CySEC exams, certifications & CPD requirements

CySEC exams, certifications & CPD requirements

Over the last decade, the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC) has been working hard to establish Cyprus as an attractive investment jurisdiction. Further, CySEC’s main priorities are to safeguard investor assets and ensure the smooth operation of the market.

To help realise its mission, CySEC has continuously emphasised the importance of professional education and training throughout the investment services industry. Hence, by focusing on instilling knowledge and competence throughout the workforce operating at Cyprus Investment Firms (CIF), Alternative Investment Funds and Fund Managers (AIF/AIFM), Crypto-Asset Services Providers (CASP), and other regulated entities, CySEC has managed to facilitate a healthy development of the market.

Throughout the article, the Education team at SALVUS provides guidance on:

1. The available CySEC certifications and why they are important
2. What each CySEC exam entails, who the certification is for, and how to register
3. CPD requirements for Certified Persons in the CySEC Public Register

1. What CySEC certifications are available and why are they important?

One area that the development of the market can be accredited to is CySEC’s emphasis on the education and training of its workforce. To achieve this CySEC offers three exams geared toward professionals working in the investment services industry:

Furthermore, the purpose of the CySEC exams is to ensure key-positioned professionals working at regulated entities have the appropriate knowledge to carry out their duties and responsibilities with competence.

Ensuring key positions at CIF, AIF & AIFM, CASP and other CySEC regulated entities are filled by certified professionals is important because it increases the level of professionalism in the industry. In turn, the increased level of professionalism instils market confidence and efficiency which is a critical factor in attracting and retaining retail clients and foreign investors.

2. What do the CySEC Advanced, Basic, and AML exams include, who are the certifications for, and how to register?

The CySEC Advanced Certification

The CySEC Advanced certification is the most comprehensive qualification offered by the Cypriot regulator. In particular, the syllabus covers 14 chapters containing both national and European Union (EU) regulations including Law 87/2017 (main legislation for Cyprus Investment Firms), Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II), Anti-Money Laundering and Combatting the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT), AIFM Law, Open-Ended Undertakings for Collective Investments Laws (2012-2016), European Market Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR), Prospectus Law (2012-2016), Transparency Law, and Capital Adequacy Requirements.

The table below demonstrates all chapters covered within the CySEC Advanced syllabus along with an estimation of the number of questions per chapter on the exam. Please note that the indicated number of questions can change by more or less than 2 to ensure a consistent level of difficulty.

Chapter 1 - Investment Services and Activities And Regulated Markets Laws (MiFID II) (2017) Scope/ Powers/ Offences 4

Chapter 2 - Cypriot Investment Firms (CIF) 8

Chapter 3 - Investment Services and Activities and Regulated Markets Laws Cypriot Investment Firms and Banks 8
Chapter 4 - Open-Ended Undertakings for Collective Investment Laws (2012-2016) 6
Chapter 5 - Alternative Investments 6
Chapter 6 - The Business of Credit Institutions Laws of 1997-2016 2

Chapter 7 - The Prevention And Suppression Of Money Laundering And Terrorist Financing Laws Of 2007-2017 5
Chapter 8 - Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation (2014) (MiFIR) 4
Chapter 9 - Capital Adequacy Requirements 8
Chapter 10 - European Market Infrastracture Regulation (EMIR) 4
Chapter 11 - Recovery and Resolution Laws 5
Chapter 12 - Prospectus Law (2012-2016) 2
Chapter 13 - Transparency Law 3
Chapter 14 - Insider Dealing and Market Manipulation Regulation (2016) 5
Total 70

Professionals who take the exam, undergo a 90-minute multiple-choice exam covering 70 questions. The passing rate is 70% which requires candidates to correctly answer at least 49 questions.

The CySEC Advanced certification is aimed at professionals that hold key positions at Cyprus Investment Firms, AIF & AIFM, and CASP; executive and non-executive directors are required to hold the certification.

Cyprus Bar Association (CBA) and Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Cyprus (ICPAC) members such as lawyers and accountants offering their services to CySEC regulated entities could also benefit by becoming CySEC Advanced certification holders. Since the CySEC Advanced certification qualifies professionals as competent to provide sound and relevant advice, CBA and ICPAC members can be in a better position to advise their clients.

Successful CySEC Advanced exam candidates are qualified to offer the below investment services:

  • Dealing on own account
  • Portfolio management
  • Offer investment advice
  • Underwriting and placing of financial instruments

And perform the following services at an Undertakings for the Collective Investment in Transferable Securities (UCITS) company or a Variable Capital Investment Company (VCIC):

  • UCITS investment management
  • Investment management
  • Offer investment advice

Alternative Investment Funds can hire a CySEC Advanced certification holder to help with the:

  • Marketing of an Alternative Investment Fund
  • Management of portfolio investments
  • Services stated within 6(5)(a) and 6(b) of the AIFM Law and 6(1)(a) of the AIF Law

In addition, the CySEC Advanced certification is also recommended for individuals who are final-year university students or recent graduates of higher education and are interested in joining the financial and investment services sectors.

The CySEC Advanced certification is the most comprehensive certification in investment services. For more information, our Education team recommends reading this article.

The CySEC Basic Certification

The CySEC Basic certification covers 8 chapters and similar to the CySEC Advanced, it contains prominent Cypriot and EU legislation such as MiFID II, AML/CFT, and Law 87/2017 which is the main legislation for Cyprus Investment Firms. Simply put, the main difference between the CySEC Basic and Advanced certifications is the quantity of material covered by the syllabus. Additionally, the level of difficulty between the CySEC Basic and Advanced exam questions are the same.

In the table below, we highlight the topics covered in the CySEC Basic exam as well as an indication of approximately how many questions each chapter contains.

