Registered Persons Examinations (RPE) – Modules of the RPE – SAIFM

According to SAIFM, the Registered Persons Examination (RPE) is intended to provide an introduction to the financial markets for persons wishing to become financial market practitioners and is also ideal for individuals in other spheres of life who wish to obtain background knowledge to enhance their career prospects.

The instruments, processes, and activities on the regulated exchanges as well as the over-the-counter (OTC) markets are covered. The RPE ensures wide accessibility and has, therefore, no formal prerequisites. Good basic knowledge of English and Mathematics will, however, be an advantage.

Registered Persons Examinations (RPE) - SAIFMThe South African Institute of Financial Markets (SAIFM) is a non-profit voluntary association established to promote professionalism and integrity among members and the financial markets as a whole and is registered as a professional body in terms of the National Qualifications Act.”

Table of Contents

Modules of the RPE

The RPE comprises of various modules. Candidates can make up a basket of modules according to the requirements of the exchange for the specific function they wish to perform.

Not all modules enjoy the same recognition by regulatory authorities and care should be taken when choosing the correct modules for the intended purpose, e.g. a candidate employed by an equities member of the JSE Limited that wants to provide advice to clients should select the module called “The Equity Market” in addition to the compulsory modules.

There are eight modules of the RPE:

  1. The Regulation and Ethics of the South African Financial Markets (Compulsory module)
  2. Introduction to the Financial Markets (Compulsory module)
  3. The Equity Market (Elective module)
  4. The Bond Market (Elective module)
  5. The Derivatives Market (Elective module)
  6. The South African Money Market (Elective module)
  7. The South African Foreign Exchange Market (Elective module)
  8. Agricultural Products Market Dealers Examination (Elective module)

Each module is individually assessed (examined) and has its learning material. There is no restriction as to the order in which examinations should be taken i.e. it is not required that you be declared competent (pass) in the compulsory modules before continuing with the elective modules.

However, for those who are new to the financial markets, it is advisable to do the Introduction to Financial Markets Module before attempting the Regulations and Ethics of the South African Financial Markets.

The modules that you choose to write should be dependent on which modules are required for the specific function you wish to perform. According to our understanding thereof, the combination requirements in terms of the exchanges’ directives and the FSCA requirements are set out under

  •  ➡ Recognition of Exams here.
Please take note that SAIFM cannot accept responsibility for advising you on which exams you must do. The relevant exchange, FSCA or your company’s compliance officer must be consulted.

Syllabus Outline

The Regulation and Ethics of the South African Financial Markets (May 2015 edition)

  • Regulation and the role of various regulators
  • The Financial Markets Act
  • Credit Rating Services Act
  • Enforcement
  • Financial advisers and other intermediaries
  • Conflicts of interest
  • Corporate Governance and King III
  • Ethics as contained in the code of conduct of SAIFM

Introduction to Financial Markets (July 2019 edition)

  • The financial system
  • The economy
  • Time value of money
  • Introduction to statistical concepts
  • The foreign exchange market
  • The money market
  • The bond and long-term debt market
  • The equity market
  • The commodities market
  • The derivatives market
  • Investment instruments
  • Introduction to Portfolio Theory 
  • Portfolio management
  • Taxes, costs and fees

The Equity Market (October 2019 edition)

  • Equity
  • Equity markets
  • Johannesburg Stock Exchange
  • Strate
  • Equity derivatives
  • Private Equity
  • Fundamental analysis I – the process  
  • Fundamental analysis II – analysis of financial statements
  • Equity valuation
  • Technical analysis
  • Equity portfolio management strategies

The Bond Market (July 2019 edition)

  • The essence of the bond market
  • Borrowers in the bond market (supply of bonds)
  • Instruments of the bond market
  • Investors in bonds (demand for bonds)
  • The Exchange: JSE Debt Market
  • Bond market mathematics 
  • Bond rate time series and term structure of interest rates  
  • Managing bond portfolios
  • Historical development of the bond market in South Africa

