulation & Compliance to achieve the Diploma in Investment Compliance (Level 6 qualification).

*Also, one of the three modules required to complete the Investment Advice Diploma

Building on Level 3 – Capital Markets

The Level 3 Securities module can be combined with the Level 6 Financial Markets** plus one of the following Level 6 modules to complete the Diploma in Capital Markets (Level 6 qualification):

  • Bond & Fixed Interest Markets
  • Financial Derivatives
  • Fund Management

**Also, one of the three modules required to complete the Chartered Wealth Manager qualification


The CISI qualification quite does not cover every role in financial services, however it offers a broad range of opportunities for those in the industry. The modular route means interim achievement points are achieved as qualifications and lower-level modules can be built on to progress in the qualification structure. There may not be something for everybody, but there is something for most people.

Midshore Consulting are pleased to be offering training for CISI modules and will expand our range of courses to suit the needs of industry. We are available to discuss training requirements or assist in building a training programme to meet the ongoing needs of any company. Our courses are available for in-house delivery at the premises of our clients as well as at our own bespoke training facility.

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