Client Advisor Competency Standards (CACS)


The Private Banking Code of Conduct (PB Code) was launched in April 2011. The PB Code sets out standards of good practice on competency and market conduct expected of private banks. Please refer to www.abs.org.sg for a copy of the PB Code.

Under the PB Code, private banking professionals (or “Covered Persons”) are expected to pass a common competency assessment called the Client Advisor Competency Standards (CACS) before they provide any financial advice. The Institute of Banking and Finance (IBF) has been appointed the Administrator for the CACS. The CACS takes effect from 1 September 2011.

CACS Assessment

The CACS is intended to broaden and deepen the capabilities of these professionals in the provision of comprehensive private banking services. The CACS will assess the knowledge dominant competencies of Covered Persons in the areas of market conduct and product knowledge.

The CACS is organized as a two-paper assessment: Paper 1 will cover concepts on Wealth Management Legislations, Regulations and Industry Codes of Practice; whilst Paper 2 will cover concepts on Wealth Management Industry and Product Knowledge.

The Assessment will comprise multiple-choice questions, and include both questions testing concepts, as well as computations. Candidates will have to pass BOTH Papers in order to be deemed to have passed CACS. An outline of the scope of coverage/assessment structure of the two Papers is summarized below.

CACS Assessment Content

Paper 1 : Legislations, Regulations & Industry Codes of Practice
- Overview of the Private Banking Business
- Marketing Activities and Client Acquisition
- KYC and Understanding Client's Needs
- Developing Solutions and Advising Clients
- Obtaining Client's Agreement and Implementation
- Monitoring and Reviewing Client's Portfolios
- Wealth Transfer and Succession Planning for Private Banking Clients

Paper 2 : Industry & Product Knowledge
- Investment Concepts - Risk and Return
- Portfolio Management
- Fixed Income and Equity Securities
- Options, Futures, Foreign Exchange and Swaps Contracts
- Structured Products
- Unit Trust and Fund Products
- Alternative Investment Products and Services
- Using Credit and Leverage

CACS Assessment Structure



Number of Questions

Total Marks


Time (Hr)


Passing Mark



Case Study


CACS Paper 1


5 (each comprising 3 MCQ questions)




CACS Paper 2


12 (each comprising 3 MCQ questions)







The duration of Paper 1 is 1.5 hour and the duration of Paper 2 is 2 hours.

Preparing for the CACS

Candidates are expected to have prepared themselves adequately for the assessment through the use of the CACS study guide.

Once a Covered Person has been successfully registered for the CACS, each CACS-candidate will receive an email confirmation of their assessment session, as well as a link to access an electronic version of the CACS study guide (CACS e-book). Details on the features and functions of the CACS study guide are available at the following link. (see FAQ Q30). Hardcopy CACS study guides are chargeable at $50 each.

CACS Assessment Fees

The following table outlines the applicable fees for the CACS assessment before GST.

Please note that there may be other administrative charges incurred for CACS, e.g. for purchase of the hardcopy CACS study guide, or for any requests to re-schedule assessment dates.

CACS Assessment Fees per Paper (IBF Member) Fees per Paper (Non Member)
First Attempt $300 $350
Subsequent Attempt $225 $275

Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

As provided under the PB Code, all Covered Persons are expected to achieve a minimum of 15 hours of CPD in each calendar year. The CPD requirement will take effect from 1 March 2013 onwards. For a Covered Person who passes CACS prior to 1 March 2013, the CPD obligation under the PB Code for Year 2013 will be 12 hours of CPD. The CPD obligation from Year 2014 onwards will be 15 hours of CPD per year. If a Covered Person passes the CACS on or after 1 March 2013, the CPD obligation under the PB Code will be pro-rated as set out in paragraph 3.1.3 under the Competency Section of the PB code.


If you have any queries relating to CACS, please refer to our FAQ. If you should still need any further assistance, please email us at cacs@ibf.org.sg