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Poland and UK lead effort to plug skills gap in global investment industry

Poland has been chosen to help lead a global effort to plug a skills gap in the financial services industry by adopting a professional qualification backed by the world’s biggest financial investment institutions.

PRLog - Oct. 25, 2011 - The Investment Accounting Diploma, developed in the UK by an organisation whose members include Citi, State Street, BNY Mellon and Franklin Templeton, is to be rolled out to companies in the country to address the lack of a formal qualifications path for those working in investment accounting.

The success of the qualification in Britain has prompted the adoption of a distance learning version for the international arms of investment management firms, the investment arms of banks and building societies and other specialist financial institutions.

The six month course, developed by Scottish Investment Operations (SIO), an Edinburgh-based body that exists to promote the interests of the investment industry, includes four exams and covers the key areas of fund accounting, financial accounting, finance and technical accounting.

Senior investment managers in Poland have expressed frustration at the lack of international qualifications in this area. They have welcomed the new “holistic” course - accredited by the Chartered Banker Institute and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS) - which they believe will offer professionals an “end to end” understanding of the industry.
Alan Thornburrow, chief executive of SIO, said Poland was a preferred location for the introduction of the Investment Accounting Diploma because of its vibrant financial services sector and potential for growth.

“Following extensive consultation with the investment industry’s largest employers, we have produced a qualification that will address a commonly reported skills gap,” says Thornburrow.

“The financial services sector in Poland has witnessed a fundamental transformation and has emerged as a key centre for asset servicing.

“Candidates there will gain a solid understanding of the theory and practice of investment accounting and the Diploma will help to grow, retain and develop talent in the fund accounting area.”

Poland’s economy is the sixth largest in the European Union and one of the fastest growing in Europe. It is the only member country of the EU to have avoided a decline in GDP since the 2008/2009 economic crisis and last year its growth rate was 3.8 %.

The country’s asset management sector has also continued to recover with growth in pensions, insurance and investment funds, thanks to positive new asset flows and favorable stock market trends.

In the first half of this year the total assets under management in the three key sectors were £102billion (PLN467billion). Pension funds accounted for 51% of the total with investment funds and insurance assets worth almost 25% each (Source: The Investment Funds and Asset Management Market in Poland 2011-2013).

Aviva, ING and PZU group were the top asset managers, holding between them 48% of all assets under management.

Anton Colella, chief executive of ICAS, said:  “The Investment Accounting Diploma is a strong example of the export potential and global collaboration that successful qualifications offer.  Investment accounting is a thriving industry.  It is vital that the right skills and qualifications are adopted to help meet the demand and further grow the industry.”

Visit http://www.sio.org.uk/ for details

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Details of the course can be found by visiting: http://www.investmentaccounting.org.uk/Home.aspx

Details of the SIO course, Introduction to Investment Operations, can be found by visiting: http://www.sio.org.uk/training.html.

SIO represents the biggest investment companies based in Scotland including Aberdeen Asset Management; Baillie Gifford; Barclays Wealth; Blackrock; BNP Paribas Securities Services; First State Investments; Franklin Templeton Investments; HSBC Securities Services; Morgan Stanley; Scottish Widows Investment Partnership; Standard Life Investments; State Street and the Bank of New York Mellon.

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