NISM Certification – A Complete Beginner’s Guide

You’re probably wondering what NISM stands for. The National Institute of Securities Markets (NISM) is a public trust established in 2006 by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), the regulator of the securities markets in India. The institute carries out a wide range of capacity-building activities at various levels aimed at enhancing the quality standards in securities markets.

NISM vision is: “To lead, catalyze and deliver educational initiatives to enhance the quality of securities markets.”

The following blog post is based on my personal experience. I am going to share with you what I have learned about NISM certification and how I can help you to achieve your goals.

A complete guide to NISM certification for beginners

Most trade students I meet today want to pursue a career in finance. Even a significant number of engineering graduates that I know personally are now making the transition to the financial services industry. The financial sector in India and the rest of the world is currently growing rapidly. So there is no doubt that professional degrees and courses like MBA (Finance), CFA, FRM and CFP attract a large number of students every year.

But apart from the courses mentioned, is there any other course that will allow you to get a license to be self-employed in the financial sector? Do you know of a course that is relatively easy to learn, affordable, and will allow you to start a career in finance?

The answer to both questions is NISM certification.

But hey! Is this the first time you’ve heard the word NISM? Even if it is, you don’t need to worry. In this article, I will give an overview of the wide range of NISM courses and I will show you how to become NISM certified.

What is NISM?

NISM certification Logo

The National Institute of Securities Markets (NISM) is located in Navi Mumbai, India, and offers a wide range of courses to Indian students. This is a public fund established by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). SEBI is the highest authority governing the securities markets in India.

The School for the Certification of Intermediaries (SCI) is one of six NISM schools of excellence. SCI develops certification exams and continuing professional development (CPD) programmes in the area of the financial markets. They are organized to test and improve the skills of professionals working in the Indian financial markets.

What does NISM offer?

The NISM campus in Patalganga, Maharashtra, offers two full-time courses in finance. The first is the PGPSM (Post Graduate Program in Securities Markets) and the second is the PGD (Post Graduate Diploma) in FinTech.

In addition to these two announced courses, NISM also offers several other long-term courses in collaboration with international organizations. You can view these courses here.

In addition, the NISM offers 22 short-term certification courses. In this article we will mainly talk about these certificates. Most of these short courses are prescribed by the SEBI for people who are self-employed as investment advisors or analysts or working in the financial services industry in India.

The other certifications are voluntary and not mandatory for financial professionals. But voluntary certificates are useful in that they provide advanced knowledge in a particular field.

For example, the Mutual Fund Distributor Certification Examination (Series V C) is an optional exam, but its content and how candidates are tested are more complex than other mutual fund exams.

Message: A list of the 22 available courses is available on the NISM website here.

Also read: NISM or NCFM – Which one to go for?

How do I register for the NISM certification exam?

To register for a course offered by NISM, you must first create an account on the NISM website. Click on this link and you will be redirected to the home page of the site. While creating an account, make sure you have a digital copy of your photo, Aadhar card and PAN card with you.

After you have created an account, you can choose a module. To register for an exam in a module, you must first choose the date, time and place of the exam. You will then be redirected to the payment gateway.

After paying the required examination fee, you will receive an electronic copy of the textbook (study material) and a hall ticket for your account. Make a printout of your exam card and bring it to the exam center on the day of the exam.

What is the content of the NISM courses?

NISM will provide electronic copies of course materials in PDF format to students. The content covers both theoretical and practical aspects of financial markets. In these courses, you will learn the various jargons you need to know to have a career in financial markets.

In any case, you can also enrol in these courses if you are just looking for knowledge. In these programs, you will learn the basic theoretical concepts of the stock market, mutual funds, financial planning, and much more. The exams are based on MCQs (multiple choice questions) and students are tested on their conceptual understanding.  You will not have the opportunity to work on demonstration projects here, but you will certainly have the opportunity to work on case study questions in the exams. In addition, no scientific calculators may be brought to the exam. However, it is perfectly acceptable to edit concepts in MS Excel, OpenOffice or Digital Calc on the desktop provided in the exam room.

