Professional Certifications for Compliance

Do you need a certification to be compliance professional?

“Need” is not the right answer. Compliance is still a diverse and complex field, where the needs can differ remarkably from firm to firm.

I’m a bit skeptical that a generic certificate program is likely to help me much with my job or professional development. Whatever benefit comes from the program needs to balance the cost of the program and the time spent at the program’s courses (and away from the actual job).

I was contemplating the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics programs. They offer a Certified Compliance and Ethics Professional certification. You can combine a multi-day academy offering to meet the classroom requirements and take a test the next day.

With the SEC’s registration requirement for private fund managers, I took a closer look at what the SEC requires for compliance professionals.  Rule 206(4)-7 imposes no particular requirements on a chief compliance officer.  The SEC release for the rule provides a bit a more context on the professional background requirements:

“An adviser’s chief compliance officer should be competent and knowledgeable regarding the Advisers Act…”

So it’s not a lot of context. But you need to show that you understand the Advisers Act.

I switched gears from the CCEP and took a look at the Investment Adviser Certified Compliance Professional co-sponsored by the Investment Adviser Association and National Regulatory Services. I assume this certification and designation would give me the right to say I am “competent and knowledgeable regarding the Advisers Act.” It will even give me a certification that says so.

But it’s a lot of work: 20 courses and a test.

I’m taking care of six of those course over the next two days.

Boston IA Compliance Symposium 2012

Northeastern University Batterymarch Conference Center
Second Floor of the Hilton Boston Financial District

DAY 1 – Tuesday, June 12, 2012

8:30 AM–10:30 AM (ET)

A New Look at the Advisers Act: Registration, Exclusions and Exemptions; Mid-Sized Advisers and Exempt Reporting Advisers; Private Fund Advisers and More

10:45 AM–12:45 PM (ET)

Books and Records Requirements for Investment Advisers

2:00 PM–4:00 PM (ET)

Insider Trading, Contracts and New ADV Delivery Requirements

Day 2 – Wednesday, June 13, 2012

8:30 AM–10:30 AM (ET)

Understanding Fiduciary Duties and the Sweep of the Anti-Fraud Provisions of the Advisers Act

10:45 AM–12:45 PM (ET)

Custody and Pay-to-Play Rules Plus Solicitors and Proxy Voting Requirements for Investment Advisers

2:00 PM–4:00 PM (ET)

Compliance Programs Rules and Strategies for Managing Your Annual Review


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2 Responses to Professional Certifications for Compliance

  1. Doug Cornelius June 13, 2012 at 8:57 am #

    A reader made the following recommendation:

    the NSCP (National Society of Compliance Professionals) Certification.

    Certified Securities Compliance Professional (CSCP) –
    the only designation for both broker-dealers and investment advisers. information can be found at

  2. Doug Cornelius June 13, 2012 at 8:58 am #

    Another reader also sent me this:

    Just want to let you know that I’m putting together a certification course for compliance persons involved in the ** retail ** distribution of alternative investment products (investment funds that fall under FINRAs definition of direct participation programs). The course is designed to give independent broker dealers an adequate level of assurance that their compliance staff has the knowledge necessary to supervise the sales of public and private offerings of real estate limited partnerships to individual investors. The course will also prepare the candidate to sit for the FINRA Series 39 and 22 exam.