NISM vs NCFM: Which one to choose?


When you are talking about certification about stock market or basic knowledge of financial market in India, NISM vs NCFM is important comparison.

NISM & NCFM both are strongly related to Indian Stock market and career oriented, but they differ in their path and focus. NISM focus is more on industry related compliance roles whereas NCFM advanced modules are for practical knowledge in the same field.

Which leads to the main confusion, which one to choose: NISM or NCFM?

This is what I am going to answer in this post. Read more to know the complete details about these courses and to know which one of these certification is suitable to you.

Basic difference between NISM and NCFM

NISM is established by SEBI, the market regulator of Indian Stock Market. The main objective of NISM certifications is to impart basic but detailed knowledge about Financial Market.

On the other hand, NCFM is education arm of NSE (National Stock Exchange). NSE is the biggest stock exchange in India. The main objective of NCFM certifications is to impart advanced financial knowledge about stock market.


NISM is part of SEBI, the market regulator of Indian Stock Market. The modules and courses at NISM are taught through 6 subsidiary schools:

  1. School for Investor Education and Financial Literacy (SIEFL)
  2. School for Certification of Intermediaries (SCI)
  3. School for Securities Information and Research (SSIR)
  4. School for Regulatory Studies and Supervision (SRSS)
  5. School for Corporate Governance (SCG)
  6. School for Securities Education (SSE)

The purpose of NISM courses and certifications is to impart introductory knowledge for Financial literacy and Financial services firms.

Apart from basic modules, NISM also offers two Post Graduate 1-Year residential Diplomas.


NSE launched NSE’s Certification in Financial Markets (NCFM) in 1998, as an initiative. It works as an online testing and certification program that tests the practical knowledge and skills required to operate in the financial markets.

It is primarily meant to provide basic to advanced practical knowledge to financial intermediaries.

NSE’s Academy, the wholly owned subsidiary of NSE has collaborated with several professional training institutes to create a whole gamut of advanced financial modules.

The whole purpose of NCFM is to create entry level and advanced level financial specialist, with focus on stock market.

NISM: Who should do it?

If you are looking for a certified entry into regulatory part of stock market or stock broking as beginner, then NISM is suitable choice.

NISM has their focus on compliance related modules. The course content is also focussed on code of conduct as per SEBI’s rules and regulations. So, if that is your focus, then NISM is for you.

NCFM: Who should do it?

NCFM has segregated their course material into three levels. These levels are designed to create subject experts in different financial modules.

You can read about NCFM here. But overall, if you are interested in advanced financial modules, then NCFM is more suitable choice.

All the courses at NCFM is created by or in collaboration with practicing industry experts.

NISM vs NCFM Career Opportunities

From career perspective, both NISM and NCFM provide equal entry to financial industry. Over the time, you can appear for subsequent exams and certifications to enhance your knowledge and career opportunities.

Thus, when you decide to be expert in technical analysis or options trading, then NCFM provides more details course material on the same.

On the other hand, you need to clear Investment Advisor’s Levels of NISM to be able to register at SEBI as investment advisor.

My advice will be to get the basic certificate, be in the job and then decide which path you want to take.

Best of luck

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