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Securities Operations Foundation Course (SOFC)
Attending the course will enable you to:
  • Appreciate the roles of the major securities market participants
  • Comprehend similarities & differences between equities and bonds
  • Understand numerous essential securities operations building blocks
  • Comprehend how equities and bonds are brought to the marketplace
  • Appreciate similarities & differences between central securities depositories and custodians
  • Understand the primary components of the securities trade lifecycle
  • Comprehend fundamentals of repo and securities lending & borrowing transactions

Course background

The course covers both conceptual and practical aspects of securities operations. Throughout the course delegates can expect a great deal of information to be imparted to them in a structured and logical sequence of key concepts, beyond which the practical aspects of day-to-day operations tasks will be described. In order to ensure focus and to test the delegates’ understanding of concepts, exercises will be introduced at numerous points during the course. Furthermore, the course director will expand concepts and make connections to prior concepts in order to make the delegates’ understanding as complete as possible.

Attendance of the course requires no prior study or work experience. Pre-course reading is provided to allow candidates to acquire a certain fundamental layer of understanding of the subject matter.

Who should attend?

The SOFC is a first level (introductory) qualification intended for anyone entering into a career in the financial markets, particularly within the areas of operations (back office) and middle office, and other non-front office areas such as risk management, accounting, collateral management and IT. Although not a formal prerequisite for any other ICMA training course, the SOFC provides useful background study for those taking the intermediate ICMA Operations Certificate Programme (OCP) and specialist 1-2 day operations courses.

Click here to download the detailed SOFC syllabus.

Course Outline

Generic Operations Concepts


The Financial Services Environment

  • Financial Products Overview
  • Financial Markets Overview
  • Major Participants

Fundamental Banking Operations Concepts


  • Interest on Bank Accounts
  • Concepts of Collateral
  • ISO Currency Codes
  • Cash Correspondents

Securities Operations Concepts


Securities Products

  • Fundamentals of Equity, Debt and Hybrid Securities

Equity & Debt Issuance

  • Equity IPO, Government Bond Auctions, Corporate Bond Syndication
  • Primary and Secondary Markets

Trade and Settlement Concepts

  • Date Concepts on Trades
  • Settlement Cycles
  • Trade & Position Concepts
  • Settlement Methods

External Trading Infrastructure

  • Trading ‘On-Exchange’ and ‘Over-the-Counter’
  • Operational Implications

Internal Trading Infrastructure

  • Trading Department Structure
  • Internal Trading Systems
  • Profit & Loss Calculation
  • Operational Implications

External Settlement Infrastructure

  • Central Securities Depositories
  • Custodians
  • Similarities & Differences

Internal Operations Infrastructure

  • The Processing (Internal System) Requirement
  • Static Data and Straight Through Processing
  • Company Static Data
  • Counterparty Static Data
  • Securities Static Data
  • Risks & Controls in Static Data

Trade Cash Value Calculation

  • Equity Trade Cash Value Calculation
  • Bond Trade Cash Value Calculation

The Securities Trade Lifecycle: Overview

  • Overview of the 11 primary components in the execution and processing of a securities trade, including trade capture, trade confirmation/affirmation, settlement instructions, failed settlement, and reconciliation.

Other Securities Transaction Types: Overview

  • Repo: Overview
  • Securities Lending & Borrowing: Overview


The SOFC comprises 12 sections of topics which are taught over 2½ days. On the afternoon of Day 3, delegates sit an examination (consisting of 50 multiple choice questions) in order to gain the qualification. In order to aid understanding of concepts during the course, delegates will be sent pre-course reading. Furthermore, in order to ensure understanding of concepts during the course, multiple exercises are run, in addition to end-of-day review sessions on the first 2 days.

Details of the next seminars
11-13 March 2015


11-13 November 2015


Novotel Brussels Centre Tour Noire
Rue de la Vierge Noire 32
1000 Brussels

To register your interest for the next publicly scheduled courses, e-mail education@icmagroup.org.
28-30 September 2015



ICE Education
Milton Gate, 60 Chiswell Street
London EC1Y 4SA
United Kingdom

To register your interest for the next publicly scheduled courses, e-mail education@icmagroup.org.

Based at ICE Education London offices: IntercontinentalExchange® (NYSE: ICE), is a leading operator of regulated global futures exchanges, clearing houses and over-the-counter (OTC) markets.

Please remember that it is your responsibility to ensure your accommodation is organised in advance as we are regrettably unable to assist in these matters.

UK based course and Continental Europe based course
The cost of the SOFC is £1,875.00 for ICMA Members and £2,450.00 for non-members with the following discount scale being offered:
2-4 candidates – 5% discount each*
5+ candidates – 10% discount each*

*Please note that discounts are applied by way of a refund to the organisation when registration has closed and the final number of candidates from the firm has been determined.

Course materials will be provided to candidates in electronic format prior to the start of programme. Please ensure that you have access to this document during the course by either printing off a copy or by downloading it on your laptop, iPad or Tablet.

Should you require a hard copy of the course materials, there is a charge for printing off and sending the course materials to the training venue.  Please contact education@icmagroup.org a minimum of two weeks before the course start date for further details on this.

Payment can be made by secure online credit card or by invoice.  Please note that selecting the invoice method will add £50 (administration fee) to the course price.

