PGDM 311017


pgpsm final


This is with reference to NISM/Certification/Series-IV: IRD/2010/1 dated May 18, 2010, specifying that NISM-Series-IV: Interest Rate Derivatives Certification Examination (NISM-Series-IV: IRD Examination) as the requisite standard for the approved users and sales personnel of the ‘Trading members’ who are registered as such in the Currency Derivatives Segment of a recognized stock exchange and trading in Interest Rate Derivatives.

The examination is being offered to the candidates since May 20, 2010. In order to incorporate the market changes, NISM had initiated the process of updating the NISM-Series-IV: IRD Examination. In this context, NISM will be launching the updated NISM-Series-IV: IRD Examination with effect from August 21, 2013.

The NISM-Series-IV: IRD Examination in its current format (as per the existing workbook) will be available to the candidates till August 20, 2013 and will be replaced by the updated examination (as per the revised workbook) from August 21, 2013. Effective August 21, 2013, the current examination ceases to exist and only the revised examination will be available to the candidates.

Details of the updated examination can be downloaded from the websites of NISM, NSE, BSE and MCX-SX.

Details of the updated NISM-Series-IV: Interest Rate Derivatives Certification Examination are given in Annexure-I and Annexure-II of this communiqué/press release.

The text of these Annexures and the registration details are available at


G. P. Garg
National Institute of Securities Markets

Enclosures: Annexure I and II


Annexure I – Syllabus Outline (w.e.f. August 21, 2013)

NISM-Series-IV: Interest Rate Derivatives Certification Examination



Objective of the Examination

The examination seeks to create a common minimum knowledge benchmark for the approved users and sales personnel of the ‘Trading Members’ who are registered as such in the Currency Derivatives Segment of a recognized  stock exchange and trading in Interest Rate Derivatives.

On successful completion of the examination the candidate should:

  • Know the basics of fixed income securities markets and specifically interest rate derivative markets in Indian and developed world
  • Understand the analytical framework required for Bond Futures market in India along with trading and hedging strategies involved
  • Understand the clearing, settlement and risk management as well as the operational mechanism related to interest rate derivatives markets
  • Know the regulatory environment in which the interest rate derivatives markets operate in India.

Examination Specifications

This is a computer-based examination with multiple choice questions.

The examination is for a total of 100 marks consisting of 100 questions of 1 mark each.

The examination should be completed in 2 hours.

There shall be negative marking of 25% of the marks assigned to a question.

The passing score for the examination is 60 marks.


Syllabus Outline with Weightages

Chapter No. 

Chapter Name

Weightages (Effective from August 21, 2013)


Fixed-Income and Debt Securities - Introduction



Interest Rate - Introduction



Return and Risk Measures for Debt Securities



Interest Rate Derivatives



Contract Specification for Interest Rate Derivatives



Trading, Clearing, Settlement and Risk Management



Regulations and Compliance



Trading and Hedging
























Annexure II – Test Objectives (w.e.f. August 21, 2013)

NISM-Series-IV: Interest Rate Derivatives Certification Examination


Unit 1: Fixed-income or Debt Securities – Introduction

1.1        Overview of financial markets and grouping of markets based on asset type

1.2        Overview of fixed-income securities and economic role of debt markets

1.3        Know the classification of fixed-income securities based on cash flow pattern, tenor, etc.

1.4        Understand the difference between fixed-income security and fixed-return security

1.5        Debt securities versus equity securities, debt market and equity market as components of capital market

1.6        Explain the importance of debt market for the economic development of a country and know the relative size of debt and equity markets globally and in India

Unit 2: Interest Rate – Introduction

2.1        Understand the concept of interest rate and interest rate as rent on money

2.2        Explain the importance of risk-free interest rate as the basis and benchmark for all valuations and differentiate between risk-free interest rate and risky interest rate

2.3        Understand term structure (yield curve), its shape, shifts and interpretation

2.4        Understand the conversion of interest rate into interest amount: effect of payment frequency, compounding frequency, day count basis and business day adjustment

2.5        Explain the concept of accrued interest

Unit 3: Return and Risk Measures for Debt Securities

3.1        Define spot rate (or zero rate) and holding period return

3.2        Define and calculate various measures of return: coupon, current yield, yield-to-maturity

3.3        Describe the relation between spot rate, bond price and yield-to-maturity

3.4        Define and calculate various measures of risk: Macaulay Duration, Modified Duration, Rupee Duration, Price value of a basis point (PVBP) and Convexity

Unit 4: Interest Rate Derivatives

4.1        Define derivatives and discuss economic role of derivatives

4.2        Distinguish between bond derivatives and interest rate derivatives with specific reference to features and risks addressed by them

4.3        Differentiate between features of Over-The-Counter (OTC) and Exchange-traded derivatives

4.4        Timeline of derivatives markets in India

Unit 5: Contract Specification for Interest Rate Derivatives

5.1        Know the underlying assets of permissible interest rate derivative contracts in India

5.2        Know the market lot / contract amount, contract months, expiry dates of exchange traded derivatives contracts

5.3        Understand tick size and its relation to the minimum change in the contract value

5.4        Describe the procedure for determining the daily settlement price and final settlement price

5.5        Discuss the delivery aspects of interest rate derivatives contracts including conversion factor, invoice amount, cheapest-to-deliver bond

Unit 6: Trading, Clearing, Settlement and Risk Management

6.1        Describe in brief the process flow of clearing and settlement

6.2        Understand margining and mark-to-market under SPAN

6.3        Understand the risk management measures like SPAN, value-at-risk and scenario analysis

6.4        Describe and differentiate the process of cash settlement and physical settlement

6.5        Understand the peculiarities of physical settlement in bond futures like the settlement period versus the trading period, notice of settlement, physical delivery through electronic book entry system of SGL A/c with RBI and timeline for various actions in the physical settlement process

6.6        Understand operational guidelines of Exchanges

6.7        List and discuss various order types permissible on the exchanges

Unit 7: Regulations and compliance

7.1        Know the role of various regulators in bond and interest rate derivatives market

7.2        Discuss the restrictions and limits applicable to resident and non-resident investors

7.3        List the regulatory reporting requirements for RBI-supervised entities

7.4        Briefly discuss the accounting aspects of interest rate derivatives

Unit 8: Trading and Hedging

8.1        Explain speculative / trading strategies with suitable examples

8.2        Explain Hedging strategies for managing interest rate risk in loans and bond investments like by adjusting the Duration with futures

8.3        List and describe risks associated with futures: basis risk, yield curve spread risk and market liquidity risk 

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