ICMA Operations Certificate Programme (OCP)

OCP - Livestreamed format
Live sessions: September 28-29 and October 5-6, 12-13, 19-20, 26-27
14.00-17.30 CET | 13.00-16.30 GMT

The ICMA Operations Certificate Programme (OCP) is regarded as an essential qualification for professionals intending to develop their knowledge of financial market operations.

The syllabus has been specifically designed to convey the information necessary for candidates to develop their understanding of operations relating to A) equity and debt securities, and to B) OTC derivatives. This includes detailed training on subjects such as (for securities) the trade lifecycle, repos, securities lending & borrowing, corporate actions, and (for OTC derivatives) collateral management, centrally cleared and non-centrally cleared trades under EMIR.

Test your knowledge

Unsure if this is the right course for you? Take our short quiz to find out.

Course Outcomes

By completing the course, you will be able to:
  • Develop a broader knowledge of financial market operations which may be outside the scope of your current job
  • Understand at a deeper level the fundamental nature of key financial products
  • Be fully aware of the processing steps necessary to maintain control and to mitigate internal and external processing risks
  • Understand mandatory external regulation as it relates to the central clearing of OTC derivatives
  • Be part of a network of securities operations professionals around the world

Who should attend?

The course is primarily intended for candidates working in operations and back office roles within a bank or fund management company, although it has become increasingly popular with those working in the middle office, collateral management and compliance areas. Other candidate profiles include those working for financial IT service companies, exchanges, data vendors and central securities depositories.

Candidates attending the OCP are typically (but not exclusively) in the following job functions; securities settlement, corporate actions, derivative operations, collateral management, middle office, reconciliation, static data, risk, compliance, accounting and IT.

Course Trainers

Mike Simmons
Hasse Brandt

  • Terminology Usage
    Definition of ‘Securities’
    Dates Associated with Trades
    Definition and Types of ‘Position’
    Central Securities Depositories versus Custodians
    Settlement Instructions versus Standing Sett Instructions
  •  The Securities Trade Lifecycle
    Trade Execution
    Trade Capture: Front Office and Operations
    Trade Enrichment and Trade Agreement
    Settlement Instructions and Settlement Instruction Statuses
    Failed Settlement
    Trade Settlement
    Updating Books & Records
  • Securities Bookkeeping
    Double Entry Bookkeeping
    When Entries Must Be Passed: Trades and Settlements
    Application in Different Transaction Types

  • Reconciliation
    Types of Reconciliation
    Urgency and Frequency of Reconciliation
    Performing and Methods of Reconciliation
    Resolving Discrepancies
  • Securities Financing
           Cash-Based Repo: Introduction
           Classic Bilateral Repo: Main Features, Regulation and Documentation
           The Repo Trade Lifecycle and Repo Trade Lifecycle Simulation
           Other Repo Structures
                 Buy/Sell Backs
                 Tri-Party Repo
    Securities Lending & Borrowing
           Why Securities are Lent and Borrowed
           Characteristics of an SL&B Trade      
           SL&B Market Participants
           Routes to Market
           Securities-Based Repo
           Securities Lending & Borrowing vs Repo
  • Corporate Actions
    Definition of Corporate Actions
    Fundamental Concepts
    Corporate Action Lifecycles: Overview
    Event Type Characteristics & Impacts
    The Generic (Mandatory Event) Lifecycle: Overview
  • Derivative Fundamentals
    Definition & Purpose
    The Derivatives Marketplace
    Basic Derivative Types
    Investment Appeal of Derivatives
    Structural Aspects of OTC Derivatives
    Legal Documentation
    Overview of ISDA Master, Schedule, Credit Support Annex
  •  OTC Derivative Products & Their Processing Characteristics
    Interest Rate Swaps
    Credit Default Swaps
  • Collateral Management for OTC Derivatives
    Collateral Concepts for OTC Derivatives
    Collateral Impact on Regulatory Capital
    OTCD Collateral Lifecycle: Overview
    Cash & Bond Collateral for OTC Derivatives
    Credit Support Annex: Detail
  • The OTC Derivative Collateral Lifecycle
    Pre-Trading: Legal Documentation and Static Data
    Trading: Trade Execution, Trade Capture and Trade Confirmation
    Throughout Lifetime of Trade
  • Regulatory Change for OTC Derivatives
           Overview, Background and Organisations Initiating Changes
           EMIR and Dodd-Frank
    Trading on Exchanges
    Central Clearing
    Capital Requirements
    Trade Repositories
  • Central Clearing & its Impact on Collateral Management
    Central Clearing Primary Concepts
    Central Counterparty Membership Structure
    Multiple Central Counterparty Implications
    Risk Management within Central Counterparties
    Operational Implications of Central Clearing
    Non-Centrally Cleared (Uncleared) Trades: Overview
    Legacy Trades
    Legal Documentation
    Central Counterparty Supervision
  •  Central Clearing & Collateral Transformation
    Collateral Transformation Methods
    Operational Implications of Collateral Transformation  


The exam consists of 75 multiple choice questions of which candidates must answer a minimum of 45 questions, or 60%, correctly in order to pass.

