The Canadian Securities Course provides a wealth of knowledge for the serious investor, as well as some tools to take control of her finances. It also offers a professional designation and can provide an entry point for a career in the financial sector.
Sorting Through the Useful and the Useless
In a world of investment advice that comes in very different levels of quality, the modern investor should think about taking control and finding out more about what the pros know about money management.
There’s certainly no shortage of information available. The 21st century investor finds herself bombarded with investment advice, everything from established sources like the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Post, Bloomberg, and business TV channels to blogs, newsletters and well-meaning friends.
Sorting out who is right — and what sort of axe the talking head on TV has to grind – is tough, but it’s made easier by knowing what makes markets tick. And an excellent place to learn is the Canadian Securities Course.
This course is ideal for “people who are interested in being more active managers of their portfolio who want to know what they need to know,” said Marie Muldowney, managing director of the Canadian Securities Institute, which administers a variety of professional courses, including the CSC.
“Even if they’re dealing with an advisor they want to know what they’re doing and they want to know their advisor knows what they’re doing. And they really want to know what their advisor knows.”
The course is done online and covers everything from the securities industry to how economics impact investment performance, corporate financial statements, and the different kind of stocks, bonds and derivatives available.
“There is a lot on company, industry and market performance so that they know how to analyze a company that they’re looking at, how to put together a portfolio,” said Muldowney.
The course is designed to be completed in one year, although the more gifted candidate can complete it pretty much at her own speed. Course material is covered in two exams.
It’s a Serious Commitment
The financial commitment is reasonable – the CSC course costs $995.
What could be a greater challenge for the student is the time commitment. There is a great deal to learn over the course of the two textbooks and Muldowney thinks a person should be prepared to spend a good 12 hours a week in order to pass the exams. Or maybe more.
She said that “it depends on the background” of the individual.
“Some people are quite quick because they have a finance background and they get into the book, they think, ‘I know this stuff, I can do it’ and they go write the exam. Other people, well you know they have to slog harder to get through the material and put in the time and the effort to learn things they never learned before.”
However, the student doesn’t have to feel she has to go through the course unaided.
A lot of students organize study groups or use discussion boards to see the application of what they’re doing.
The course also has an audio version, sort of a talking book version for the car, and there are also webcasts and seminars on offer.
It is a rigorous course and Muldowney noted that some students have to take a couple of stabs at the exams before passing.
But tough as it is, it is hugely rewarding since the student will come away with a much greater understanding of how investments work. She will also have a professional designation for a course that has become a necessity for anyone embarking on a serious career in financial services.
For example, Muldowney said this would involve “career professionals who want to be in financial services, who are in investment adviser fields and want to be a broker.”
“They start this program and then go on to the other courses that they require and go onto other designations, so they have a career plan in mind,” she added.