The Derivatives Market (October 2017 edition)

  • The derivatives market in context
  • Forwards
  • Futures
  • Swaps
  • Options
  • Other derivative instruments

The South African Money Market (January 2017 edition)

  • An overview of the money market
  • Money market mathematics
  • Treasury bills
  • South African Reserve Bank debentures
  • Negotiable certificates of deposit
  • Repurchase agreements
  • Other money market instruments
  • Money market derivatives

The Forex Market (July 2018 edition)

  • International monetary economics
  • Exchange rate regimes
  • The exchange rate
  • Exchange rate theories
  • The structure of the foreign exchange market
  • The participants in the foreign exchange market
  • The spot foreign exchange market
  • Foreign exchange derivative instruments
  • Investing and trading in the foreign exchange market
  • South African foreign exchange control

Agricultural Products Market Dealers Exam (June 2013 edition)

  • The fundamentals of the agricultural market in South Africa and the products traded
  • The origin and development of commodity derivatives markets
  • Forwards in the commodity derivatives market
  • Futures in the commodity derivatives market
  • Commodity swaps
  • Options in the commodity derivatives market
  • Practical applications of commodity futures and options
  • Aspects of trading and governance in the commodity derivatives market (CDM)
  • The principal elements underlying the determination of commodity prices in the market

Exam Format

Assessment methodology

Formative assessment

The self-test questions (formative assessments) at the end of each chapter of the learning material are designed to help candidates master the outcomes specified at the beginning of each chapter. The format of the self-test questions differs from the format of the summative assessment (exam) and this should be kept in mind when reading the material.

Summative assessment (Exam)

The summative assessment (exam) will take the form of a multiple-choice set of questions that have been designed to assess whether the candidate has mastered the required outcomes. Each multiple-choice question contains a key (correct answer or statement/s) and certain distracters (incorrect answers or statements). The drafter of multiple-choice questions strives to make the distracters appear plausible i.e. they look correct to a person who did not read the material properly, but they are actually incorrect. The average learner should thoroughly study the material at least 3 times and do the self-test questions before attempting the summative assessment.

Examination specifications

Duration: 1 hour
Number of questions: 50
Competency (Pass) mark: 70%
No negative marking.

The system will keep time following the downloading speed of a particular Internet connection. In other words, no time will be lost if the download is slower than normal. An eye should be kept on the timer displayed at the right-hand corner of the Examination Title Screen to keep track of time. If the time runs out, the examination will automatically terminate and the score will be calculated.

The system is specifically designed to save any questions submitted so that in the case of a power failure or internet interruption, no data will be lost. In the event of a candidate not being able to continue the exam within a reasonable period due to a power failure or internet interruption, the exam must be abandoned. The questions already answered will be deleted and a new appointment must be made to retake the exam from the start.

In the event of any delay in starting or any interruption of the exam, the candidate is entitled to reschedule the exam appointment. In the case of a decision to wait for the cause of the delay to be resolved and start or carry on with the exam, there can be no recourse taken against SAIFM should the outcome of the exam not be a pass.

Examination procedure

Log in with the identity number or passport number that was used to enrol. Please leave out all alphabetical spacing symbols (-) and spaces.

  • Select the examination that will be taken.
  • The invigilator at the testing centre will unlock the exam session.
  • The Exam Title Page and instructions will be displayed.

Navigation bar

The navigation bar has the following options:

Back: Regress to the previous question without submitting an answer to the current question.

Submit: Saves the answer selected for the current question and continues to the next question.

Progress indicator: Shows the list of questions that have already been answered. To change the answer to a question that has already been answered, select the question number in the dropdown box below the progress window and select “GO”.

Leave unanswered: Allows a candidate to change an already answered question back to unanswered.

