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imaxxAcademy - Industry Courses for Individual Investors

Courses for Individual Investors

Learning more about financial markets and how they work is something that interests us all. The first step is to take the time to keep current - simply read the paper each and every day. Add on to this some structured reading or course work and you are well on the way to becoming an expert!

If you are interested in learning more about financial markets, it's probably best to start with your advisor. At some point they would have been in the same position and likely have hundreds of hours of study behind them. They are sure to be able to point you in the right direction.

To help you get started, we have assembled a small sampling of some of the courses that are available to you through a variety of educational providers. The associations supporting the insurance, brokerage, banking, and mutual fund industries are the CSI, ICB, and IFIC, respectively. Each organization provides a broad range of courses related to financial planning and investments, many of which are available to the investing public.

This list is provided for general information purposes only. Further information regarding these and other courses can be obtained from each organization's respective Internet site.

Canadian Securities Institute (www.csi.ca) offers numerous courses targeted to individual investors and those interested in a career as an investment advisor in the brokerage industry. Courses include:

  • Canadian Securities Course - covers the basics of investing and is designed to enhance students' understanding of investment principles to allow them to become more knowledgeable investors. Topics include: understanding fixed-income products, equities, investment funds and derivatives; analysing securities and the factors affecting their prices; and how the capital markets and financial services industry work.
  • Investment Management Techniques - builds upon the knowledge gained from the CSC and introduces concepts to measure and evaluate portfolio performance. In addition, it reviews the investment styles and various approaches to asset allocation and the assessment of risk and return.
  • Derivatives Fundamentals Course™ - explains the many features common to all derivatives and then elaborates on the specific features of various instruments used in today's global business environment. The DFC also spotlights important operational considerations that must be observed if a derivatives risk management program is to provide benefits with limited risk.

Institute of Canadian Bankers (www.icb.ca) offers a broad range of courses and seminars for banking and financial professionals, including:

  • Professional Banking Program - covers numerous topics including bank financial management, financial services marketing, and global financial systems and markets.
  • Financial Planning Integration Activity and the Personal Financial Planning Program - review topics such as risk management, estate planning, investments, tax planning, and wealth valuation.
  • Branch Compliance Officer Course - examines supervision of mutual fund sales representatives, the client service process, product suitability, internal controls, and procedures.

Investment Funds Institute of Canada (www.ific.ca) offers many courses related to investment funds and financial planning, including:

  • Canadian Investment Funds Course - the licensing requirement for mutual funds salespersons in each Canadian province. It is a hands-on course involving case studies, emphasizing real-life issues and challenges relating to mutual fund sales and individual compliance. Course topics include: duties and obligations of a salesperson; economic and financial environments; basics of mutual funds in Canada; administration of mutual funds; role of the portfolio manager; taxation of investment income; pensions and retirement income; and competitive products.
  • Canadian Institute of Financial Planning - offers a six-part program that leads to the exam that is part of the requirement for the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation. Topics include financial planning principles, retirement planning, income tax planning, strategic investment planning, risk management, and estate planning.
  • Canadian Investment Funds Operations Course - reviews the essential administrative and operational procedures that must occur for an investor to purchase or redeem mutual funds in Canada. This course is targeted to those interested will give you the competitive advantage for obtaining an entry-level position in the mutual fund industry.

Professional Designations

There are numerous professional designations used in the financial services industry. Some of the more popular designations are listed below with the related web address where you can obtain more information.

  • Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP) designation: the Financial Planners Standards Council (www.cfp-ca.org).
  • Certified General Accountant (CGA) designation: CGA Canada (www.cga-canada.org)
  • Certified Management Accountant (CMA) designation: the Society of Management Accountants of Canada (http://cpacanada.ca)
  • Chartered Accountant (CA) designation: the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (http://cpacanada.ca)
  • Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation: The Global Association of Investment Professionals (www.cfainstitute.org).