Financial Advisor Qualification Series: The CSC

Reader Marianne emailed me a link to an article Rob Carrick (of The Globe & Mail) wrote titled “Learning what those fancy letters mean to your financial future“. Take a read, because it’s an interesting topic – I’m pretty sure you could put the whole alphabet behind your name in this industry. I’ve decided to write an ongoing series on the various designations and courses out there so that investors (and aspiring advisors) can wade through the alphabet soup…

The CSC (Canadian Securities Course)

The CSC (Canadian Securities Course) is pretty much the entry point into the financial services for the vast majority of people. (There is an alternative path for those who only want to be involved with mutual funds, which I will cover in a future part of this series).

The completion of the CSC is sometimes listed as a requirement for many jobs even for those who do not aspire to a front line role (dealing directly with clients) since it covers a fairly broad body of knowledge about the basics of the capital markets.

If you complete the CSC you would be qualified to sell mutual funds, but if you want to go on and sell individual securities on a retail basis you will also need to complete the CPH (Conducts and Practices Handbook), and a 90 day training course. After completing these requirements, your registration gets confirmed and you can start advising and trading on individual securities and will be under a period of supervision for 6 months. You are also required to complete the WME (Wealth Management Essentials) course within 30 months.

The cost of the CSC is $880 + GST with a PDF textbook, and with a physical textbook it increases slightly to $960 + GST. You will learn the very basics of economics, investment management, fundamental analysis, taxation and investment products.

There are two 2-hour exams, each consisting of 100 multiple choice questions. Each has a pass mark of 60%. You have one year to complete both exams, and the course is self-study. I’m pretty sure most people don’t take that long to study the material though, I would peg the average at maybe one month of study per exam and a keener could certainly finish the entire course and both exams in one month.

The CSC is an introductory course, and you do NOT earn a “CSC” designation for completing it. For a complete description of the course, please visit the CSI (Canadian Securities Institute) website for more information.

Preet Banerjee
Preet Banerjee an independent consultant to the financial services industry and a personal finance commentator. You can learn more about Preet at his personal website and you can click here to follow him on Twitter.
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Showing 6 comments
  • Million Dollar Journey

    I did the CSC a couple years back (for fun) and found it to be equivalent to a first year university course. It provides a good basic understanding of financial markets that I occasionally refer back to.

  • Preet

    @MDJ – Really? A first year course? Maybe I partied too much in University, because I remember first year courses being much more intense (or at least more blurry!) :)

  • Tom @ Canadian Finance Blog

    I was thinking of taking this course “for fun” like MDJ did. Not only would it provide some extra knowledge for my own use, but would add to the resume so I have an more options available to me.

    Looking forward to the other posts in this series!

  • Mike Zuckerberg

    DayOnBay has a great review which helped me prepare and pass the CSC.

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