Home > For beginners > Currency trading basics > Forex Certificates

Forex Certificates: for the foreigners to be legal

The term Foreign Exchange Certificates or FEC is commonly known as forex certificates. It can be called a kind of currency which is often used by the government as the surrogated currency of the country. But it is applicable only in those countries that have complied to subject their national currencies to exchange controls. National currency cannot be treated as forex certificates if it is convertible. The countries like USSR, Myanmar, China, North Korea, East Germany, Ghana, Poland, Czechoslovakia and Cuba are some of the countries to have employed forex certificates in the past.

Foreign Exchange Certificates system has been introduced because in many countries it was illegal for the foreigners to keep the currency of that country. Forex certificates could be bought from the tourists' origin country like one does for traveler's cheques. These are issued by the central banks at least at 20% above the value of the national currency of the country you are planning to visit.

In most of the cases, the exchange rate of the forex certificates is higher than the currency of the country itself. This rate is determined by the central bank of that country. The old forex certificates are bought and sold as collectibles. You can visit shopping websites like www.ebay.com and find these certificates available at a particular price. For example, an FEC of 100 Yuan UNC can be purchased for $135.

In order to become a certified Forex broker and/or trader, the interested individual has to jump through various hoops. One of these, of course, is studying for, and clearing, the Forex certification exam, without which you cannot become a licensed Forex trader, anywhere in the country. There is not, as yet, any single standardised test for all Forex traders. The ACI (Association Cambiste Internationale) offers Forex course that might be closest to an international certification. There are also various certification courses implemented by different countries - the FSA in the U.K. and the Series 3 license in the U.S. come closest to a proper certification course for Forex trading in those countries - which serve as qualifications for the Forex brokers of the country.

It should be noted, however, that personal trading on the foreign exchange market requires no qualifications, or certifications. It is only Forex brokers who require proper Forex certification, and even then, sometimes the track record and P/L statements are the best certifications a Forex broker can possess.

This is not to say, however, that proper qualifications go amiss. For aspiring Indian would-be brokers, the best bet is to write the examinations offered by the IBS University, or take the Forex and Treasury Management Course offered by the ICAI (Institute of Chartered Accountants of India): the degree offered would serve as Forex certification, and aid in getting a good position in a prestigious brokerage.

The FTM Course aims to impart in students:

  • An appreciation of the various changes that occur in the global financial market, a solid knowledge of the development of theory and practice that explains and manages the financial risk created by these changes.
  • An understanding of the complex nature of Forex management that will enable them to conquer the foreign exchange market.
  • The ability to identify and evaluate the risks attending trading, because of fluctuating exchange rates.
  • The ability to evaluate and apply alternative methods in managing Forex trading - after all, the Forex broker lives by his wit and must always know how to manage an unprecedented situation.
  • The ability to hedge Forex risks by using Forex derivatives, if and when so required.
  • The ability to swiftly make short-term financial decisions - knowing when to invest and when to cut out are equally important in the dealings of the Forex trader, in whose life a minute's hesitation could make a difference of millions of dollars.
  • The ability to manage interest risk by using Forex derivatives, as also the ability to use bond market instruments and money market instruments.
  • The ability to understand the linkages between the Forex market and the domestic money market, and use those connections to one's benefit - the successful Forex trader concentrates almost exclusively on the currency of a single nation, closely studying its daily fate, and this knowledge helps him reap great profits.
  • An understanding of the ethical issues surrounding money trading, both on domestic and foreign exchange markets - it's easy and tempting to cut corners, but the broker's reputation, and livelihood depends ultimately on his ethic; nobody wants to invest their money with a dishonest man.

The FTM course at ICAI, therefore, is probably the best Indian aspirants can hope for. Not only does it give the student a solid theoretical base - among the papers are the features, development and importance of the Forex market - but it also imparts practical skills which every player on the foreign exchange market requires, be he someone playing with their own funds for their own profit, or a certified broker, high-up on the employment ladder, gambling millions on the market.

Some Trends

FEC is a very popular concept in countries like Myanmar, China and Hong Kong. Sometimes, owing to certain factors, the price of FEC crosses the value of US Dollar. In Myanmar, this happened in January 2010 when Rangoon Foreign Exchange Market marked one US Dollar was equivalent to 1,010 Kyat while existing price of FEC was Kyat 1,025. Difference of 15 units of Kyat was something unprecedented.

One of the reason speculated for this was its high demand in current market. The commodities that need extensive payments like petroleum or any other fuel, SIM cards for the cell phones or tickets of airlines have been made in FEC. FEC of Kyat is useless in foreign countries hence price of FEC had been increased so that people keep it. According to the military regime of Myanmar, there are four denominations of USD is available in FEC-1, 5, 10 and 20. It is also guaranteed that face value of both will be same. Yet, in most of the cases, value of USD remains higher than the forex certificates. Ministry of Communication, Postal and Telegraph of Myanmar have ordered to sell the products like GSM mobile SIM cards and CDMA telephones for coastal-use in FEC.

In China

Forex certificates play an important role in tourism industry. In China, there is no limit to the amount of foreign currency or exchange bills a tourist can bring into the country, provided the amount is declared. But while returning RMB or Renmibi, that is as the Chinese currency is known in China, must be converted back to its original currency. Tourist may required to show the converted amount along with proper forex certificates because a foreigner cannot take more than RMB 600 with him or her back to the country.