Securities Operations Foundation Qualification (SOFQ)

New SOFQ online course starting 1 July

The Securities Operations Foundation Qualification (SOFQ) is an introductory level programme intended for anyone entering a career in the securities operations area of the financial markets.

The syllabus has been specifically designed to provide the essential information necessary for candidates to develop a thorough understanding of both the debt and equity markets and, in particular, securities operations concepts.

Sample Module

Access a transcript of this video here.

By completing the programme you will: 
  • Identify the similarities and differences between equities and bonds
  • Demonstrate an understanding of how equities and bonds are brought to the marketplace
  • Identify and understand the roles of the major securities market participants
  • Recognise the primary components of the securities trade life-cycle
  • Demonstrate how Operations manages the securities through its various activities
  • Identify fundamentals of trade management, including repo and securities lending & borrowing transactions
  • Recognise and identify corporate actions

Who should study the programme?

This qualification is directly relevant to people entering the world of securities operations and personnel currently working within this field who wish to gain a broader view of the subject.

Although not a formal prerequisite, the SOFQ provides useful background study for those wishing to study the ICMA Operations Certificate Programme (OCP) and our advanced level operations training courses.

Candidates should have basic quantitative skills but no prior study or work experience is required.

The names of successful candidates will be included in our list of certificate holders.

Course Trainers

Gail Rolland

Test your knowledge

Unsure if this is the right course for you? Take a short sample exam.

The course syllabus is divided into the following key topic areas:

An Introduction to International Securities
•    Key players
•    Debt and Equities
•    The Primary Market: How Deals are Brought to the Market
•    The Secondary Markets

The Pre-trade environment
•    Pre-Trade Function
•    Role of Client Onboarding
•    Understanding KYC
•    Master Agreements
•    Static Data Collection

Trade Execution and Immediate Post-trade
•    Trading Paradigms: Flow and Proprietary Trading
•    Trade Execution Systems
•    Trade Capture and Confirmation
•    Role of Middle Office

Trade Clearing and Settlement
•    Role of Custodians
•    Central Securities Depositories
•    Payment Systems
•    Trade Cash Values
•    Central and Bilateral Clearing Systems
•    Updating Books & Position Reconciliation
•    STP

Position Management
•    Trading & Settled Positions
•    Funding Positions
•    Covering Shorts
•    Basics of Repo and Securities Lending & Borrowing
•    P/L calculation

Regulatory reporting
•    Regulatory Reporting Requirements
•    Role of Operations

Asset Servicing
•    Managing Securities
•    Corporate Actions

The exam consists of 50 multiple choice questions of which candidates must answer a minimum of 30 questions correctly, with a score of 45 or more earning a distinction.

If you’re taking the classroom-based course, end-of-day review sessions are held at the end of the first two days and prior to the exam on day three to prepare for the exam and assist candidates with the course content.

If you’re taking the online course you have six months in which to study the material and book an online, fully invigilated exam. You may take the exam within 12 months of registering for the course, but must book the exam within six months of registering.

Attend the course in a format that suits your schedule.

Online Course - Register now to take the SOFQ on a digital learning platform

Delegates who sign up to online courses will have access for 6 months to enable them to take advantage of the additional online resources, discussion boards and other functions of our new digital learning platform.

Online courses start on the 1st of each month.
1 July - Start Date

1 August - Start Date

Online course fees

The following special introductory price will be available until 1 October 2020:

ICMA Members: £800 + VAT (if applicable)
Non Members: £1,100 + VAT (if applicable)

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

As an indicative guide, we would recommend a total of 90 study hours is required to go through the material. Please note this is an approximate guide only.

Classroom Course

In light of ongoing international concerns with respect to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and in the interest of maintaining the health of our members, delegates and staff, all classroom based courses are currently on hold and will be rescheduled as soon as the situation normalises.

Please register your interest for this course and we will send you details if this course can be confirmed.

October 2020 - Date to be confirmed

Classrom course fees

ICMA Members: £2,250+ VAT (if applicable)
Non Members: £2,750+ VAT (if applicable)

For security reasons, delegates who have not registered in advance will not be admitted to the classroom format of this course.  Delegates will be required to provide photo identification on arrival, to ensure entry.


Should you have any queries, please contact

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