Finance and Financial Law (MSc)

Overview

Study for a prestigious MSc in Finance and Financial Law by distance learning

There are rapid and wide-ranging changes in financial markets around the world, and in the legal and regulatory environment in which they operate. This creates a demand for people with expertise in both finance and financial law.

The MSc in Finance and Financial Law takes an integrated approach to these two aspects by including risk management, regulation, mergers and acquisitions, initial public offerings, bond issues, and loans. It relates to both national and international finance and will introduce you to how financial and legal principles are applied in practice as well as in theory. The Postgraduate Diploma in Finance and Financial Law is ideal for those who already have some experience in either law or finance. The ability to weight the choice of courses towards law or finance will mean that you can tailor your learning according to your needs, interests and pre-existing expertise.

Programme aims

Expertise in financial services is often polarised. Professionals either have knowledge of how financial services businesses operate or of the law relating to them. This MSc/Postgraduate Diploma creates a new kind of financial services professional: graduates who are trained in both finance and law.

Programme summary

  You study Study period Cost (2016-17)
MSc 8 modules 2-5 years £10,080
Individual Professional Awards You can take up to three individual modules from this distance learning programme. Each module lasts eight weeks and you are registered for two years. The fee per individual module is £1,260.

Prestige

The programme has been developed by academics at the Centre for Financial and Management Studies (CeFiMS), a postgraduate research and teaching department within SOAS, University of London. Staff at CeFiMS have international reputations and are involved in researching their subjects at the very limits of current knowledge.

Career progression

Graduates of this programme find that their specialist knowledge is in demand by international banks and investment firms, legal practices, regulatory institutions and the academic world.

Comprehensive study materials and support

You will be given all of the learning materials that you need to complete each course. These will typically include:

  • The Study Guide, a core text specially written for the course. This takes the form of a looseleaf binder containing eight ‘course units’. The units are carefully structured to provide the main teaching of the course, defining and exploring the main concepts and issues, locating these within current debate and introducing and linking the further assigned readings.
  • Textbooks and collections of key journal articles and book extracts.
  • Online and multimedia tools. You will have access to the Online Learning Environment (OLE), which is a web-accessed learning environment. Via the OLE, you can communicate with your assigned academic tutor, administrators and other students on the course using discussion forums. The OLE also provides access to the course Study Guide and assignments, as well as a selection of electronic journals available on the University of London Online Library. In addition, some course material will also include video lectures on DVD, CDs of case studies, and econometric software.

Your time commitment

This will depend partly on choices you make, but most students take three years to complete the MSc. The study calendar consists of five sessions per year. Each session is devoted to a specific module and lasts eight weeks (with the exception of the first session which runs for 10 weeks). During each session you will need to allocate between 15-20 hours per week to complete the programme.

Summary of key dates

Finance and Financial Law
CeFiMS event Study session 1 Study session 2 Study session 3 Study session 4 Study session 5
Application deadline 19 September 2016 05 December 2016 06 February 2017 10 April 2017 05 June 2017
Enrolment deadline 03 October 2016 19 December 2016 20 February 2017 24 April 2017 19 June 2017
Start date 14 November 2016 30 January 2017 03 April 2017 05 June 2017 31 July 2017
Examinations September/October 2017

 

Structure

Structure and syllabus

MSc: 8 modules (5 core modules and 3 electives)

Five compulsory modules

Introduction to law and to finance

The first part of the course provides an introduction to common law. The emphasis is on the fundamental commercial subjects. In the second part, you will be introduced to the main ideas and methods in mathematics that are used in financial analysis. It should be stressed that both parts of the course are compulsory for al students, regardless of their previous qualifications.

Part 1: Introduction to Law
Unit 1: Introduction to Law
Unit 2: Sources of Law and How to Use Them
Unit 3: Introduction to Contract Law
Unit 4: Introduction to Property Law
Unit 5: Introduction to Tort Law

Part 2: Introduction to Finance
Unit 6: Introduction to Finance – Returns, Time and Risk
Unit 7: Returns and Risk
Unit 8: Interpreting Financial Sector Data

Corporate finance

This course enables you to relate principles and practice to the financing decisions of enterprises in modern economies. The course analyses the decisions firms make about financing their investments in productive capital.

