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Operations Certificate Programme (OCP)
Attending the course will enable you to:
  • Appreciate the detailed components of the securities trade lifecycle
  • Understand what causes failed trades and what rectifying actions can be taken
  • Comprehend repo and securities lending & borrowing at a detailed level
  • Understand the purposes of numerous income and corporate action event types
  • Appreciate the risks & the controls required to safely process corporate actions
  • Comprehend current regulatory initiatives impacting securities operations
  • Understand the fundamental aspects of OTC derivatives and their processing characteristics
  • Comprehend the purpose and management of collateral for OTC derivatives
  • Appreciate the components comprising the OTC derivative collateral lifecycle
  • Understand the background to regulatory changes for OTC derivatives
  • Comprehend the impact of central clearing on OTC derivatives


Course background


The OCP is an intermediate-level and examined qualification that covers both conceptual and practical aspects of operations, including, but not limited to, securities operations, corporate actions, derivative operations and collateral management over a 4½-day period, plus a 75 multiple-choice question examination on Day 6.

Throughout the course, delegates can expect a significant amount of information to be imparted to them in a structured and logical sequence of key concepts, beyond which the practical aspects of day-to-day operations tasks will be described. Attendance on the OCP is regarded as a demanding, but very rewarding experience, in which delegates’ knowledge will be stretched across a broad spectrum of highly important and challenging operational topics. Furthermore, extremely important and current regulatory initiatives will be described, which impact the processing of both securities and derivatives.

In order to ensure focus and to test the delegates’ understanding of concepts covered, simulations and exercises will be introduced at numerous points during the course. Furthermore, the course director will expand concepts and make connections to prior concepts in order to make the delegates’ understanding as complete as possible.

For those seeking to gain both a broad and an in-depth understanding of operational responsibilities over a number of the most important processing areas, attendance on the OCP is proven to be of great benefit. The course not only reveals the fundamental nature of certain financial products (e.g. derivatives), it also describes the processing steps necessary to maintain control and to prevent errors arising in order to mitigate internal and external processing risks. Additionally, the course describes other major processing tasks (e.g. corporate actions and collateral management) which also contain numerous points of processing risk.

Who should attend?

The course is applicable to delegates from the following types of organisation;

  • Sell-side firms, including investment banks and brokers
  • Buy-side firms, including pension funds, mutual funds, hedge funds, insurance companies, supranational organisations and sovereign wealth funds
  • national and international central securities depositories
  • local and global custodians
  • central banks, stock exchanges and regulators
  • management consultants
  • software companies
  • data vendors

Delegates attending the OCP are typically (but not exclusively) in the following job functions; securities settlement, corporate actions, derivative operations, collateral management, middle office, reconciliation, static data, risk, compliance, accounting and IT.  

In terms of delegates’ operational experience, the course is suitable for those possessing a solid background in operations at either analyst, supervisor or managerial level.

Pre-course reading is provided to ensure candidates acquire a certain fundamental understanding of the subject matter.

Click here to download the latest OCP syllabus.

Course Outline

The Securities Trade Lifecycle

  • Focus on each component in the execution and processing of a securities trade, including trade capture, trade confirmation/affirmation, settlement instructions, failed settlement and reconciliation

Securities Bookkeeping

  • Spotlight on the processing of a variety of transaction types (e.g. buy/sell, repos, securities lending & borrowing, incoming & outgoing collateral, corporate actions), and in particular on the basic accounting for each type, as this facilitates successful reconciliation of securities and cash 

The Securities Trade Lifecycle Simulation

  • This interactive simulation is designed to increase the delegates’ understanding of each securities trade lifecycle component, to appreciate the inter-relationships between each component and to understand the effects of various actions performed by themselves and other parties.  The simulation demands a high degree of internal teamwork and communication with external parties 


  • For many firms, keeping funding costs to a minimum is paramount; the borrowing of cash versus bonds given as collateral is a popular method of minimising funding costs.   This section includes:
    1. Transaction Structure and Mechanics
    2. Market Conventions
    3. Principal Purposes and Drivers
    4. Collateral Issues
    5. Key Features
    6. Specials and GC Repo

The Repo Trade Lifecycle Simulation

  • This simulation requires each delegate to work within a trading firm that executes a repo trade with a counterparty; its purpose is for delegates to confirm/increase their understanding of each repo trade lifecycle component and to understand the effects of their actions.  This section includes:
    1. The Repo Trade Lifecycle Overview
    2. Opening Leg Settlement
    3. Throughout Life of Transaction
    4. Closing Leg Settlement
    5. Updating Books & Records

