PALM DESERT, Calif.—The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association is in discussions with the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority to establish the first-ever licensing, training and continuing education program for operations executives at financial firms.

Licensing could become effective as early as January 2011. “As our industry grows more complex, the operations staff which manages the processes becomes more important,” said Nyron Latif, managing director at Goldman Sachs and chairman of the 2010 SIFMA operations committee who spoke at the SIFMA ops show here last week.

“The SEC has asked FINRA to review the operations roles important at broker/dealers and wants to extend the concept of certification to operations executives involved with sales and trading support, customer assets and client funds,” Latif said.

The initiative, called Opspluslicensing, is still in its infancy. Neither FINRA, the self-regulatory agency for broker/dealers, nor SIFMA have published details on the licensing program. Latif said it would affect “anyone who touches a customer statement” or deals with regulation. Among those senior-level executives that would be affected are trade confirmation, account statement and margining, prime brokerage and client onboarding.

“Many or most of the segments of your firm’s operations team could fall under the licensing requirements,” Latif said.

Latif said SIFMA, FINRA and the SEC are currently working on the contents of the licensing examination.

Subscribe Now

Access to premium content including in-depth coverage of mutual funds, hedge funds, 401(K)s, 529 plans, and more.

3-Week Free Trial

Insight and analysis into the management, marketing, operations and technology of the asset management industry.