Review answers: Once the end of the examination has been reached and there is still some time left, the options to Submit Answers as Final or Review Answers will display. Selecting Review Answers will revert to the start of the exam to enable the candidate to browse each question and view the answers selected. At any stage during the review, and while there is still time available, any answers given can be changed. The navigation dropdown box can also be used to go to the end of the exam to submit answers as final

Final submission of answers: Once the end of the examination has been reached and there is still some time left, the options to Submit Answers as Final or Review Answers will display. Once the Submit Answers as Final option has been selected, the final score will be calculated and no further changes to answers will be possible.

Revision of incorrect answers: Upon completion of your exam once the results have been obtained, you will be allowed 10 minutes to review the questions and answers that you had wrong. This is the only time that will be available for you to review your incorrect answers and you will not be able to review them at a later stage.

Formula Sheets and Calculators

Formula sheets

Formula sheets are only available to candidates who are writing the following modules:

  • Introduction to Financial Markets
  • The Bond Market
  • The Derivatives Market
  • The Money Market
  • Agricultural Products Division

A formula sheet will be presented to the candidate upon request, which must be made to the invigilator before the exam begins.

Should a candidate not request a formula sheet for the relevant exam, there can be no recourse taken with SAIFM should the outcome of the exam not be a pass.

Candidates may not take their formula sheets to the exam venue.


A candidate must take their scientific calculator that complies with the criteria of being non-programmable if the exam requires calculations. Most exam venues do have spare calculators in the case of a candidate forgetting to bring one but it is not guaranteed that the venue will be able to supply one.

Enrolment and Payment


Enrollment takes place online via the SAIFM Virtual Exam Centre. To create or update a profile, select Enrol and enter an identity or passport number. If the database contains information linked to the identity or passport number, the information will display and any changes can be updated. If no information is linked to the identity or passport number, the required information must be completed.

Time limits within which exams must be taken

Exams must be taken within 6 months of the date of payment. After 6 months, the right to take the assessment lapses and no refunds will be made. Should a candidate wish to take the exam after 6 months, the exam will have to be repurchased.

Purchase the exam by credit card

The exam(s) can be purchased by adding them to the shopping basket at the Virtual Exam Centre and proceeding to a checkout to pay by credit card through the secure credit card facility.

Access to the learning material will be automatic after the payment has been made.

Purchase the exam by cash, cheque or electronic transfer

SAIFM staff cannot accept cash payments. Any cash payment should therefore be deposited into the SAIFM bank account by the candidate.

The following procedure applies when paying by cash, cheque or electronic transfer (EFT):

  • Proof of the payment (stamped bank deposit slip or EFT confirmation) must be sent to SAIFM via email to either Hayley Pfeifer or Susan Jansen van Rensburg.
  • The candidate’s name, ID number and title(s) of the exam(s) to be purchased must be noted on the email.
  • Confirmation that SAIFM has received proof of payment should be made telephonically (011 802 4768) once emailed.
  • Loading an exam is not automatic as is the case with credit card transactions and can take up to 2 business days for SAIFM staff to process.

It is very important to note that if the above procedure is not followed correctly, the exam(s) may not be loaded. Candidates should NOT instruct the bank to automatically email the payment if paying via EFT. It is advisable to forward the proof of payment to SAIFM once you have received it from the bank with the required details, thus ensuring it has been correctly done.

Payments made by employers

Should an invoice be required before a payment can be made, an email request can be sent to Hayley Pfeifer or Susan Jansen van Rensburg. The following information must be supplied when requesting an invoice:

  • Name of company
  • Address of company
  • VAT number of company
  • Name(s) of candidate(s) (Note all candidates must have their information registered on the Virtual Exam Centre before an invoice will be issued)
  • ID or Passport number of the candidate
  • Exams(s) required for the candidate(s)

Once payment has been made, the procedure as outlined above should be followed.

Cheques referred to drawer

Cheques that are referred to the drawer by the bank will be subject to such fees that the bank may charge.

Banking details

The SA Institute of Financial Markets

  • Bidvest Bank
  • Account No: 1557 0709 401
  • Branch Code: 462005
  • Account Type: Business Account


Exams loaded can be checked by logging onto the Virtual Exam Centre using the identity or passport number that was used when enrolling. It is advisable to confirm registration in all cases where a credit card payment was not used.