Other Repo Structures

  • A variety of structures fall within the heading of ‘repo’ and this section introduces a number of the most common types, including:
    1. Sell/Buy-Back
    2. Open Repo
    3. Forward Repo
    4. Tri-party Repo

Securities Lending & Borrowing

  • Equities and bonds owned can be made to generate further revenue if the firm is prepared to lend such securities.   Other firms need to settle sales of securities in a timely fashion, and so such firms become securities borrowers.  This section includes:
    1. Transaction Structures
    2. Principal Purposes & Drivers (Lending & Borrowing)
    3. Legal and Economic Structure
    4. Lender’s Right of Recall
    5. Borrower’s Right of Return
    6. Collateral Issues

Corporate Actions

  • Equity and bond positions (and trades) are impacted by corporate action events; trading positions, settled positions and open trades are all subject to adjustment.  This section includes:
    1. Issuer’s Objectives
    2. Major Processing Steps and Risks
    3. Corporate Actions Lifecycles Overview
    4. Event Type Characteristics & Impacts
    5. Tax on Income Events: Overview 

Regulatory Initiatives Impacting Securities Operations

  • An array of regulatory measures are in process of being introduced to the securities marketplace, which will directly impact how operations areas conduct their activities.  The impact will be felt in areas such as shortened settlement cycles, punishment for failing to deliver securities, communicating settlement instructions to a pan-European IT platform, and reporting of US accounts to US tax authorities. This section includes the following initiatives:
    1. CSD Regulation (CSDR)
    2. Target2 Securities (T2S)
    3. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA)

Derivative Fundamentals

  • This section introduces the subject of derivatives, covering 1) the similarities and differences between exchange-traded derivatives and OTC derivatives, and 2) the elementary characteristics of the main types of derivative.  This section includes:
    1. Definition & Purpose
    2. The Derivatives Marketplace
    3. Basic Derivative Types
    4. Investment Appeal of Derivatives

OTC Derivatives; An Introduction

  • This section focuses on the common features of OTC derivative products and trades, and identifies the similarities and differences compared with the equivalent for securities trades.  This section includes:
    1. The OTC Derivative Product
    2. Notional Principal Amount
    3. Rates & Dates
    4. Settlement
    5. Legal Documentation

OTC Derivative Products & Their Processing Characteristics

  • This section focuses on two particular OTC derivative products, and explains the basic purpose of each product prior to describing their particular characteristics, including their trade processing, settlement and operational requirements.  This section includes:
    1. Introduction
    2. Product Definition & Purpose
    3. Structure & Characteristics
    4. Interest & Premium Calculations
    5. The Trade Lifecycle

Collateral Management for OTC Derivatives

  • The management of collateral relates to mitigation of exposures in OTC derivatives (and other products) and involves a defined series of processing steps. This section introduces collateral management relating to OTC derivatives, and includes:
    1. Risks in OTC Derivatives
    2. How Exposures Arise in OTC Derivatives
    3. Eligible Collateral in OTC Derivatives
    4. Cash & Bond Collateral for OTC Derivatives
    5. Credit Support Annex

The OTC Derivative Collateral Lifecycle

  • The collateral lifecycle is a defined series of steps that typically results in the need for a firm to either give collateral to, or to take collateral from, a counterparty.  This section incorporates a major simulation of 60 – 90 minute duration, and includes:
    1. The Collateral Lifecycle: Overview
    2. Pre-Trading Activity
    3. Trading
    4. Throughout Lifetime of Trade
    5. Trade Termination

Regulatory Change for OTC Derivatives

  • The introduction of an entirely new set of regulatory measures relating to OTC derivatives has an extreme impact on ongoing counterparty exposures, which in turn impacts collateral management.   This section includes:
    1. Background to the Changes
    2. The European Commission and Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform
    3. Trading on Exchanges or Electronic Trading Platforms: Overview
    4. Central Clearing: Overview
    5. Capital Requirements: Overview
    6. Trade Repositories: Overview

Central Clearing & its Impact on Collateral

  • This section focuses on how central clearing will affect both sell-side and buy-side firms, and how both trade processing and collateral processing will be impacted.  This section includes:
    1. Central Clearing Primary Concepts
    2. Central Counterparty Membership Structure
    3. Risk Management within Central Counterparties
    4. Operational Implications of Central Clearing
    5. Cleared versus Uncleared Trades

Central Clearing & Collateral Transformation

  • It is anticipated that many buy-side firms will not possess assets that are eligible from a central clearing perspective, providing sell-side firms with an opportunity to extend their services to clients.  This section includes:
    1. Definition & Purpose
    2. Collateral Transformation Methods
    3. Operational Implications of Collateral Transformation

The OCP comprises 14 sections of topics which are taught over 4½ days.  On the morning of Day 6, delegates sit an examination (consisting of 75 multiple choice questions) in order to gain the qualification.  To enhance understanding of concepts during the course, delegates will be sent pre-course reading.

