Well, strictly as per SEBI Regulations, the NISM Series VA : Mutual Fund Distributors Certification Examination is the only mandatory examination for professionals performing the sales function related to mutual funds.
However, in the absence of any other examination covering the Indian Mutual Funds in such a minute detail, the industry has more or less accepted the benchmark set by NISM. Today, all employers in this industry demands the NISM Series VA MFD Certification for all job profiles related to mutual fund (and not just professionals involved in sales).
So to answer the question, the NISM Series VA MFD Certification (which is referred as Level 1 in the question) provides opportunities at every level and every job role in the mutual fund industry.
The NISM Series VC: Mutual Fund Distributors (Level 2) Certification is an advanced level examination which covers various real life cases and situations to handle investor issues. It also covers fund valuation, taxation, regulations and financial planning in greater detail.
Few examples of the job profiles, which are also discussed in the NISM Mutual Fund Distributors Workbook are as follows:
- Mutual Fund Sales profiles in Banks like SBI, ICICI, HDFC, Axis Bank, etc.
- Mutual Fund Sales profiles in National Distribution Companies and Broking Companies like Angel Broking, Sharekhan, etc.
- Roles in Asset Management Companies (AMCs)
- Chief Investment Officer (CIO) is responsible for overall investments of the fund.
- Fund managers assist the CIO. As per SEBI regulations, every scheme requires a fund manager, though the same fund manager may manage multiple schemes.
- Securities Analysts support the fund managers through their research inputs. These analysts come from two streams—Fundamental Analysis and Technical Analysis.
- Some mutual funds also have an economist to analyse the economy.
- Securities Dealers help in putting the transactions through the market. The mutual fund schemes’ sale and purchase of investments are executed by the dealers in the secondary market.
- Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) is responsible for mobilizing money under the various schemes.
- Direct Sales Team generally focus on large investors
- Channel Managers manage the distributors
- Advertising & Sales Promotion Team support the CMO.
- Chief Operations Officer (COO) is tasked with the day-to-day administration and operations of the AMC. Typically, the COO reports directly to the CEO and is considered second in command.
- Compliance Officer needs to ensure all the legal compliances.
- Roles in Custodian: The custodian has custody of the assets of the fund. As part of this role, the custodian needs to accept and give delivery of securities for the purchase and sale transactions of the various schemes of the fund. All mutual funds are required to hire a custodian as they are not permitted to hold custody of the securities themselves.
- Registrar and Transfer Agents: The Registrars and Transfer Agents (RTA) maintain investor records. Their offices in various centers serve as Investor Service Centers (ISCs), which perform a useful role in handling the documentation of investors. The functions of the RTA includes processing of purchase and redemption transactions of the investor and dealing with the financial transactions of receiving funds for purchases and making payments for redemptions, updating the unit capital of the scheme to reflect these transactions, updating the information in the individual records of the investor, called folios, keeping the investor updated about the status of their investment account and information related to the investment. Presently, Karvy and CAMS are the leading RTAs which handle 90% of the industry’s backend. You can find various job roles here as well.
- Auditors: If you are from a CA or CS background, you may find roles in auditing of mutual fund companies and their schemes. Auditors are responsible for the audit of accounts. Accounts of the mutual fund schemes need to be maintained independent of the accounts of the AMC.
- Fund Accountants: The fund accountant performs the role of calculating the NAV, by collecting information about the assets and liabilities of each scheme. The AMC can either handle this activity in-house, or engage a service provider.
- KYC Registration Agencies (KRAs): To do away with multiple KYC formalities with various intermediaries, SEBI has mandated a unified KYC for the securities market through KYC Registration Agencies (KRA) registered with SEBI. Any new investor, Joint holders, Power of Attorney holders, Donors and Guardian (in case of minors) have to comply with the KYC formalities. You would find few roles related to KYC and verification.
- IT and Software Companies: The industry is moving into automation and extensively uses software interfaces to handle investors at such a scale. If you are a software engineer you may see roles in various software companies who develop software for some or many of these entities.
- BPOs and Call Centres: Many BPOs and Call Centres handle the back-office processes of the AMCs. You would find job roles in these call centres in assisting investors / distributors through telephone.
- NISM: Finally, if you have a real good knack of the mutual funds and would like to be on the academic side, you may someday find a position in NISM 🙂
I hope I was able to cover various roles. If you know any more which I may have missed out, please feel free to mention them in the comments section.
If you wish to clear the above exam with flying colors, please make sure that you subscribe to our NISM Mutual Fund Distributors Mock Test Series.