Note that anyone requiring accommodation to take the course will be required to arrange this on their own; it is a class-based but non-residential certificate programme.
Should you have any queries about this course, please contact David Senior on +44 20 7213 0329 or e-mail education@icmagroup.org.

SOFC certificate holders

The names of the successful candidates from previous examinations are included in our list of certificate holders.

Jeong Moon Ki

Organisation: The Bank of Korea
Job title: Junior Economist

Describe what you do on a day to day basis in your job:
Open market operations are the main monetary policy instrument, through which the central bank buys or sells securities with financial institutions in the open markets, thereby influencing the amount of money in circulation and/or interest rates.  The Bank of Korea carries out open market operations mainly to steer the overnight call rate around the ‘Base Rate'. Along with this, the Bank can also maintain financial market stability by expanding its supply of liquidity to the markets through open market operations in times of financial turmoil.  

In Korea, these operations are conducted in three ways: through securities transactions, through the issuance and repurchase of Monetary Stabilization Bonds (MSBs), and through commercial banks’ deposits made in the Monetary Stabilization Account (MSA). What I do on a day to day basis in my job as a central bank employee is keeping the call rate from deviating sharply from the Base Rate set by the Monetary Policy Committee, particularly pertaining to securities transactions and the issuance of Monetary Stabilization Bonds (MSBs).

Reasons for taking the course:

I believe that being certified by ICMA is the best decision and investment I made for my career. Also, I wanted to have a stronger and more technical understanding of securities operations from the central bank’s perspective. Furthermore, I hoped to have the opportunity to network with other participants from all over the world in order to broaden my knowledge in the financial market.

Benefits of taking this course:
I could understand clearly about the full trading and settlement cycle of a trade. Also, it was a very good opportunity for me to benchmark my knowledge against the industry standard so that I could enrich my knowledge which will be useful in my future economic analysis.

Kevin Leung

Organisation: Euroclear Bank
Job title: Account Manager

Describe what you do on a day to day basis in your job:
Collaborating with the relationship manager in managing the business relationships in Taiwan and Hong Kong.  Providing value-added account services for top tier clients, such as the central banks, including the daily cash flow monitoring, customisation of reports and income payment reconciliation, as well as performing regular client service reviews and training. Identifying the key areas for improvement in our core services we provide to our major clients and transforming them into account plans for actions. Also acting as the escalation point for complicated service issues for important clients and driving the actions within our client service and operations teams in order to get those issues resolved.

Reasons for taking the course:

To enhance my understanding on the securities operations from a custodian’s perspective;
To network with other participants in the industry in order to broaden my knowledge in the financial industry.

Benefits of taking this course:
Although I have quite some experience and knowledge in some of the topics covered in the course, I find it quite useful to gain more exposure, particularly on the front office operations, where I could understand more about the full trading and settlement cycle of a trade.  Also, it is a very good opportunity for me to benchmark my knowledge and experience with the industry standard.

Chermaine Lee

Organisation: S.W.I.F.T
Job title: Market Analyst (Clearing & Settlement)

Describe what you do on a day to day basis in your job:
I’m responsible for the market management of securities market infrastructures, particularly pertaining to their clearing and settlement activities with S.W.I.F.T.

Reasons for taking the course:

To have a stronger and more technical understanding of securities operations, particularly the functions of the main actors like the global and local custodians, CSDs and ICSDs.

Benefits of taking this course:
I developed a clearer understanding of how securities are processed, in terms of the post-trade lifecycle and how the different agents interact with each other, which will be useful in my future analysis.

Omar Alzeer

Organisation: Gulf Investment Corporation
Job title: Manager

Describe what you do on a day to day basis in your job:
I manage the settlement of securities operations transactions.

Reasons for taking the course:

In a very competitive global business environment one must develop his/her operational skills to the highest potential. The SOFC was the right collective and subjective course for this.  Not only that, but being certified by ICMA is something of added value of competence to our staff members.

Benefits of taking this course:
Despite my previous six years’ experience, this course indeed enriched my knowledge and skills in my day to day business activities.

Alexander Lauterbach

Organisation: VEM Aktienbank AG
Job title: Head of Finance

Describe what you do on a day to day basis in your job:
Department Head Back Office:
  • Clearing/Settlement of proprietary and client trading
  • Payments
  • National and international security delivering
  • Paying Agent
Department Head Accounting:
  • Financial Statements in German GAAP and IFRS
  • Controlling
Reasons for taking the course:
Language update of my existing business knowledge and analysing differences between the UK market (Euroclear) and Local German market (Clearstream)

Benefits of taking this course:

Concentrated overview

Daniela Meuer  

Organisation: European Central Bank
Job title: Senior Research Analyst

Describe what you do on a day to day basis in your job:

Maintaining static data in our Treasury Management System; Project Management, Support duties to various IT systems.

What challenges do you face in your current role:

The wide breadth of knowledge that has to to be maintained, depending on the market situation and the decisions made by the decision-making bodies of the ECB. 

Reasons for taking the course you attended:

To increase my knowledge of how markets and market players act together and where there are links due to the globalisation.

Tell us how our course helped you in overcoming these challenges:

As the course defined the concepts of the current markets, it helped to improve my overall understanding of the financial markets.  Some areas are not applicable for a Central Bank however due to the bank’s limitation of eligibility.

Benefits of taking this course:

It was a good foundation course to learn about the different markets and institutions and their various roles. It certainly increased my knowledge and improved my understanding of security operations.


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