The NISM certification exams are more focused on practical understanding than memorizing theory. The advantage of these certificates is that the course modules are updated every year.

How long does it take to complete the NISM course?

In the case of the NISM certification exam, unlike CA, CFA or MBA (Finance), you don’t have to invest a lot of time to pass it. Easy, you can book your exam at any time. However, it is advisable to prepare each module at least two weeks to one month before the exam. In fact, when you register for the exam, you will be given a study material of at least 100 pages, which will take some time to read completely.

If you want to take the exam on your own, you can do so with the help of practice exams offered by private education providers. But if you want to gain knowledge about financial markets and pass your exams with distinction, you need to study the workbooks provided to you by NISM.

How much are the application fees for the NISM certification exam?

The application fee for an exam is usually very reasonable. Here, you don’t have to pay more than Rs 30,000 or Rs 40,000 to take a semester MBA or pass the CFA exam.

You can register for the NISM exam today for just Rs 1200. Modular exam with the highest application fee of Rs 3000. The NISM exam fee must be paid at the time of registration for the NISM exam. If you fail this exam, you will have to pay the same amount to retake it.

What is the difficulty level of the NISM exam?

The difficulty level of the NISM exams is moderate to moderately high. For some exams, the content and method of the exam may be more difficult than for others. The NISM exams Investment Adviser (level 1 and 2) contain relatively much practical content compared to other courses. In contrast, exams like the NISM Depository Operations Certification Exam (Series VI) contain a very large amount of theory in their syllabus.

A minimum of 60% is required for most module exams. In addition, a negative mark of 25% will be given for each question in these exams. Very few exams, such as the NISM Mutual Fund Distributor Certification Exam (Series V A), require a minimum score of 50% and no negative marks.

Final thoughts

NISM exams are certainly among the best in the industry if you are new and aspiring to a career in finance. These certification exams are sufficient to get you started in your career. You are strong enough to add a few keywords to your resume and make it better than your competitors’.

But you must understand that if you pass these exams, you will not be on par with candidates who hold a CA, CFA, FRM or MBA (Finance).

However, if you are looking for a job after graduation, these courses can help you get on the list of the best job opportunities in India. It is easy to start your career as a mutual fund sales agent or securities dealer by passing the required NISM exams. But if you want a career in portfolio management, investment banking or fund management, you should look at top financial colleges.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which certification is best in NISM?

One of the highest-rated certifications in NISM is the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) Certification. It is an accredited certificate, handled by

How can I prepare for NISM certification?

The NISM certification is a comprehensive test of your knowledge of the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) and its standards. It is designed to test your understanding of the NIST standards and their implementation in the industry. The test is divided into two sections: a written exam and a practical exam.

Is the NISM exam easy?

The NISM exam is not an easy test. It is a difficult test with a lot of material to cover. However, it is not impossible. If you follow the study guide and practice the questions, you should be able to pass the NISM exam.

What is the hardest NISM Exam?

If we take the overall pass rate, then the NISM Series 8 Exam ( Equity Derivative Exam) has less than 50% passing rate. This means less than 50% of candidates people who take the exam, actually pass the exam.
But, if you consider which is the hardest NISM certification exam content-wise, then the Valuation Exam Series is considered the hardest due to the amount of calculations required.

Is NISM worth it?

Yes. Apart from NISM certifications being compulsory for many stock market-related roles, they are also useful for creating a standard knowledge of particular aspects of the stock market.
For example, any finance professional who wants to get into recommending mutual funds to their clients needs to clear the NISM-Series-V-A exam and then he/she is eligible for an AMFI license to be a mutual funds distributor.
This serves the purpose of giving entry to a non-finance graduate to be a distributor if he wishes to, and at the same time, make certain knowledge as a condition to be an agent/distributor.

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