Funds - A Drive Towards Excellence In Performance
With the ever-increasing regulatory, financial and tax reporting requirements on funds and growing demands from investors, fund administration firms need an ever more skilled workforce to provide the specialist services required by their clients.
It is against this background that CLT International, a global training provider with experience in the design, development and delivery of certificated training, has recently developed a new suite of qualifications specifically for those working in fund operations. Offered in association with the Alliance Manchester Business School, a school of the University of Manchester, the aim is to provide practical and focused training for funds professionals.
In developing the qualifications, which launched at the end of last year, CLT International has worked extensively with Vicky Le Poidevin and Will Morgan of Offshore Group in Guernsey, who have authored the course materials. Recently, CLT International caught up with Vicky to discuss the first stage of the qualification – the Certificate in Fund Administration - and its benefit to firms offering fund administration services.
Vicky, we are excited to launch this new suite of qualifications. Could you tell us more about why you got involved in the project?
We first discussed the project with CLT International in early 2018 and we were keen to be involved from the outset. The vision was to create a practical, relevant suite of qualifications that would help practitioners truly understand the day-to-day operations of, and accounting for, a fund. Although there are other qualifications on the market, we are not aware of any that are exclusively specific to funds and we were excited to be involved in creating a programme that would really enable participants to apply the knowledge they learn on a day-to-day basis and understand how the tasks that they carry out contribute to the wider fund administration landscape.
From the perspective of an employer, because the Certificate is specific to the funds industry, it will not only mean that you have professionally qualified employees but a team that understands the industry on a practical level and can use the knowledge they have gained to help you run your business more efficiently and provide a better service to your clients.
So, could you explain a little bit more about the Certificate in Fund Administration and how it is delivered?
Of course. The Certificate is designed for new entrants to the market or those who want to expand their knowledge. It is focused on providing a practical introduction to the areas of fund structures and strategies, accounting and valuation, taxation, and regulation for those working in fund administration or support.
It is delivered online in a very interactive way, with each of the modules containing a mix of learning resources, including practical exercises and activities, podcasts, videos and opportunities for self-assessment throughout. It means that you are not simply reading about concepts but having the opportunity to put what you’ve learned into practice by attempting tasks and activities that reflect scenarios encountered in the workplace. There are regular podcasts and videos throughout the course that also help bring the subject to life.
Thanks Vicky. Could you explain what topics are explored in the Certificate?
There are six modules in total. The first module provides a high-level overview of the fund industry and introduces the key terms, concepts and parties that you might encounter working in the sector. The second and third modules focus on fund structures and fund strategies, and look at the practicality of how funds are structured and what types of investments funds make both in the closed and open-ended arenas.
Module 4 focuses on fund accounting. People often shy away from this area, especially if they don’t consider themselves to be ‘number-focused’ so this module aims to demystify the accounting and valuation process of the fund industry and introduce the key areas in a practical and accessible way.
Modules 5 and 6 cover taxation and regulation, and provide a high-level introduction to some of the key regulatory frameworks and tax considerations that drive the operations of a fund.
Yes, because it offered online, it can be taken globally.
Although Offshore Group are based in Guernsey, we have worked hard to ensure that the Certificate provides a holistic understanding of the fund administration and accounting within the Fund sector. We have worked hard to try and ensure this introductory program focuses on the key concepts of regulation, tax and operations as opposed to specific regulations that are in place in a one jurisdiction. We believe that the Certificate provides a core knowledge to students, which they can then supplemented with specific jurisdictional knowledge either through further study or on the job training.
For those who are looking to understand the regulatory landscape in their particular jurisdiction in more detail, CLT International offers a series of Specialist Jurisdictional Modules which explore the rules and regulations with which funds must comply locally.
If a firm wanted to offer the programme as base-level training across the organisation, would that be an option?
Absolutely. The Certificate is ideal for any firm wishing to up-skill its workforce and ensure that all its staff have a core knowledge of the key aspects of fund administration and accounting.
As you know, we have already seen interest from organisations who would like to offer the Certificate to their staff through their internal platform and CLT International can work with individual organisations to tailor the content to meet any specific requirements. All in all, it’s relevant, focused training that provides excellent value for money.
Vicky is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and has over 15 years’ experience in the finance sector. After training with and spending nearly 9 years at a big four accountancy firm, Vicky worked in both the Trusts and Funds sector before joining Offshore in September 2016. Vicky enjoys adding value through the provision of effective training sessions and reducing the costs, risks or resource requirements of businesses through effective reviews and subsequent enhancement/design of controls and processes.