by Leo Cullen

Trade finance professionals have traditionally learned their craft on the job. There were, and are, two stages to the learning process:

- the basics: introductory training followed by a period of supervised work, and

- continued professional development: on-the-job experience (trial and error) and seminars, conferences and other group training/learning sessions.

The online training services offered by ICC and Coastline Solutions have, until now, targeted the first stage of this training process - getting the basics right. Thousands of practitioners have used these online training services to build a solid foundation in the fundamentals of trade practice and the rules governing them.

This success, accompanied by a keen interest in more advanced training in the marketplace, has allowed Coastline to expand the scope the training and to concentrate on stage two of the learning process - the professional training of more experienced trade practitioners. Two new online training services have been developed to this end: DC Master and ISP Master.

DC Master, as the name suggests, is advanced training in documentary credit practice. The course content is written by Gary Collyer, Technical Adviser to the ICC Banking Commission. DC Master consists of 12 hours of online training and instruction that examines areas of documentary credit practice that are commonly misapplied and misinterpreted including, among others, silent confirmation, availability and expiry, advance payment credits, exclusions and modifications and assignment of proceeds. The course also offers a detailed review of the function and operation of variations to commercial documentary credits - transferable credits, back-to-back credits and revolving and reinstatement credits.

ISP Master contains over 12 hours of online training and instruction in ISP98, the rules governing the operation of standby letters of credit. The course content was written by Professor James Byrne of the Institute of International Banking Law & Practice (IIBLP) in conjunction with Gary Collyer.

The course starts from first principles - the use of assurances in commercial arrangements, the function of dependent and independent undertakings, the roles of the parties to standby credits and the key terms and conditions used in standbys. It then provides an article-byarticle analysis of the ISP98 rules and gives an overview of the comparable provisions of UCP 600.

The training is very comprehensive and covers areas such as the scope of the rules, obligations of the parties involved, expiry and cancellation of a standby, presentation and examination, transfer and assignment, reimbursement obligations, disposal of documents and syndication/ participation.

Since the courses are delivered online, all trainees receive the same training and are trained to a consistent ICC standard, regardless of their physical location. Each trainee receives access to the training for a year, and the services can be used for both initial training and on-the-job references. A central training administrator within an organization can centrally manage the allocation of access to the training to staff and keep track of progress and results.

Key to both of these training courses are interactive case studies and detailed assessments. Each trainee receives an ICC certificate on completion of each course assessment, indicating his personal results.

In recognition of the depth of the training provided in both DC Master and ISP Master, each trainee qualifies for 12 PDUs towards recertification for the Certified Documentary Credit Specialist (CDCS) accreditation.

Of course, mastering the different areas of trade finance still requires dedication and hard work, but the training offered in these two courses helps ensure that the process takes no longer than necessary.

For more information and a free trial of DC Master and ISP Master go to