Guiding Opinions on Promoting the Building of Education Centers for Securities and Futures Investors and Application Guidelines for the First Group of Investor Education Centers are hereby released with immediate effect.
China Securities Regulatory Commission
September 8, 2015
Guiding Opinions on Promoting the Building of Education Centers for Securities and Futures Investors
The following guiding opinions on promoting the building of investor education centers (“center” in certain context), formulated in accordance with the directives of the Opinions of the State Council on Further Promoting the Sound Development of the Capital Market (Guo Fa  No. 17) and Opinions of the General Office of the State Council on Further Strengthening the Protection of the Lawful Rights and Interests of Small and Medium Investors in the Capital Market (Guo Fa  No. 110), are hereby issued to regulate and promote investor education centers, enhance their educational effectiveness, and improve investor education services.
I. General Requirements
(I)Definition. Investor education center refers to any physical sites, online platforms or other vehicles that provide investor education services such as basic securities and futures literacy, risk warning and information services to the general public. Due to their importance as a platform for investor education, investor education centers may be built and operated by the following three types of entities: (1) securities and futures exchanges, industry associations, and specialized agencies that are under the management of CSRC and are providing public facilities or services to the securities and futures markets; (2) commercial entities offering securities- and futures-based products and services, listed companies, non-listed public companies and securities and futures intermediaries; and (3) other organizations such as education and research institutions and the media.
(II)Functions and Objectives. Investor education centers are to organize a wide range of educational activities, display the progress of the capital market, offer investor education products, and provide investor consultancy services. They should also engage investors through experiential and interactive activities, and cultivate a sophisticated investor base by providing centralized, systematic, sustained and expedient lessons to help investor learn about securities and futures, understand investment risks and related preventive measures, understand their rights and obligations, learn to only make rational investment, and enhance their self-protection capabilities.
(III)Underlying Principles. (1) Pro bono. Investor education centers must be non-profit, pro bono in nature and treat all investors equally; (2) Professional. Investor education centers should provide professional and accurate information, free of fraudulent or misleading conducts; (3) Unique. Investor education centers must leverage the unique resources provided by their builders to demonstrate distinctive features and qualities; and (4) Efficient. Investor education centers should prioritize the upgrade of existing educational platforms and rationally plan for new platforms; they are encouraged to collaborate and complement each other to avoid redundancy.
(IV)Naming Management. Investor education centers meeting the platform criteria set out in this Guiding Opinions may be named by regional offices of CSRC as provincial-level centers; those with even greater qualities, scale and influences may be named by CSRC as national-level centers. However, the naming of a center does not represent that either CSRC or its regional offices have made a material judgement or guarantee with respect to the level of compliance or the profitability of the entity responsible for the center’s construction. Naming is carried out in an open, fair, and equitable process comprising centralized solicitation, voluntary application submission, expert review and result announcement. The balance in geographical distribution is considered; and coverage of such centers will be progressively expanded. In general, naming and its application process are held annually, but frequency may be adjusted by CSRC as it deems necessary. CSRC and its regional offices will grade and continuously assess the recognized investor education centers to remove unqualified ones and ensure the quality level of active centers.
II. Platform Criteria
(I)Classification. Investor education centers are classified into physical centers and online centers based on their platforms.
(II)Educational Contents. Investor education centers should supply the background knowledge required for an investor to begin making investments, including but not limited to basic knowledge on securities, futures, and special products and services, policies and regulations, self-disciplinary rules, investment risks and protective measures, rights and obligations of investors, exercise of rights and remedial channels, characteristics and consequences of illegal securities and futures activities, and web-based finance and information safety, with particular attention given to illustrating lessons with instructional cases.
(III)Functional Zones. Investor education centers should feature the following functional zones: product demonstration zone, expert lecture zone, simulation and hands-on experience zone, interaction and exchange zone, and opinion and comment zone. More distinctive zones may be created in consideration of investor needs and unique resources of the builders.
