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How trade finance qualifications can help you advance your career

30 October, 2020Eleanor James
Aeroplane flying above clouds

Echithran Fernando, Senior Manager, Trade Finance Product at Scotia Bank has completed five out of six LIBF trade finance qualifications. He tells us how he's used that learning to move into different trade finance jobs, travel and level up his career.

It’s rare for an industry to offer an opportunity to live in different countries because of your expertise. But that’s exactly what’s happened to Echithran over his 22-year – and counting – career in trade finance. 

Echithran attributes his success to mastering the technicalities of trade finance, which he achieved by building and demonstrating his knowledge through our qualifications.

“I am a person who loves attention to detail. I love the technicalities in trade finance,” he says. “It’s niche”.

Travelling the world with trade finance

To date in his career, Echithran has worked in four countries, in four different trade finance roles.

Starting in his home country of Sri Lanka, he then headed to the Maldives to work in a trade finance operations role.

Fast forward a few years, Echithran married and moved to Dubai where he took on a training and sales role and his kids were born. Now, he works as a Product Manager for Scotiabank in Toronto.

“I never thought that I’d be in North America and be a Canadian citizen… and still be in trade! But I’m sure I will spend the rest of my career in trade finance. It’s something that I love.”

Building and demonstrating trade finance knowledge

Throughout this career Echithran has balanced study with work. “I love learning and I was hungry to find out more about trade finance and update my skillset.”

The first LIBF qualification he completed was Certified Documentary Credit Specialist (CDCS). “I still remember that day I did the exam – 11 April 2007! Two days after my wedding!” Luckily, Echithran passed first time and was able to enjoy his honeymoon knowing he’d been successful!

CDCS has become an industry benchmark of professionalism since its launch into the market in 1999. It’s a challenging exam so senior managers recognise those who achieve CDCS as people who are willing to apply themselves and work hard. Because of this, CDCS is commonly used to progress and advance trade finance careers.

After CDCS, Echithran completed his Certificate in International Trade Finance (CITF) to improve his knowledge of the products, documents, trade terms, roles and responsibilities that underpin international trade and finance.

Echithran moved onto Certified Specialist in Demand Guarantees (CSDG), before upskilling with:

“These certifications helped me to critically analyse, mitigate risks, advise and provide solutions to our customers and stakeholders,” says Echithran. “The exams helped me a great deal in transaction processing and approving as head of trade finance operations, and in training and product roles.”

By formally documenting his knowledge across a wide range of trade areas, Echithran has been able to move up the career ladder seamlessly.

He now has his sights set on the Advocate programme. This is for people that have recertified five times, demonstrating over 15 years of commitment to enhancing their trade finance knowledge. It establishes them as subject matter experts.

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Find out more about our trade finance qualifications