In March 2014, an updated version of a leading qualification for international trade professionals was launched to more than 70 attendees from some of the world’s most prominent organisations within the industry, at an event in London.
The event was held to celebrate the re-launch of the Certificate in International Trade and Finance (CITF®) qualification and to provide insight into emerging trends within the global trade industry.
CITF®, which has been jointly developed by financial education body ifs University College and the International Chambers of Commerce (ICC), is a professional qualification for trade, export and import and commodity professionals, who need to gain a broad introduction to the rules and regulations of trade finance. Its re-launch has been designed to keep the next generation of wide-ranging global trade professionals, from trade associates and analysts to document examiners and transaction professionals, up to date in a rapidly changing and expanding sector.
Comprising of one mandatory unit, CITF® has been developed in consultation with trade finance experts from across the world and covers key concepts including guarantees and standby credits; ICC international model contracts; the trade environment and role of ICC and the nature of financial, commercial and transport documents used in international trade risk.
The launch event, which was hosted by ifs University College alongside partners ICC and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), began with a formal introduction of the qualification, followed by keynote speeches from Chief Executive of the UK Financial Services Investment Organisation (UKTI), Sue Langley, and Chair of the ICC Banking Commission, Kah Chye Tan and a panel discussion about the role of qualifications in improving standards in the global trade industry.
Sue Langley began the speeches by delivering a presentation on how we can achieve the right environment for sustainable growth, concluding that there is very much a robust environment for international trade within the UK, with the clear message that “Britain is open for business”. London, Sue said, is particularly well-placed to help develop international trade links by taking its professionals’ expertise overseas to help promote emerging trends in the developing world, such as micro-insurance. The key, Sue argued will be to encourage UK companies to develop their own relationships overseas.
Sue’s address was followed by Kah Chye Tan, Managing Director, JPMorgan Chase and Chair, ICC Banking Commission, who added to these earlier thoughts with his own insight. Kah Chye stated that in his view, the international trade industry can be viewed as being half-full and half-empty simultaneously. Half-full because world trade is growing by 15 per cent year on year, of which trade finance has been hugely important; half-empty because financial markets remain volatile and, because of this, compliance is on the increase. In an ever-changing environment, there is more competition and more of an onus on personal responsibility for adhering to industry regulations. The importance of training professionals in international trade finance will therefore become evermore important, particularly as the value of the industry is set to grow to $30tn by 2020.
The evening concluded with an informative panel discussion with representatives from ifs University College, ICC and EBRD who put Sue and Kah Chye’s analysis into the context of professional standards and the role of qualifications within this area. It was agreed that qualifications will become increasingly important in helping professionals to gain the skills and technical knowledge they will require in their day-to-day roles. Similarly, there will be a growing need to provide a credible educational standard in the industry, which will level the playing-field, helping to support the next generation of trade finance professionals.
The re-launch of CITF® was not the first partnership between ifs University College and ICC in the area of international trade, following the launch of the Certificate for Specialists in Demand Guarantees (CSDG) and the Certificate for Documentary Credit Specialists (CDCS®) respectively. Following the success of these qualfications, the interest from professionals in registering for the qualifications and the rapid growth of international trade finance, it is unlikely to be the last.
Registrations for the next exam in October 2014 will open from 1 April until 4 August this year. The qualification costs £460, with an international booking fee of £55 if registering from abroad. The cost includes a printed study text, access to a student handbook and specimen examination paper.