CSI launches resources for financial services professionals

Sep 27, 2011, 08:00 ET from CSI Global Education Inc.

Clarifies designations and learning paths; raises the bar in professionalization of advice to serve complex, diverse investor needs 

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TORONTO, Sept. 27, 2011 /PRNewswire/ - CSI Global Education Inc. (CSI), a global leader in financial services education and credentialing, launched several tools and resources to help Canada's financial services professionals make intelligent choices about professional development and credentials and raise the bar towards the professionalization of financial advice. Designed to support advisors and other financial services professionals, as well as decision-makers in financial institutions across Canada, these resources help build the financial advice profession to meet the complex and diverse needs of Canadian investors.

New resources and enhancements to CSI's education and credentialing offerings include:

  • A new Financial Services Career Map - an easy-to-navigate, interactive tool that allows users to search and explore multiple career options and learn about the different roles, opportunities and credentials available in the financial services industry.
  • The upgraded Chartered Investment Manager® (CIM®) designation, formerly known as the Canadian Investment Manager.
  • The upgraded Fellow of CSI® (FCSI®) credential awarded to financial services professionals who attain advanced levels of education, experience and leadership and demonstrate a special commitment to bettering the financial services industry.
  • A new Workforce Training Solutions division that offers customized and integrated education and credentials to meet the unique training needs of Canada's financial institutions.
  • Iconography for designations and certificates that provides a visual representation of the financial services certificates and designation paths.

In addition, CSI has created a series of 11 course bundles, launching in October, that will help professionals move closer towards achieving their PFP®, CIM®, CSWP® and CFP® designations.  The strategically packaged courses are offered at a lower price and provide financial professionals with even more convenience and options.

"The financial services industry, shaped by complex and diverse consumer needs, is fast evolving and increasingly defined by the professionalization trend," says Dr. Roberta Wilton, President & CEO, CSI Global Education Inc. "This new landscape, with heightened expectations in regard to advisor knowledge, practice and ethical standards, creates new opportunities for those willing to build fulfilling financial services careers. There are specialized financial advice designations designed to meet the diverse and complex needs of Canadian investors, along with a range of resources to help financial services professionals and their employers make intelligent education choices."

The enhanced CIM® designation and FCSI® credential
Best-in-class financial education programs are based on international best practices in professional education and credentialing. These include a clear focus, high proficiency standards, quality course content, relevant work experience and assessment testing requirements, as well as mechanisms that ensure credential holders maintain their good standing.

Building on international best practices, coupled with its more than 40 years as a pivotal influencer in building the proficiency and competency regime that has shaped the reputation of Canada's financial services industry around the world, CSI has upgraded its CIM® and FCSI® programs, enhancing their value and credibility.

Formerly known as the Canadian Investment Manager, the new CIM® designation, re-named as Chartered Investment Manager, requires two years of work experience, adherence to the CIM® Code of Ethics and compliance with ongoing continuing education requirements over a three-year cycle. Reinforcing rigorous professional standards, the enhanced CIM® will further increase the credibility and accountability of advisors.

The upgraded Fellow of CSI (FCSI®), the pinnacle credential that demonstrates cross-pillar financial services knowledge and experience, was re-launched on September 21. For the first time in FCSI®'s 35-year history, CSI will allow non-CSI designation holders who meet all of the Fellow's stringent requirements to apply for this credential. In keeping with fellowship standards across a variety of industries, a Fellow of CSI® now must also possess at least seven years of experience - or two years more than was previously required. In addition, new Fellows are expected to meet an ongoing industry contribution requirement, in the form of volunteer work, solidifying their commitment to bettering their communities and the financial services industry.

The professionalization of financial advice
CSI's new resources and enhancements are part of its overall credentialing strategy designed to facilitate the integrity of capital markets and move towards the professionalization of financial advice. Canada's designations landscape has been defined by a number of social, economic and demographic factors, and, more and more, specialized designations are meeting the increasingly complex and diverse needs of Canada's investors.

  • Investor needs are becoming increasingly complex and diverse, influenced by such factors as culture, lifestyle, family structures, wealth levels, and a greater propensity to save for future financial needs other than retirement. There is also a growing number of small business owners, which often lends an added layer of complexity to a client's financial situation.
  • The financial services landscape is becoming more complex and rapidly evolving. Combined with a proliferation of new products for investors, which advisors are expected to know and understand, there is also a shift from transaction-based to advice-based relationships. The recent turmoil in financial markets spawns greater risk and less trust towards markets and advisors.
  • With industry and investor expectations growing, all within an environment of greater risk, advisors are increasingly expected to have a deeper and broader knowledge of their clients, as well as product and market dynamics, while assuming a more professional, holistic and consultative approach to managing client assets.
  • Increased investor and industry complexity and expectations are spurring many advisors to go above and beyond the already rigorous regulatory requirements and upgrade their education and credentials, to ensure they can continue to meet growing client needs. While these credentials help advisors to differentiate themselves in a competitive financial services environment, they also help investors have greater confidence in their advisors' knowledge and skills.

"The professionalization movement is about raising the bar of professional standards, in many cases going beyond regulatory requirements," says Dr. Wilton. "It's also about demonstrating one has the credentials necessary to meet increasingly complex consumer needs. Embracing this trend, financial advisors see themselves as professionals. They also expect others - most importantly, their clients - to see them in the same light."

Supporting the complex and evolving financial needs of Canadians increasingly requires specialized knowledge and skills, as well as different proficiency and competency standards to define the type and level of expertise required for many financial services roles in Canada. This is, in part, reflected in several specialized advice designations in the country's financial credentialing landscape, ranging from basic financial advice for mid-range clients to more complex integrated wealth management and financial planning for high-net-worth individuals.

Currently, CSI offers three advice designations that serve various investor profiles - the PFP®, the CSWP® and the CIM®. The company has applied for accreditation for PFP® under ISO/IEC 17024 through the American National Standards Institute (ANSI); the application has been accepted and is currently in progress.

About CSI
CSI Global Education Inc. is Canada's leading provider of financial services credentials and education. Valued for its expertise in Canada and abroad, CSI offers more than 170 courses and credentials, ranging from the well-known Canadian Securities Course (CSC®) to popular designations and credentials, such as PFP®, CIM®, CSWP® and the Fellow of CSI (FCSI®). In 2010, CSI Global Education Inc. was acquired by Moody's Corporation and operates under the CSI Global Education name as a business unit within the Moody's Analytics division. For more information, please visit www.csi.ca.

SOURCE CSI Global Education Inc.

Image with caption: "Dr. Roberta Wilton, President & CEO, CSI Global Education Inc. (CNW Group/CSI Global Education Inc.)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20110927_C6792_PHOTO_EN_3835.jpg