Learning Material

Each module is designed to be a self-study workbook. It contains all the information necessary to pass the examination.

Activities at the end of each chapter are meant to enrich the learning process and to make it more meaningful. They are entirely voluntary and can be skipped if desired. Activities are recommended however as they familiarise one with certain websites that serve as sources of information, enabling one to learn how to research information independently. This is a valuable skill to have once qualified as a securities market practitioner.

Candidates must ensure that the correct learning material is being studied. SAIFM cannot be held responsible if the incorrect learning material is used. The latest edition is stated next to the name of each exam (see Syllabus Outline below).

Accessing the learning material

The learning material can be downloaded from the Virtual Exam Centre once the exam has been paid for. If the purchase takes place by credit card through the secure e-commerce facility, the learning material will be available immediately. In the case of payment by electronic transfer, the exam will be loaded by SAIFM staff within 2 business days of confirmation of receiving the faxed or e-mailed proof of payment.

Once the exam has been purchased, the learning material will be available for download until the exam has either been taken or the six months (see time limits within which exams must be taken) have elapsed.

SAIFM can download and print the learning material on behalf of candidates who do not have access to a printer. Such hard copies may be purchased once the exam has been paid for.


Learning material is amended from time to time.

If the learning material is replaced with an updated version that affects the exams or new learning material, notice will be given to registered candidates of the changeover to the new exam. This fact will also be advertised on both and Candidates may therefore, before the changeover date, write an exam based on the old material while the new material will be examined from the changeover date. The new book will be e-mailed to learners on request from the date of notice until the changeover date.

Strict email filters and incorrectly supplied addresses could hinder delivery of notifications and SAIFM cannot guarantee that email notifications are always delivered. Candidates are thus advised to check the SAIFM website for notices that may affect learning material before booking to write an exam.

Should a candidate study from the incorrect learning material and notices regarding updates have been published, there can be no recourse taken against SAIFM.

Exam Dates and Booking for Exams

Once a candidate has studied the learning material and is ready to take the exam, the exam venue of choice can be contacted directly to book an appointment.

Should a candidate prefer to take the exam manually (i.e. not online), the arrangements must be made directly with SAIFM. Hayley Pfeifer or Susan Jansen van Rensburg can assist in this regard.

First-time candidates are advised to take the demo exam before doing the exam to become familiar with the format and feel of the exam. The demo exam has no bearing whatsoever on the learning material. It is simply a fun tutorial for the exam system.

Candidates are required to present an identity document or passport when taking the exam and will not be allowed to take the exam if no official identification is presented. Candidates are also required to sign the SAIFM attendance register, which will be kept at each exam venue.


Should a candidate dispute the correctness of a question or questions, an appeal against the final result can be made by completing and submitting the appeal request form along with proof of payment of the appeal fee, which must be done within 14 days of the exam. Although the appeal form requests details of the question disputed, such information doesn’t have to be provided, as the whole paper is re-marked to check for errors.

Should it be found that the question/s was, in fact, incorrect, credit for the question/s, if necessary, will be awarded and the appeal fee will be repaid. To download the appeal request form, click here.

Results and Certificates

In the case of an online exam, the results will be available immediately upon completion of the exam and a printout made thereof. This will be proof of the result of a particular module with the score indicated on the printout.

Results of a manual multiple-choice exam can take up to 5 business days to be released.

A certificate will be printed and posted to the address provided within 6 – 8 weeks of passing each module. Arrangements to collect certificates as opposed to receiving them via post can be made with Hayley Pfeifer.

Lost certificates can be reprinted at a cost.

Certificates are only printed for candidates who have written and passed the modules. Candidates who receive an exemption for certain modules are not entitled to receive certificates for the modules in which they have been granted an exemption.


