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OVERVIEW AND STRUCTURE
COURSES IN SECURITIES AND DERIVATIVES
ICMA’s Diploma in Securities & Derivatives is the definitive programme for the fixed income and related derivatives markets, giving a thorough grounding in the characteristics and benefits of the products through to the skills needed for their trading, investment analysis and risk management. The diploma builds on our widely recognised flagship qualification the Fixed Income Certificate (FIC).

Comprised of four parts – a foundation, advanced and two specialist level- courses – and covering everything from the provision of the basic quantitative tools to the fundamentals of analysing fixed income securities, through to an in-depth analysis on the construction and management of a portfolio of fixed income assets, this is THE diploma for professionals in the secondary markets.

Diploma Outcomes


By completing this diploma you will:
  • Become proficient in the basic maths of the fixed income and derivatives market.
  • Develop a broad understanding of the risk and return characteristics of fixed-income securities, including sovereign bonds, investment-grade and high-yield corporate bonds, inflation-linked bonds, securitisations, and covered bonds and the relationship between cash bond and derivatives markets.
  • Use and interpret market-standard measures of interest rate risk and credit spreads, as well as how to apply these measures to construct and evaluate trades that express views about the level of interest rates, the shape of the yield curve, and relative value in credit risky bonds.
  • Develop an understanding of topics including inflation-linked bonds, securitisations and covered bonds, structured securities, CDS and Interest Rate Derivatives and their uses, plus techniques on rates trading and hedging.
  • Develop working knowledge of current best market practice and regulatory considerations for fixed income and derivative markets and how regulatory changes and technological development are transforming fixed-income markets.
Other learning outcomes will depend on selection of specialist courses.

How do I get an ICMA diploma?

ICMA diplomas are expressly designed to deliver the technical skills needed by capital market professionals to excel in their jobs and to advance their employment opportunities. They offer structured, yet flexible, study programmes for individuals at different points in their careers. The diplomas are backed by the trade body at the heart of the debt capital market, which is the standard setter for many areas of market practice, including primary market issuance, secondary market trading, repo and collateral and sustainable finance.

The ICMA diploma is made up of three or four courses*, all of which must be completed in two years. To achieve and ICMA diploma you will need to complete the following:
  • One or two foundation courses* – depending on where you are in your career you might choose to start with the Financial Market Foundation Qualification to learn about the different asset classes, followed by the Introduction to Bond Market Qualification to learn more about analysing fixed income securities. Alternately, for those with more experience you may be exempt from having to do a foundation course at all. Note that all foundation courses are assessed, and you must pass the exam/s before taking the next course.
  • One advanced course – you will need to complete our flagship course for secondary markets the Fixed Income Certificate and successfully complete the exam to gain a diploma.
  • One or two specialist level courses – a standard diploma will normally include two specialist courses, although you might only take one specialist course if you’ve completed two foundation courses.

* For those with a degree in the relevant subject OR more than two years’ experience working in DCM roles, you may qualify for an exemption to the foundation level of the programme and become eligible to achieve your diploma by completing the advanced course plus two specialist courses. Please contact education@icmagroup.org for more details.

Confused? Contact us at education@icmagroup.org to find out more, including whether you qualify for a course exemption.

Pricing

ICMA Members: EUR 5,800 + VAT (if applicable)
Non Members: EUR 7,550 + VAT (if applicable)

Who should participate?


The diploma is designed for people who are entering or have recently entered positions in fixed-income markets, or whose responsibilities require an understanding of fixed-income securities and markets. This includes those working in client or market facing positions within a bank or fund management company, middle office and operations managers who require greater product and market knowledge and those working for financial IT service companies, exchanges and central securities depositories.

Programme Recognition

ICMA diplomas are jointly awarded by ICMA and the ICMA Centre, Henley Business School, University of Reading. ICMA is approved by the Securities & Futures Commission of Hong Kong as providing Continuous Professional Training (CPT) and a member of CPD® Certification Service, and the programme contains course/s which have been accredited by the CPD® Certification Service. ICMA recommends that up to 120 learning hours can be associated with this programme, depending on attended/undertaken hours of study required to successfully complete the learning outcomes. Please ask ICMA Education for more details on the CPD details of your diploma on education@icmagroup.org.
The Diploma in Debt Securities & Derivatives can be achieved by completing one/two Foundation, one Advanced and one/two Specialist courses:
  • Foundation:
    • Financial Markets Foundation Qualification (FMFQ)
      The programme is intended to provide ‘breadth of knowledge’ to make it relevant to people pursuing careers in the front office, middle office and operations areas. The syllabus content places an even emphasis on introducing and explaining the key concepts of each subject area to develop candidates’ practical knowledge and skill sets.

