NISM Certification: The Guide to Kickstart Your Finance Career

Created on 29 Apr 2021

Wraps up in 5 Min

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Updated on 27 Aug 2022

Do you spend hours searching for finance courses on Udemy and Coursera? Are you worried about the value of the course in your professional life? If yes, then NISM certification courses are the best option to start your finance career.

What is NISM?

Established in 2006 by SEBI, the National Institute of Securities Markets (NISM) is a trust with a motive to make India financially literate. They do this by offering various programs and certificate courses in different fields related to finance. 

The institute is situated in Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra. But you can complete the certification courses by giving the exams in designated exam centers.

Why Choose NISM?

In today's era of technology, everything is available on the internet. That too free of cost. So, you might be wondering why to enroll in these courses? If you think so, here are some reasons why you should:

  • The exams and the institute are backed by SEBI. So, they are recognized in financial institutions all over the country.
  • The NISM certificates are very beneficial for your resume. It increases the possibility of getting a job in the finance domain if you have these certificates. 
  • The study material NISM provides is comprehensive. It helps the applicants to prepare and pass the exam without any extra reference.
  • What's more, the price of these courses is lesser as compared to other finance professional courses. Fees for a NISM certification course is between Rs 1500-3000. 
  • Also, there is no bar on anyone. You can take the exam, irrespective of the academic background. Only your curiosity and passion for this fascinating field of finance are sufficient.
  • You can take the exams anytime, at your convenience.

The Criteria of NISM Certification 

In total, there are 19 certification courses, which are mandatory for professionals to work as stock-market intermediaries. Also, some additional exams are voluntary for the candidates to gain extra knowledge. All these exams cater to different segments of the securities market.

As mentioned above, they are available throughout the year. The maximum mark is 100, and each exam has its passing marks, and most of it comes with this 25% negative marking as well. Generally, the test duration is two hours.

After passing an exam, a certificate is issued within 15 days. They are valid for three years. But, don't worry. You can renew them for three more years by retaking the exam. It is to ensure continuous learning for the candidates, as it is rightly said," The moment you stop learning is the moment you stop winning." 

List of NISM Certification Exams

After reading so far, you might be curious to know the examinations NISM conducts. Worry not. We've got you covered. Here is the complete list:

1. Series I: Currency Derivatives Certification Examination: It helps to get the basic knowledge about Currency Derivative Market. It helps in developing a career in Forex trading and International Trade. 

2. Series II: Registrar and Transfer Agents Certification Examination: It is subdivided into two modules: Corporate Transfer Agents and Mutual Fund Transfer Agents. Both of them are mandatory. It helps in developing a career in the same field. 

3. Series III: Securities Intermediate Compliance Certification Examination: It helps to get the basic knowledge about stockbrokers and sub-brokers, depository participants, merchant bankers and underwriters, and many more. So, don't forget to take the exam if you want to become any of the above. The series has a Part B exam as well, which helps to know the compliances required by compliance officers. But the exam for the same is voluntary.

4. Series IV: Interest Rates Derivatives Certification Examination: It is suitable for gaining knowledge of fixed-income securities and the interest rate derivative market. It helps to make a career in debt markets.

5. Series V: Mutual Fund Related Examination: This certification exam is apt for employees of AMCs, involved in the selling and distribution of mutual funds. It has three sub-modules. But the third module is voluntary.

6. Series VI: Depository Operations Certification Examination: It is mandatory to work in Depository Participants like NSDL and CDSL

7. Series VII: Securities Operations and Risk Management Certification Examination: It is a prerequisite to work in a stockbroker or clearing and settlement firm. 

8. Series VIII: Equity Derivatives Certification Examination: It is mandatory to work in the equity derivatives segment. If you want to pursue your career in the future and options trading, then go for it.

9. Series IX: Merchant Banking Certification Examination: It is apt to make a career in the Investment Banking domain. In case you don't know about them, merchant banks launch an IPO, buyback, and open offers.

10. Series X: Investment Adviser Certification Examination: It has two levels, and both of them are mandatory. By taking this, you will be able to advise your clients about investment decisions. E.g., Allocation of funds in different instruments.

11. Series XII: Securities Markets Foundation Certification Examination: All of us are beginners at one point or another. NISM also thinks so. That is why NISM introduced this voluntary exam for entry-level professionals in stock markets. It is a good choice if you want to learn from scratch.

12. Series XIII: Common Derivatives Certification Examination: In the previous series, there were separate exams for currency, equity, and interest rate derivatives. But this series has all of them. If you are planning to take Series I, IV, and VIII, you can pass an additional exam without any extra effort.

13. Series XIV: Internal Auditors for Stock Brokers Certification Examination: Have you ever wondered how the internal audit of brokers is conducted? Well, this exam helps in getting knowledge about the same. But this is voluntary. So, you may skip it if you are not interested.

14. Series XV: Research Analyst Certification Examination: It is mandatory to work as a research analyst in the financial sector. It will help you in doing the fundamental analysis of a company. So, take this exam if you want to invest wisely in the stock market.

15. Series XVI: Commodity Derivatives Certification Examination: Commodity Trading is an appropriate way of diversifying your portfolio. So, take this exam if you want to trade in commodity derivatives.

16. Series XVII: Retirement Adviser Certification Examination: Nowadays, it is essential to plan for retirement. Because there is no active income in old age. Attempting this exam helps you to advise people about retirement planning. It has become a lucrative career option.

17. Series XVIII: Financial Education Certification Examination: It helps you in assessing your financial literacy. But this exam is voluntary.

18. Series XIX-A: Alternative Investment Funds Distributors: These funds are like mutual funds. This exam teaches you about the same. But it is voluntary.

19. Series XXI-A: Portfolio Management Services Distributors: Do you know where the rich invest their money? This exam will make you qualified enough to manage their money.

Closing Remarks

After reading such a long list of exams, you may be confused about the course you should pursue. Go through the description of each course to get a better idea. E.g., If you want to make a career in stock markets, you should opt for Series V, VIII, and XV exams, and so on.

In the end, remember that investment in knowledge gives the best returns. So, don't hesitate to invest your money in these courses.

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Kirti Pimpalgaonkar

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The celebrity Youtuber at Finology who is ‘everything at once’, be it knowing financial concepts, making videos & reels, social media marketing, content creation or whatnot. She makes anything and everything her own and delivers the best. Kirti is often called the in-house Pranjal Kamra when it comes to making videos. Finology's very own occasional Zumba teacher whom her colleagues  love & adore.

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