The cost of each module of the Registered Persons Exams is R2135-00 (Inc. VAT). This allows for:

  • One opportunity to take the exam within the six-month time limit (see the time limit below within which exams must be taken).
  • Access to download the learning material until the exam has either been taken or lapsed (see the time limit below within which exams must be taken).
  • Access to purchase a hard copy of the learning material until the exam has either been taken or lapsed (see the time limit below within which exams must be taken).

Should the exam need to be retaken, the cost is R2135-00 (Inc. VAT) effective 1 August 2019.

Note that our prices increase on 1 August each year. If payment is made before 1 August but proof thereof is not sent and confirmed received by SAIFM by 1 August, when prices increase, the new price will be applicable.

Special Exam Procedure Concessions

If you require any special assessment procedure concessions due to disability, or for any other reasons, please contact Christie-Anne van Wyngaardt at to make special arrangements to accommodate you.

Practice Exams

The Regulation and Ethics of the S.A. Financial Markets and Introduction to Financial Markets

The Practice Exams for The Regulation and Ethics of the S.A. Financial Markets and the Introduction to Financial Markets modules are intended to enhance learning and provide candidates with a formative assessment tool whereby their progress can be gauged reliably and at the same time provide a learning aid to improve their knowledge and understanding of the learning material.

It is NOT intended to coach learners who do not have adequate knowledge and understanding of the learning material through the summative assessment (real exam). SAIFM disapproves of such practices, especially in the case of a licensing exam such as the RPE.

The practice exam will replicate the real exam (summative assessment) in format, style, marking facility and review function. The questions will be in the same style covering the same outcomes as the summative assessment (real exam).

The feature we believe will add the most value is the feedback from the learning material that will be displayed in the review function for questions answered incorrectly. Learners will thus understand where they went wrong.

Also, learners who are unnerved by the computer-based format of the RPE- exams will also be considerably calmer when attempting the real exam since they are now used to the format.

Learners will be entitled to try the exam three times and an hour will be granted to review and read the feedback on incorrect questions.

The cost of the Practice Exam is R1188-00 (Inc. VAT), effective 1 August 2019, and can be purchased online with a credit card at, or via EFT. 

Note that you may only purchase the Practice Exam if you have already purchased the real exam. There are currently only practice exams available for the Regulations of the SA Financial Markets module and the Introduction to Financial Markets module.


The Directives of the JSE provide for exemptions for the Registered Persons Exam modules by the following qualifications (exempt modules indicated by a tick)

Regulation and Ethics of the SA Financial Market
Introduction to Financial Markets
The Equity Market
The Bond Market
The Derivatives Market
Securities and Investment Institute – Certificate in Securities

FSA Recognition (must be current)

Securities and Investment Institute – Certificate in Securities and Financial Derivatives

Securities and Investment Institute – Certificate in Derivatives

SAIFM Dealer Certificate (SAFEX Junior, Ordinary and/or Senior Certificates)

The abovementioned exemptions apply only for JSE purposes and will not be applicable for FSB FAIS.
To apply for exemption, please email or to request an application form.


The following non-negotiable conditions apply to refunds. It is automatically assumed that these conditions have been read and understood when we receive a refund request.

  • Refunds can ONLY be made into a South African or Namibian bank account.
  • All refunds are subject to a 20% administration fee.
  • Refund requests must be submitted on or before the exact expiry date of the exam (see time limits above).
  • Refunds can only be paid to the person/company that originally made the payment.

The following information is required for the refund to be processed. (Note: if all of the information is not received or is incorrect, the refund will not be processed)

  • Name of learner
  • ID or passport number
  • Title of exam(s)
  • Name of the account holder
  • Name of bank
  • 6-digit branch code
  • Account number
  • Type of account (i.e. savings, current, etc.)

To request a refund, please email the required information to

Time limits

Exams must be taken within 6 months of the date of payment. After 6 months, the right to take the exam lapses and no refunds will be made. Should a candidate wish to take the exam after 6 months, the exam will have to be repurchased.

It is advisable to purchase exams one at a time to prevent forfeiting any fees paid due to time constraints that may arise as a result of unforeseen circumstances.


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