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ECSM Certification Programme Testimonials

Testimonial – My journey to Becoming a Licensee
By Rae Atkinson, Licensed Investment Advisor

 “All things are possible” 

 It’s a mind-set – a Reboot – to desire new experiences, challenges, reward; in short – “new life” focusing on a career in an industry somewhat familiar, but moreover, one with significant growth potential for wealth creation and financial inclusion

– how do I achieve my goal to be a participant in the Securities MarketA market regulated by
the Eastern Caribbean Securities Regulatory Commission
(ECSRC) being “a legal body vested with all the powers and characteristics of a body corporate having perpetual succession and a common seal”. 

As an Investment Advisor, a Broker/Dealer, Principal, or Representative, opportunities all exist for bolstering self-development, gaining new experiences, and contributing to the growth of the financial sector, a significant contributor to our GDP. Public awareness to non-traditional sources of wealth creation for business expansion, and personal wealth is seen as added benefits. 

Reaching the age of retirement, and having a banking background, crossing over into the securities market seemed complimentary. The anticipation then was to provide mental stimulation and an elevated awareness for positioning oneself in an industry that provides numerous opportunities for Issuers, Licensees, and investors alike

Market entry then was based on Choice – Attitude – Application; my Tag-line. That is, I needed to make the choice to pursue my goal to become an Investment Advisor – I had to have the right attitude which would be empowering – I had to then dedicate myself to “doing” 

The initial stage of the process in finding the website of the ECSRC was easy. Provided is details of the various cost/fees, requirements, and course outline towards mandatory licensing. Once reviewed however, the task for achieving my goal appeared a little daunting as The Securities Act (2001) “provides for the protection of investors in securities through the Commission by regulating the securities market, exchanges and persons engaged in securities business, and by regulating the public issue of securities and to provide for related matters”

Like most new experiences, there was some anxiety. I found encouragement however from the Commission’s executive and support staff who were extremely helpful in guiding me along the process outlining the self-study and course curriculum, while highly encouraging my participation. Available they always were communicating via emails and telephone relaying the required steps in preparation to sitting the Eastern Caribbean Securities Market (ECSM) certification examination.  The CEO, support staff, lecturers (both for the theory and practical learning) were all highly motivated, encouraging, and attentive portraying the feeling that my interest came first; that my success was their success. Pace of study was at my own discretion. Course material is now all delivered virtually including the exam as the Commission is sensitive to reducing the cost of participation for candidates. The course programme is instructive, accommodating, and encourages participation. Two theory papers are set on the same day followed the next day by one practical exam, remaining flexible on exam dates is convenient to all 

Admittedly, self-doubt is ever present. With the enthusiastic support from the CEO and her supportive colleagues I was able to overcome, noting to myself that a little hard work also helps. Being honest, there was a point during the second exam paper where I thought I was failing – after many hours of study, I experienced fear of failing – it had to be controlled. I knew I had put in the work, so I continued answering the questions trusting that I might have a few minutes for review. I did – probably about ten minutes (none on the first paper) learning on the fly to quickly make note of those questions in doubt. Turned out that out of approximately 8 or 10 questions for review, I made changes only to around 2 or 3 easing my anxiety some, knowing I had done as best as I could.

The Securities Act is detailed and involved – accreditation requires more than a successful examination pass – it requires us to be ‘fit & proper”, maintain the prescribed unencumbered paid-up capital, indemnity insurance, documented submissions of my level of participation, goals, strategies, contribution, and much more 

Here I am. Now licensed by the ECSRC as an Investment Advisor. The journey, although just beginning, is an impactful experience. As a licensed Investment Advisor, I can now join the profession with the aspiration of adding value to the industry. I can also look to building public awareness, confidence and trust exposing investors (potential investors included) to the benefits afforded with portfolio management and diversification; market liquidity; and, wealth creation as our clients set their investment strategies, financial goals, time horizons, and risk tolerance   

I encourage you all to challenge yourself in pursuing licensing in the Securities Market knowing the support granted by the Commission and the goal of not only “New Life”, but also aiding in the development of an industry within its infant and growth life cycle lending to much reward to the Issuers, Licensees and Investors.