What is the Canadian Securities Course (CSC™)?

The Canadian Securities Course (CSC™) is an entry-level education program offered by the Canadian Securities Institute (CSI). Successful completion of the program and exam permit an individual to work in the Canadian securities industry as a registered securities representative for a securities broker. The CSC can also be used to satisfy the educational requirements needed to sell and trade mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), stocks, and fixed income assets.

Key Takeaways

  • The Canadian Securities Course is an exam conducted by the Canadian Securities Institute (CSI) for individuals interested in trading securities or providing investment advice.
  • It consists of two multiple-choice exams that must be completed within one year of registration. Exam takers must score 60% or above in order to pass the exam.
  • Subjects covered in the exam include fundamental and technical analysis, as well as an overview of investing services for retail and institutional clients.

Understanding the Canadian Securities Course (CSC™)

The Canadian Securities Course is often the first step for many individuals in Canada looking to pursue a career that involves trading securities and providing investment advice. The CSC involves two exams, typically referred to as Volume 1 and Volume 2. Each exam includes 100 multiple-choice questions to be completed within two hours. By estimates, the exam requires 150-200 hours of prep time. Registrants must complete the exam within one year of registration.

Subject matter on the exams is broad and reflects what a finance professional in Canada is expected to be conversant in. The first exam covers the Canadian investment marketplace, the economy, features and types of fixed-income securities, pricing and trading of fixed-income securities, common and preferred shares, equity transactions, derivatives, financing and listing securities, and corporations and their financial statements.

Exam 2 includes questions pertaining to fundamental and technical analysis, company analysis, introduction to the portfolio approach, portfolio management, mutual funds, segregated and hedge funds, managed and structured products, Canadian taxation, and working with institutional and retail clients.

The Canadian Securities Course under the Canadian Securities Institute

The Canadian Securities Institute, which was established in 1970, offers a series of licensing courses, advanced certifications, continuing education, and training programs. The non-profit CSI transitioned to a for-profit enterprise, known as CSI Global Solutions, in 2003. In 2010, the Moody’s Corporation acquired the CSI for C$155 million. It now operates as a separate company within Moody’s Analytics. The Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) and the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) endorse the CSI. Headquarters for the CSI are in Toronto and Montreal.

The CSI continues to evolve by offering an increasing number of comprehensive services that help financial professionals advance in their chosen field; to date, it offers nearly 300 different courses. The reach of the organization extends beyond Canada; it is known for developing educational content for securities industries in emerging financial markets, such as those in China, Europe, the Middle East, the Caribbean, and Central America. 

The CSC™ Exam

The CSC™ exam is an two-part course offered by the Canadian Securities Institute (CSI) that allows an individual to become a qualified mutual fund representative. Completion of the Canadian Securities Course™ (CSC™) is also one of the first required steps in pursuing a career that involves trading securities and providing investment advice to clients.

Exam Details:

  • Time Limit: Two hours per exam
  • Cost: Varies
  • Number of Questions: 100 questions per exam
  • Passing Score: 60% per exam
  • Format: Multiple choice
  • Prerequisites: Not applicable. However, it is usually common practice to complete the Canadian Securities Course (CSC™) prior to the CPH course
  • Exam Date: Varies according to the Canadian city in which the exam will be taken
  • Exam Locations: Canada; computer-based exams also available in Toronto and Montreal
  • Official Exam Website: Canadian Securities Institute

Exam Topic Weights:
The current Canadian Securities Course™ consists of two volumes of textbooks.

Exam 1:

  • The Canadian Investment Marketplace: 16%
  • The Economy: 13%
  • Features and Types of Fixed-Income Securities: 12%
  • Pricing and Trading of Fixed-Income Securities: 11%
  • Common and Preferred Shares: 13%
  • Equity Transactions: 10%
  • Derivatives: 10%
  • Financing and Listing Securities: 7%
  • Corporations and Their Financial Statements: 8%

Exam 2:

  • Fundamental and Technical Analysis: 12%
  • Company Analysis: 10%
  • Introduction to the Portfolio Approach: 12%
  • The Portfolio Management Process: 10%
  • Mutual Funds: 14%
  • Segregated and Hedge Funds: 8%
  • Other Managed and Structured Products: 13%
  • Canadian Taxation: 6%
  • Working with the Retail Client: 10%
  • Working with the Institutional Client: 10%