Chapter 1 - Investment Services and Activities And Regulated Markets Laws (MiFID II) (2017) Scope/ Powers/ Offences 4

Chapter 2 - Cypriot Investment Firms (CIF) 12

Chapter 3 - Investment Services and Activities and Regulated Markets Laws Cypriot Investment Firms and Banks 8
Chapter 4 - Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation (2014) (MiFIR) 5
Chapter 5 - Insider Dealing and Market Manipulation Regulation (2016) 8
Chapter 6 - Open-Ended Undertakings for Collective Investment Laws (2012-2016) 5
Chapter 7 - Alternative Investments 6
Chapter 8 - The Prevention And Suppression Of Money Laundering And Terrorist Financing Laws Of 2007-2017 2
Total 50

Candidates sitting the exam have 60 minutes to complete 50 multiple-choice questions with a passing rate of 70% (the equivalent to correctly answering 35 out of the 50 questions).

The CySEC Basic certification is for professionals who are involved in offering the following investment services at CySEC regulated entities:

  • Reception, transmission, and execution of client orders

CySEC Basic certification holders are also able to provide marketing services to Collective Investment Schemes such as to a UCITS Management Company or VCIC organisation.

The CySEC AML Certification

The CySEC AML certification covers 8 chapters dedicated to Anti-Money Laundering. Specifically, the CySEC exam is composed of the:

  • Prevention and Suppression of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing EU Laws
  • CySEC directives for the Prevention and Suppression of Money Laundering
  • European Supervisory Authorities Risk Factor Guidelines
  • Abbreviations and definitions professionals need to know

The table below visualises the syllabus for the CySEC AML exam.

Chapter 1Introductory Provisions
Chapter 2Understanding Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Sanctions
Chapter 3Legal and Regulatory Requirements
Chapter 4The AML Compliance Culture
Chapter 5Assessing and Managing Risks
Chapter 6Know Your Customer (KYC) and Customer Due Diligence (CDD)
Chapter 7Transaction Monitoring & Suspicious Reporting
Chapter 8Abbreviations and definitions

CySEC AML exam candidates have 60 minutes to complete 40 multiple-choice questions. The passing rate for this CySEC exam is 70% which translates to 28/40 correct answers. It is also important to note that each exam question may have more than one correct answer.

Unlike the CySEC Advanced and Basic exams, CySEC does not provide an indication of the number of questions per chapter; although, from our experience, most of the questions are taken from chapters 2, 5, 6, and 7.

The CySEC AML certification was introduced in 2020 and is geared for professionals who are appointed or looking for appointments as AML compliance officers. The exam is in place to enhance regulatory measures concerning the prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing (ML/TF) throughout the financial system.

CySEC licensed entities including CIF and Central Bank of Cyprus (CBC) regulated Payment Institutions (PI), Electronic Money Institutions (EMI), and banks are required to employ a dedicated AML Compliance Officer.

How to register for the CySEC exams

As previously mentioned, the CySEC exams cater to professionals working in and around the investment services sector in Cyprus. Thus, professionals who wish to register for a CySEC exam must complete the online application form for the exam of their choosing. If you require help during the exam registration process, please visit this document.

Candidates who successfully pass their CySEC exam will be contacted by CySEC for the completion and submission of the registration form regarding their induction into the CySEC Public Register for Certified Persons.

Please note there is no prerequisite to sit any of the CySEC exams. For example, an individual can take the CySEC Advanced exam without having to pass the CySEC Basic exam or without having previous experience in the investment services industry.

3. What are the CPD requirements for CySEC Certified Persons?

CySEC and other professional associations such as the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Cyprus and the Cyprus Bar Association require their certified members to complete a minimum number of Continuous Professional Development (CPD) units per year. CPD is the act of continuously learning and developing skills to ensure best practices within a field. Additionally, the significance of continuously completing professional training is to remain educated and competent with the latest regulatory developments. To read more about CPD, visit this article.

The table below indicates how many CPD units a CySEC Certified Person requires on an annual basis to uphold their certification.

 CySEC AdvancedCySEC BasicCySEC AML
Number of required CPD units151010

If a professional holds both the CySEC Advanced/Basic certifications with the CySEC AML certification, then the following number annual of CPD units are required:

 CySEC Advanced + AMLCySEC Basic + AML
Number of required CPD units2015

It is important to note that a CySEC Certified Person is responsible for keeping records of their CPD course completions and the number of units. On an annual basis, CySEC requires all Certified Persons to renew their certification in order to remain within the CySEC Public Register. For more information on the CySEC certification renewal process, see this document.

A similarly important note is that successful CySEC exam candidates are not required to undertake CPD training during their first year of obtaining their certifications. The relevant CPD requirements begin a year after their induction within the CySEC Public Register.

How we can help

The Education team at SALVUS has been working with the highest-rated educational platform in Cyprus (Institute for Professional Excellence – IforPE) for multiple years. Through our partnership with IforPE, we have developed The Most CompleteTM CySEC certification examination preparation courses specifically designed for investment services professionals.

The Risk & Compliance Director at SALVUS, Evdokia Pitsillidou, is the instructor of the courses and ensures the material remains up to date to reflect the ever-changing regulatory developments in the industry.

Additionally, our CySEC certification preparation courses adhere to the needs of modern professionals and are ideal for those who wish to study at their own time and pace. We offer the following online courses:

Our self-paced learning courses include:

  • Recordings from live workshops
  • SALVUS Self-study material
  • Test questions at the end of each section
  • Mock exams simulating the real CySEC exams
  • 1-on-1 support by SALVUS
  • Certification of corresponding CPD units

Contact us via email at info@salvusfunds.com or call us at +357 7000 7898 if you would like more information about the CySEC certifications.


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