    • Introduction to Bond Market Qualification
    • The Introduction to Bond Market Qualification (IBMQ) is an introductory level programme intended for anyone seeking a sound foundation in the analysis of fixed income securities. The syllabus offers an overview of fixed income market products and participants and explains the key features of fixed income securities including government bonds, corporate bonds and many more. In addition, it provides candidates with the basic quantitative tools they will need to begin analysing fixed income securities.
  • Advanced:
    • Fixed Income Certificate (FIC)
      This is a demanding qualification aimed at developing a broad and in-depth knowledge of the key fixed income instruments and markets. Throughout the training there are many exercises which test and assess candidates’ knowledge, examining scenarios which will equip participants with practical skills in their day-to-day business activity.
  • Specialist:
    • Fixed Income Portfolio Management & Construction
      The Fixed Income Portfolio Management and Construction class introduces the tools and techniques for the management of fixed income portfolios, applying those techniques first to analysing portfolios of real bonds and then to construction and management of portfolios. It builds on the mechanics of Fixed Income (as found, for example, in ICMA's Fixed Income Certificate (FIC) and applies them in the context of investment portfolios, considering how classic (equity) portfolio theory must be adapted to apply to fixed income and the many issues impacting risk and return of fixed income portfolios.

    • Inflation-Linked Bonds & Derivatives
      This course is primarily designed to increase the awareness of the concept of inflation as an investable asset class. Beginning with the fundamentals of inflation, the syllabus goes on to explore the key aspects and benefits of inflation-links bonds and other structures such as swaps and options.

    • Credit Derivatives
      The ICMA’s credit derivative course captures different perspectives from the credit asset class. The main product building blocks are analysed and inevitably, the credit default swap market features prominently.

    • Understanding Swaps
      Swaps are the most actively traded derivative product. This course covers those swap products with an interest rate component including interest rate swaps, overnight index swaps, asset swaps and currency swaps.

    • Fixed Income Options
      Fixed income remains one of the dominant asset classes for issuers and investors.  This course focuses on the main concepts of optionality within the asset class. Although the course will cover the definitions of the key building blocks, it is not designed as a general introduction to options.  It will assume some basic understanding of option terminology such as calls, puts, ITM/OTM/ATM, European & American.  It is also useful if the participant was also conversant with the fundamentals of interest rate swaps.

    • Assessing Credit Risk of Corporate Bonds
      The aim of the course is to outline a framework that could be applied to assess the credit risk inherent with a corporate bond.

    • Introduction to Repo
      This introductory level course provides an overview on how the repo market is structured, the key players and key regulation and is ideal for those wanting a foundation-level overview of this topic.

    • Understanding the GMRA
      This course analyses how repo transactions operate within the framework provided by the Global Master Repurchase Agreement (GMRA) and highlights the issues that need to be addressed by users. The GMRA has underpinned the development of the cross border repo markets since its first publication in 1992 with subsequent revised versions in 1995, 2000 and 2011.

    • Securities Lending: Operational Challenges
      In collaboration with the International Securities Lending Association (ISLA), this course will provide delegates with a strong grasp of the fundamentals of securities lending & borrowing (SLB) including the different stages of the securities lending lifecycle, from onboarding, pre-trade negotiation, trade execution, post-trade and termination, master agreement and trading terms negotiations to delivery and reporting. This course also provides a functional overview of the main actors in securities lending and their motivations in the current market climate, including borrowers needing to cover positions and passive investors looking to achieve better returns.

    • Collateral Management
      The use of collateral, for many years associated mainly with repo and securities lending transactions, has seen a rapid growth within the financial marketplace. The need to reduce exposure in these transactions, as well as the rise of the OTC derivatives market, has led to a significant increase in the degree of complication faced by operations departments. Successful processing of collateral within an organisation requires knowledgeable staff that understand the component parts that lead to safe and secure processing, as well as awareness of the pitfalls that can result in unacceptable exposures.

    • Introduction to Green, Social & Sustainability Bonds (GSS)
      This course gives you a deep understanding of the mechanics of green, social and sustainability bonds, taking you from the big picture policy context to introducing the underlying drivers of market development, main product features and regulation. We will talk about the Green and Social Bond Principles, the Sustainability Bond Guidelines and the new Sustainability-Linked Bond Principles and explain how they work in practice, including evaluation and selection of eligible projects for funding, the role of external reviewers and guidance on reporting. The course is illustrated with examples from the market, getting you ready to apply the knowledge at work and includes quiz questions for each module to ensure you're following the content.

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