(IV)Criteria for Physical Centers. Physical investor education centers should:
1.have a sizable venue and facility that is dedicated exclusively to investor education, is open to the public as required by applicable policies, and generates a substantial number of visitors and considerable positive effects; be furnished with the resources and hardware equipment necessary for offering investor education; have dedicated personnel providing guidance and instructions, and be supported by websites or columns to promote the activities at the center;
2.display or put into use a stipulated number of investor education products, including a certain number of original products, that meet the required quality standards; actively offer pro bono investor education activities and address the reasonable educational needs of investors in a timely manner;
3.have sufficient funding to ensure its normal operation; establish a well-defined management office; engage the personnel necessary for offering investor education; and feature a sound management and evaluation system;
4.be free of any prohibited conducts listed under this Guiding Opinions; and
5.meet any other conditions set out by CSRC and its regional offices in response to the needs of investors.
(V)Criteria for Online Centers. In addition to the criteria listed under Items 2 to 5 in the preceding paragraph, online centers should also:
1.feature a sizeable web platform that is dedicated exclusively to investor education; be accessible at any time by the general public with the number of visitors no lower than the stipulated minimum; and be furnished with the resources and hardware equipment necessary for offering investor education; and
2.be secured by a robust network protection system; feature thoughtfully designed web sections; offer powerful search functions; and provide accurate, rich information that is updated and changed at the required frequencies.
The specific quantitative criteria for investor education centers are to be separately provided by CSRC and its regional offices in consideration of market development and investor needs.
III. Naming Application
(I)Eligible Applicant. The applicant should be the independent legal personality who is responsible for the construction and operation of the investor education center. Naming of any provincial-level center may be applied by the branch authorized by such center for the construction and operation of the center. For any center that is jointly constructed and operated by two or more entities, such entities should, through negotiation, elect one among them to be responsible for submitting the application.
(II)Application Materials. The applicant should provide the following materials and guarantee their truthfulness and accuracy:
1.Application Form for Investor Education Centers;
2.copy of the duplicate Business License of the applicant;
3.construction plan, operation plan and effect rendering for the investor education center, materials relating to the educational products or educational activities offered in the current year, management rules for the center, etc.; and
4.other materials required by CSRC and its regional offices.
(III)Application Pathway. Application materials for national-level centers should be submitted to CSRC; those for physical provincial-level centers should be submitted to the regional office of CSRC where the center is located, and those for online provincial-level centers should be submitted to the regional office of CSRC where the applicant is domiciled.
(IV)Naming Process. If the applicant does not belong to the securities and futures industry, CSRC and its regional offices may seek the opinion of its governing authorities; if the applicant for a national-level center is a commercial entity in the securities and futures markets, CSRC may seek the opinion of the concerned regional offices. CSRC and its regional offices will organize experts to review the application materials, the result of which will be announced and the approved centers will be officially named and recognized thereafter. The regional offices of CSRC should file relevant records with CSRC upon naming of provincial-level centers.
IV. Supervision and Administration
(I)Supervisory and Administrative Authority. CSRC and its regional offices are responsible for the supervision and administration of the named investor education centers. Any investor education center applied by an entity outside the securities and futures industry shall concurrently follow the operational guidance issued by its governing authorities.
(II)Name Usage. The identification issued by CSRC or its regional offices to certify the status of a center should be placed or displayed at a conspicuous location in the center.
(III)Daily Operations. Investor education centers should actively organize investor education activities, ensure their continuous compliance with the platform criteria set out in this Guiding Opinions, timely submit description of the educational activities offered and achievements, and voluntarily inform the naming authority on such significant events as change of center’s name, address or the person in charge.
(IV)Performance Management. CSRC and its regional offices will establish sound performance evaluation mechanism to ensure that the investor education centers comply with the platform criteria at all times. Investor education centers should actively cooperate with CSRC and its regional offices and immediately correct any uncovered issues. Results from these performance evaluations should be made public.
(V)Incentives. CSRC encourages various entities to build additional investor education centers by optionally adopting the following measures:
1.giving bonus points to the concerned securities or futures exchange, industry association, specialized agency or market entity of a jurisdiction in CSRC’s evaluation of its investor protection efforts if the center applied in such entity’s name has been officially named or has achieved exemplary results in performance evaluations;
2.the official naming and results of performance evaluation of investor education centers applied in the name of securities firms, futures firms and their respective branches will be gradually incorporated into the classification-based supervisory regime for such entities, which can give bonus points in CSRC’s evaluation of the relevant investor protection indicators;
3.when selecting organizers or partners for investor education, training, research and promotion events, priority will be given to named investor education centers, in particular those with excellent grades from performance evaluations; and
4.CSRC may provide educational products and instructors to investor education centers, organize business training, sponsor innovative investor education programs, facilitate information sharing and exchange, recognize and promote exemplary centers and strengthen support for national-level centers with wide service coverage.
