The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association is in discussions with the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority to establish the first training, licensing and continuing education program for operations executives at financial firms.

Licensing could become effective in January. "As our industry grows more complex, the operations staff, which manages the processes, becomes more important," said Nyron Latif, managing director at Goldman Sachs and chairman of the 2010 Sifma operations committee. Latif spoke at the Sifma ops show in Palm Desert, Calif., on Wednesday and Thursday.

"The SEC has asked Finra to review the operations roles important at broker-dealers and wants to extend the concept of certification to operations executives involved with sales and trading support, customer assets and client funds."

The Opspluslicensing initiative is still in its infancy. Neither Finra, the self-regulatory agency for broker-dealers, nor Sifma has published details on the program. Latif said it would affect "anyone who touches a customer statement" or deals with regulation. Latif said Thursday that he expected the training, licensing and continuing education program to be in place by or around January.

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