What is CISA ?

Certified Investment and Securities Analyst Program (CISA) is academic program for those interested in financial careers developed by Thailand Securities Institute (TSI) of Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET). CISA program is mainly about financial analysis, investment management in financial markets, and ethical and professional standards in finance field where materials covered in CISA are largely compatible with the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) – the widely accepted qualification in the global financial markets. Hence, CISA is undoubtedly a great way to success for those interested and seeking for growth in finance careers. CISA exam is structured in 3 levels in which there are 4 main topics that are common in each level including ethical and professional standards, investment tools, asset valuation, and portfolio management.

Nevertheless, academic curriculum and materials in each level of CISA is quite different in terms of topics covered and levels of difficulties. For CISA level 1, examination topics focus on foundation of financial tools used in investment analysis as well as ethical, rules and regulations in financial markets, and professional standards. Examples of topics covered in the CISA level 1 are Microeconomics and Macroeconomics, International Economics, Quantitative Analysis, Financial Report Analysis, Corporate Finance, Financial Markets, Equity Investment, Fixed Income Investment, Derivatives Investment, Alternative Investment, and Theories on Capital Markets. For CISA level 2, materials are more advanced and extended from the level 1 where focusing areas are asset valuation, and applications of financial tools for asset valuation in each asset class in financial markets such as Equity Investment Analysis using industry analysis and asset valuation models, Fixed Income Investment Analysis using asset valuation and structured securities. Lastly, for CISA level 3, topics mostly cover portfolio management such as Investment Policies for Individual and Institutional Investors, Asset Allocations, Risk Management, Strategies in Portfolio Management, Performance Assessment for Portfolio Investment, and International Standard for Performance Evaluation.


What is CISA used for ?

Not only CISA provides knowledge and understandings in financial analysis and investment management which are crucial for careers in finance, it is also regarded as minimum qualification in key positions in finance field such as financial analyst, investment consultant (broker), and fund manager. In addition, those who passed CISA exam in each level are able to register and be qualified from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Hence, CISA program is very crucial for financial professionals, and those seeking for advancements in the finance field.


CISA test schedule ?

Test schedules for CISA are different in each level where (i) CISA level 1 test is arranged every month; mostly on the last Sunday of test month, with registration periods being announced around 2 months prior to the test date, (ii) CISA level 2 test is arranged for 4 times a year in March, June, September, and December with registration periods being announced around 2 months prior to the test date, and (iii) CISA level 3 test is arranged for only once a year on December with registration period being announced 2 months prior to the test date as well. CISA test schedules for the whole year of all 3 levels will be announced on the SET website.


How to register for CISA ?

Applicants for CISA must be SET member first by applying online without any charges at www.set.or.th, then choose desired exam and register accordingly with the CISA test procedure at www.set.or.th/set/professional/html.do. Please be noted that, exam registration, and fee payment must be completed at least 30 days prior to the test date, otherwise the applicant will be exempted from the exam. Payment of CISA test fee can be done via both bank counter, and electronic banking channel.


CISA test center ?

There are 2 test centers for CISA which are University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC) for CISA level 1 and level 2 exams, and the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) for CISA level 3 exam.


Recommended books for CISA ?

TSI or Thailand Securities Institute of the Stock Exchange of Thailand publishes preparation book series for the CISA program in each level, which are classified into topics in accordance with the materials covered in the exam. In addition, TSI also provides exercise and practice exam for CISA such that applicants can use in preparing for the exam as well as having better understandings of the exam. However, preparation books of TSI are very detailed that applicants have to spend a lot of time in preparing and reading the whole materials. Hence, one alternative that many applicants use in preparing for CISA is reading Kaplan Schweser preparation books for CFA instead, in which the books provide key notes and details for each exam topic using simplified style of writing. Moreover, the books also provide practices and mock exams such that applicants can use for revising topics in the exams. However, as Kaplan Schweser books are mainly for the CFA exam which is written in English (while CISA is conducted in Thai), and is different in terms of exam design; hence, applicants should bear the differences in mind and use the Schweser books as complementary readings for exam revisions.


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