Furthermore, in order to maximise understanding of concepts during the course, multiple simulations and exercises are run throughout the course and a review session is held after lunch on Day 5. 

Details of the next seminars

Brussels, Belgium
15-21 November 2015


Novotel Brussels Centre Tour Noire
Rue de la Vierge Noire 32
1000 Brussels

Please email education@icmagroup.org to register your interest to attend our next publicly scheduled courses.

Course Fees

This course is conducted at a hotel, but is non-residential, so delegates are responsible for their own accommodation costs and arrangements. Included in the course fee are all lunches, coffee breaks and course materials.  There is a welcome reception on the Sunday evening, which starts at 18:00.

£3,000.00 for ICMA Members and £3,900.00 for non-members

Discounts are available as follows:
2 to 4 candidates – 5% discount each*
5 to 9 candidates – 10% discount each*
10+ candidates - 15% each*

*Please note that discounts are applied by way of a refund to the organisation when registration has closed and the final number of candidates from the firm has been determined.

Course materials will be provided to candidates in electronic format prior to the start of programme. Please ensure that you have access to this document during the course by either printing off a copy or by downloading it on your laptop, iPad or Tablet.

Should you require a hard copy of the course materials, there is a charge for printing off and sending the course materials to the training venue.  Please contact education@icmagroup.org a minimum of two weeks before the course start date for further details on this.

Payment can be made by secure online credit card or by invoice.  Please note that selecting the invoice method will add £50 (administration fee) to the course price.

Contact Details

For other enquiries, please contact David Senior on +44 20 7213 0329 or e-mail education@icmagroup.org.

OCP certificate holders

The names of the successful candidates from previous examinations are included in our list of Certificate holders.

Young Taek (Jerry) Woo

Organisation: Korea Securities Depository (KSD)
Job title: Assistant Manager at Securities Settlement Dept.

Describe what you do on a day to day basis in your job:
My main work is divided into two parts: I monitor the securities (stocks & bonds etc.) settlement process on a daily basis and also operate the settlement system during work time.  In addition to my daily work, we make recommendations to the financial supervisory authority to regulate related law and regulation, if needed.

Reasons for taking the course:

First of all, our co-workers strongly recommended me to register for the OCP course.  Also, I heard that it is a very meaningful course to achieve our career path and our goals.

Benefits of taking this course:
1. Improvement of relevant knowledge of securities industry
2. Experience of foreign country
3. Meeting participants from different countries

Andreas Grimm

Organisation: European Central Bank
Job title: Senior Expert, Financial Operations Services

Describe what you do on a day to day basis in your job:
I work in the Market Operations area of the ECB as part of the Financial Operations Service team and am responsible for the clearing and settlement of the various financial market operations.  My responsibilities cover the activities around the lifecycle of a trade, from trade enrichment, validation, processing, matching and settlement of operations. It includes the different events during the lifetime of a security, i.e. corporate actions, monitoring collateralisations and redemptions.  I have worked for more than five years in the operational area of a central bank.

Reasons for taking the course:
To obtain a systematic overview and understanding of the different operational matters and to enhance further my knowledge about the different financial instruments, their valuations and the best practises and developments in the financial markets.

Benefits of taking this course:

I found the course overall very challenging, but also very interesting and enriching and I have obtained my overall objectives, i.e. to obtain a systematic overview of financial operations and to obtain more knowledge about the different financial instruments, lifecycle of a security and valuations of securities.  I can duly recommend this course to anybody who works in the operational area as it is very thoroughly prepared and a very useful experience.

Björn Eriksson

Organisation: Swedish National Debt Office
Job title: Product Coordinator

Describe what you do on a day to day basis in your job:
I work in the Back Office Department with Business Development, System Management and participate in general projects.

Reasons for taking the course:
To get a greater understanding of the financial industry and a better knowledge of the processes involved and the participants working in the industry.

Benefits of taking this course:

I must say I have a greater understanding of the financial industry and a better knowledge of the processes and the participants in general.

Fabian Cosmann

Organisation: Eurex Bond GmbH
Job title: Vice President

Describe what you do on a day to day basis in your job:
Market and product design for the bond market.
Platform functionality and business development.

Reasons for taking the course:
Number of projects related  to Eurex Clearing; connecting of members to trading platform and CCP; cooperation between product design and clearing/settlement.

Benefits of taking this course:

Basic understanding of clearing/settlement workflows and recognition of certain correlations.


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