(VI)Prohibited Conducts. Investor education center must not:
1.engage in any activity that violates laws and regulations or defrauds or misleads investors;
2.present information containing false record, misleading statement or material omission to investors when it knows or should have known of such issues; or show prejudice against certain investors; or offer unsatisfactory services or pose potential safety risks;
3.refuse to perform the daily works stipulated under this Guiding Opinions; or refuse to participate or cooperate in performance evaluations or fail to achieve passing grades in such evaluations; or
4.engage in any other activity that infringes upon the lawful rights and interests of investors.
If any investor education center is involved in any of the above circumstances, CSRC and its regional offices will require it to make rectification within a specified period. For any serious offender or any center who fails to make the rectification within the specified period, CSRC will revoke the center’s name and announce its decision to the public. Any applicant whose center’s name has been revoked may not re-apply in three years. The regional offices of CSRC should file record with CSRC following name revocation against provincial-level centers.
Application Guidelines for the First Group of Investor Education Centers
I. Type of Investor Education Centers (“center” in certain context)
The first group of investor education centers shall be national-level centers to be named by CSRC.
II. Specific and Quantitative Criteria
(I)Physical National-Level Centers.
Physical national-level centers should:
1.have a venue with a gross floor area of no less than 300 m2 dedicated exclusively to investor education; open to the public on trading days; receive no less than 500 visitors monthly; be furnished with teaching equipment, which is to be regularly updated or improved based on market development and investor needs, that allows presentation, experimentation and interaction by investors; have dedicated, trained and knowledgeable personnel providing guidance and instructions; be supported by a website or column that promotes the activities at the center and whose contents are updated no less frequently than five articles per month;
2.display or put into use no less than ten types of investor education products, which may be books, handbooks, audio, video, trading simulation software, games, historical items, and instructions and explanations. Such products should contain accurate and well-grounded information, use vivid and simple language, deliver knowledge in an engaging format, and contain a certain number of original products;
3.offer distinctive, innovative and effective educational activities, which may include lectures, forums, internship and training programs, Q&A sessions, knowledge contests, investor surveys and interactions, and mock trading competitions; offer unique activities; ensure open communication channels with investors; and address the reasonable educational needs of investors in a timely manner;
4.have sufficient funding to ensure its normal operation, which should be incorporated into the budget and not misappropriated for other purposes; establish a well-defined management office staffed with dedicated personnel; and feature a sound management and evaluation system; and
5.be free of any prohibited conducts listed under the Guiding Opinions.
(II)Online National-Level Centers.
In addition to the criteria listed under Items 2 to 5 in the preceding paragraph, online centers should also:
1.feature a web platform that is dedicated exclusively to investor education; be accessible at any time by the general public with no less than 10,000 visitors per month; be furnished with the resources and hardware equipment necessary for offering investor education, and such resources and equipment are to be regularly updated or improved based on market development and investor needs; and
2.be secured by a robust network protection system, ensuring that the web contents will not be unlawfully tampered with or deleted and that visitor information is kept secure; feature thoughtfully designed web columns that are easy to navigate and contain user experience sections; offer powerful search functions supporting many search criteria; provide no less than 200 MB of accurate and rich contents, 1% of which should be updated and changed each month.
III. Application Materials
Applicant should submit two physical copies of the following materials to the Investor Protection Bureau of China Securities Regulatory Commission (Suite 1803, Tower B, Focus Place, 19 Jinrong Street, Xicheng District, Beijing 100033) by October 31, 2015, with an electronic copy sent to email@example.com:
(i)Application Form for Investor Education Centers (see the Appendix. The form should be filled out on a computer, printed out and affixed with the official seal of the applicant);
(ii)copy of duplicate Business License of the applicant;
(iii)construction and operation plan for the center;
(iv)2015 operations report for the center;
(v)educational products featured at the center in 2015; and
(vi)management and evaluation system for the center.
1. Application Form for (Physical) National-Level Investor Education Centers
2. Application Form for (Online) National-Level Investor Education Centers