The Institute of Certified Investment and Financial Analysts (ICIFA) regulates the investment and financial analysis profession in Kenya. It registers and grants practising certificates to certified Investment and Financial Analysts - both in private and public practice. Its chief executive spoke to Financial Standard about the upcoming forum on smart cities in Africa and sector dynamics.
Why is ICIFA key to Kenya?
Under the Investment and Financial Analysts Act, its functions are to promote ethics in the investment and financial services industry, as well as to promote research and training.
We also advise the Capital Markets Authority on licensing of investment and financial analysts and the Kenya Accountants and Secretaries National Examinations Board (Kasneb) on syllabus and examinations.
What is the composition of the ICIFA membership?
The nearly one thousand members comprise fund managers, stockbrokers, people in the pension, financial analysts, various consultants, as well as managers of financial institutions.
What does it take to become a member of ICIFA?
To be an associate member, they need to have done the certified investment and financial analyst course by Kasneb. A full member, however, needs to have done the same course plus more than three years of experience in financial analysis.
Any prior background to have to become eligible as a member?
Any background with certification and experience in financial and investment analysis positions a candidate for membership. Even experience in investment banking, corporate finance, capital markets, and private equity and so on qualifies one to undertake the journey to be a CFA.
What value does ICIFA add to those with a financial background and experience?
Top among them is that the rigorous certification earns them global recognition.
We have partnered with the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment, the Association of Certified International Investment Analysts and other relevant bodies to ensure the certification is globally recognised and allows them to practice with integrity.
How much is the membership fee?
Benchmarked with other professional bodies, an associate member pays a subscription fee of Sh3,000 for joining as well as Sh3,000 as an annual subscription.
A full member pays Sh10,000 joining fee and Sh10,000 annual subscription. The practising licence costs Sh15,000 for issuance as well as an annual subscription fee of equivalent amount.
And how does one go about in obtaining a practising licence?
A member needs to have at least four years of relevant experience in the industry with their qualifications recognised by both Kasneb and ICIFA. They also need to have passed an integrity test.
Now that it is compulsory for one to be certified before practising, how do you deal with those who breach ethics or practice illegally?
The Act establishing ICIFA has set up a disciplinary committee with powers to hold an inquiry for any member whose is in breach of ethics or the law. If found guilty, a member can be de-registered.
Can a failed investment advice in itself be the grounds for disciplinary action for any member(s)?
Not necessarily. But if the advice is out rightly malicious, the practitioner involved can face appropriate disciplinary action.
How many centres does ICIFA have across the country?
Other than the headquarters in Nairobi, we intend to set up regional branches in Mombasa, Nakuru and Kisumu followed by other towns.
What outreach programmes does ICIFA have for its stakeholders?
We hold various seminars and conferences. The upcoming conference on The Case for Investment in Smart Cities in Africa will be held on October 24 and 25 where various African stakeholders will be sensitised on investment opportunities in both the private and public sectors.
The delegates will also be discussing the state of preparedness of African cities to go smart.
What challenges does the institute grapple with?
Low public awareness on legitimate financial advisors which exposes Kenyans to exploitation by quacks, inadequate finance to enable us to achieve our mandate.
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