NISM Certifications: The Complete Guide for Beginner’s

An Introduction to NISM Certifications

If you are interested in making a career in Stock Market, Mutual Funds or Broking firm, then NISM certification is one of the way to get entry. In fact for few profiles, having a NISM certifications is mandatory.

These certifications are designed around theoretical knowledge around practical applications. The course contents are updated every year, keeping them relevant for current market conditions.

Here is the complete guide for beginner’s to know about NISM certifications.

What is NISM?

NISM (National Institute of Securities Markets) is  a public trust established by Securities and exchange Board of India (SEBI), regulatory body of securities markets in India. SEBI is the regulator of Indian Stock Market.

NISM is engaged in promotion of standards for best practices in the financial industry. It is educational, training and research institute focussed on capacity building in securities markets.

These certifications are conducted & provided as mandated under SEBI (Certification of Associated Persons in the Securities Markets) Regulation, 2007.

NISM Educational and Certification Modules

NISM certification Logo

NISM has a campus in Patalganga (Maharastra) where it conducts 4 full-time courses in finance and the securities market.

Along with these courses, there are several courses conducted in collaboration with other institutions. You can find details of these courses here.

The 4 full time 1-year courses conducted at the campus are:

  • PGPSM (Post Graduate Programme in Securities Markets)
  • PGD (Post Graduate Diploma) in FinTech
  • Post Graduate Diploma in Management (Securities Markets) PGDM (SM) – Approved by AICTE
  • Post Graduate Diploma in Quantitative Finance (PGDQF)

If you are interested in these courses, you can find the details on their website by clicking here.

The focus of these posts is 22 short-term certifications offered by NISM. Most of these certifications are mandated by SEBI for professionals in relevant job roles. For example, Investment Advisor registered with SEBI or Dealer certification for broking firms.

Rest are voluntary certifications, which are not mandatory, but they offer the benefit of advanced knowledge in that specific area.

A list of most popular NISM certification exams and topics they cover are:

1. Series I: Currency Derivatives Certification Examination

This certification offers the knowledge of fundamentals about the currency derivatives market and its operations, including trading and settlement mechanisms and investment strategies.

This certificate is mandatory for dealers handling currency-enabled terminals.

2. Series-VIII: Equity Derivatives Certification Examination

This certification is based on knowledge of fundamentals about the equity and derivatives market and its operations, including trading and settlement mechanisms.

This certificate is also the mandatory one. This one is required for dealers handling equity terminals. As the equity market means everything apart from currency and commodity, this certificate is one of the most required certificates.

3. Series V A: Mutual Fund Distributors Certification Examination

This certification is meant for those involved in the sales and distribution of mutual funds. This is actually a mandatory certificate if you are planning to start a financial advisory or services firm, that involves sales and distribution of Mutual Funds.

It imparts and tests knowledge of how mutual funds industry overall. It offers a broad-based idea of different types of mutual fund schemes and covers varied aspects of their evaluation and market distribution.

4.  Series-X-A: Investment Adviser (Level 1) Certification Examination 

5.  Series-X-B: Investment Adviser (Level 2) Certification Examination

If you plan to build your career around financial advisory and services firms, then Investment Advisor certification is required these days. After obtaining these certificates, you are required to register with SEBI (the process is explained here), before you start your advisory.

If you are not registered, then you are not allowed to advise your clients on equity investments.

NISM Certifications: Exam registration procedure & fees

To register for any of the certification exams, you need to visit this link and create your account there. You will need to provide your photograph, scanned PAN card image & Aadhar card to complete your profile.

Though you can register for exams as soon as your profile is created, you will get a certificate only when your Name and PAN card details are verified by their backend. So, be sure to upload clear images and double-check the data before submitting your profile.

To register for any module exam, you have to select the exam date, time, test center and then pay the required fee. (The fee for most of the certification exams ranges from 1500-1600 per exam). Though there are a couple of exams with a fee of Rs. 3000/-. 

Once you have made the payment, you will get the hall ticket for the exam (you need to take a printout to carry along with you to the exam center on the test date). You also get a soft copy of the study material (workbook). The soft copy is in pdf format.

Eligibility for NISM exams

For most of the certification exams mentioned above, you don’t need any specific educational qualification to appear for the exam. But you definitely need to be computer literate.

These exams are conducted on a computer and your answers are submitted online in these computer-based exams.

How much time is required to prepare for NISM certification exams?

If you are a complete beginner in finance and the stock market, and you are appearing for a basic certificate, then you need at least 2 months to prepare for NISM certifications exams.

But, if you have working knowledge due to your job profile or exposure to that field like dealers at broker’s office, then you can prepare for the exam within 2-3 weeks.

On the other hand, if you are appearing for a certification requiring multiple domain knowledge like investment advisor or research analyst, then it takes time to gain enough knowledge to appear for the exam.

Exam structure

NISM certification exams are mostly MCQ (Multiple Choice Questions) based exams. You need to select the right answer from the choices given.

The difficult part is that there is a provision of Negative Marking (25%) in these certification exams. This means for every wrong answer, 1/4th of marks are deducted from the total.

Hence, you need to be careful before submitting your answer. If in doubt, leave the question unanswered. Don’t guess unnecessarily.

Employment scope with NISM certificates?

For a young lad, who has just graduated or pursued some other course, the NISM certificate provides entry into the field of Stock Market and Finance like Brokerage firms, research firms, Financial Services & Mutual Funds Distribution.

From these levels, you can gain experience to grow further in the field.

But, if you plan to build your career in the core fields of Finance or Research, then you should look for premier courses like CA, CFA, FRM, or MBA (Finance). These premier courses cost more, cover more material, and make you ready for higher-level job profiles.

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