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The ICMA Centre was founded in 1991 through a unique collaboration between the University of Reading and the International Capital Market Association (formally International Securities Market Association). In 1992, the ICMA Centre began offering a Masters degree in International Securities, Investment and Banking, and subsequently, an undergraduate programme was launched in 1997.

The ICMA Centre moved into a purpose-built facility in 1998, following a donation from the ICMA. The building was specifically designed to reflect the needs of students in finance, including the novel use of simulated trading environments. Further developments included the launch of an innovative distance learning version of the Masters programme using an in house developed Interactive Learning Environment (ILE) and new Executive Education programmes ran in partnership with ICMA.

In 2007, the Centre launched the first Masters degree in Capital Markets, Regulation and Compliance and further specialist degrees in Corporate Finance, Financial Engineering, and Investment Banking and Islamic Finance.

Since 2008, following the merger between the University and Henley Management College, one of the oldest and strongest Business Schools in Europe, the Centre boasts being a part of the Henley Business School, University of Reading, giving it access to many resources in the areas of management and leadership. After a further donation from ICMA, the Centre's building was extended in 2009 and now includes two large lecture theatres, three dealing rooms and smaller seminar and class rooms.

The ICMA Centre is now one of the larger specialist university finance departments in Europe. Each year we welcome hundreds of students to study our full-time master's, undergraduate, and PhD programmes. The Centre was one of the first to be recognised as a Chartered Institute of Securities and Investment (CISI) Centre of Excellence, has two degrees that are recognised by the CFA University Affiliation Program, and was the first Finance department of a UK University to submit a qualification for recognition by the Financial Services Skills Council (FSSC).