If you are taking the livestreamed course, you have six months to study the material, book and complete an online, fully invigilated exam.

If you’re taking the classroom-based course, the training is delivered Monday to Friday, with the final exam taking place on Friday afternoon.

Please note:

You will need a normal/standard calculator for use during the course and during the exam that is capable of accepting at least 12 digits (e.g. 999,999,999.99). Bond calculators are not permitted for this course.

Livestreamed Course

ICMA courses are delivered via video conferencing accessed on our digital learning platform, using the most effective pedagogical approaches and incorporating interactive functions like virtual breakout rooms.

The OCP live sessions are delivered over the course of five weeks, with two sessions of 3.5 hours every week. You will be given access to the course materials before the live sessions, and will have access to those for a total of six months. During these six months you will have the option to keep working through the course materials at your own pace. Please note to ensure you book and take the exam within these six months.

Live sessions: 28-29 September and 5-6, 12-13, 19-20, 26-27 October
14.00-17.30 CET | 13.00-16.30 GMT

Livestreamed course fees

ICMA Members: EUR 2,900 + VAT (if applicable)
Non Members: EUR 3,550 + VAT (if applicable)

Costs include full access to the online campus, associated learning materials and the examination fee. Please note that payment must be received before the start of the course.


Should you have any queries, please contact education@icmagroup.org.

OCP certificate holders

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

Young Taek (Jerry) Woo

Organisation: Korea Securities Depository (KSD)
Job title: Assistant Manager at Securities Settlement Dept.

Describe what you do on a day to day basis in your job:
My main work is divided into two parts: I monitor the securities (stocks & bonds etc.) settlement process on a daily basis and also operate the settlement system during work time.  In addition to my daily work, we make recommendations to the financial supervisory authority to regulate related law and regulation, if needed.

Reasons for taking the course:

First of all, our co-workers strongly recommended me to register for the OCP course.  Also, I heard that it is a very meaningful course to achieve our career path and our goals.

Benefits of taking this course:
1. Improvement of relevant knowledge of securities industry
2. Experience of foreign country
3. Meeting participants from different countries

Andreas Grimm

Organisation: European Central Bank
Job title: Senior Expert, Financial Operations Services

Describe what you do on a day to day basis in your job:
I work in the Market Operations area of the ECB as part of the Financial Operations Service team and am responsible for the clearing and settlement of the various financial market operations.  My responsibilities cover the activities around the lifecycle of a trade, from trade enrichment, validation, processing, matching and settlement of operations. It includes the different events during the lifetime of a security, i.e. corporate actions, monitoring collateralisations and redemptions.  I have worked for more than five years in the operational area of a central bank.

Reasons for taking the course:
To obtain a systematic overview and understanding of the different operational matters and to enhance further my knowledge about the different financial instruments, their valuations and the best practises and developments in the financial markets.

Benefits of taking this course:

I found the course overall very challenging, but also very interesting and enriching and I have obtained my overall objectives, i.e. to obtain a systematic overview of financial operations and to obtain more knowledge about the different financial instruments, lifecycle of a security and valuations of securities.  I can duly recommend this course to anybody who works in the operational area as it is very thoroughly prepared and a very useful experience.

Björn Eriksson

Organisation: Swedish National Debt Office
Job title: Product Coordinator

Describe what you do on a day to day basis in your job:
I work in the Back Office Department with Business Development, System Management and participate in general projects.

Reasons for taking the course:
To get a greater understanding of the financial industry and a better knowledge of the processes involved and the participants working in the industry.

Benefits of taking this course:

I must say I have a greater understanding of the financial industry and a better knowledge of the processes and the participants in general.

Fabian Cosmann

Organisation: Eurex Bond GmbH
Job title: Vice President

Describe what you do on a day to day basis in your job:
Market and product design for the bond market.
Platform functionality and business development.

Reasons for taking the course:
Number of projects related  to Eurex Clearing; connecting of members to trading platform and CCP; cooperation between product design and clearing/settlement.

Benefits of taking this course:

Basic understanding of clearing/settlement workflows and recognition of certain correlations.

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