Unit 1: Perspectives on Corporate Finance
Unit 2: Net Present Value and Capital Budgeting Decisions
Unit 3: Risk, Capital Market Equilibrium and Capital Budgeting Decisions
Unit 4: Efficiency of Capital Markets and Implications for Corporate Financing Decisions
Unit 5: Dividend Policy
Unit 6: Capital Structure I
Unit 7: Capital Structure II: Information Asymmetries and Agency Costs
Unit 8: Mergers

Financial law

This course provides an understanding of the essential elements of financial law. The course complements the finance course Risk management: principles and applications by examining the legal approach to dealing with risk. These courses give a comprehensive and coherent understanding of the financial and legal aspects of the subject.

Unit 1: Introduction to Financial Law
Unit 2: The Needs of Finance and the Character of English Financial Law
Unit 3: Bank Deposits and Accounts
Unit 4: The Law Relating to Money and Payments
Unit 5: The Law Relating to Loans and Credit
Unit 6: The Law of Secured Finance
Unit 7: The Law Relating to Financial Instruments
Unit 8: Questions of Liability

Risk management: principles and applications

This course examines the techniques and the foundation of risk management in corporations. It covers the use of derivatives, portfolio allocation, the value of risk, and the management of credit risk and operations risk. The course includes cases and applications.

Unit 1: Introduction to Risk Management
Unit 2: Portfolio Analysis
Unit 3: Management of Bond Portfolios
Unit 4: Futures Markets
Unit 5: Options Markets
Unit 6: Risk Management with Options
Unit 7: Value at Risk
Unit 8: Credit Risk

Legal aspects of international finance

This course covers the legal aspects that complement the financial courses Finance in the Global Market and Banking and the Capital Markets. The teaching is based on English law and makes reference to the law of other jurisdictions where this is relevant. You will be shown how contractual principles are applied to commercial fundraising transactions and how to differentiate between legal principles and the market practices that shape these transactions.

Unit 1: Introduction to the law of International Finance
Unit 2: Legal Aspects of International Debt Securities
Unit 3: Legal Aspects of Financial Derivatives
Unit 4: Eurodollar Deposits and Syndicated Loans
Unit 5: Payment and Securities Settlement Systems
Unit 6: Project Finance
Unit 7: Legal Issues of Sovereign Debt
Unit 8: Conflict of Laws and International Finance

PLUS three electives from the following

Bank financial management

This course concentrates on the principles of bank management of assets and liabilities. You will learn about the principles of bank balance sheet management and money market operations as well as liquidity ratios and capital adequacy ratios. You will also study issues of bank supervision and regulation.

Unit 1: Banking Innovations and Risk
Unit 2: Bank Accounts: A Useful Tool if Handled with Care
Unit 3: Bank Valuation
Unit 4: Bank Risk Management - Liquidity Management
Unit 5: Bank Risk Management - Interest Rate Risk Management
Unit 6: Cost of Funds and the Funding of Operations
Unit 7: Bank Risk Management - Credit Risk
Unit 8: Capital Management

Law and regulation of electronic finance and internet banking

In taking this course you will gain a grounding in the legal and regulatory issues concerning electronic banking and finance in different jurisdictions, including in the UK and at EU level. You will also acquire an understanding of the impact that this has on financial services in general and their transactional and contractual aspects in particular.

Unit 1: Introduction to Electronic Finance and Internet Banking
Unit 2: Basic Legal Concepts and Foundations of Electronic Banking and Financial Activities
Unit 3: Electronic Finance and the Globalisation of Financial Markets
Unit 4: Prudential Regulation and Supervision of Electronic Finance and Banking
Unit 5: Law of Electronic Banking in the United Kingdom
Unit 6: Regulation of Securities Activities over the Internet
Unit 7: EU Law - The Financial Services Action Plan
Unit 8: Cross-Border Electronic Contracts

Finance in the global market

The main objective of the course is to enable you to understand some of the main characteristics of that globalised financial world. Because of the centrality of foreign exchange markets to international finance, we regard understanding foreign exchange markets as the core of that objective.

Unit 1: The International context of finance
Unit 2: The markets for foreign exchange
Unit 3: Exchange rates and prices
Unit 4: Exchange rates and interest rates
Unit 5: Managing foreign exchange exposure
Unit 6: International corporate financing and project finance
Unit 7: Capital structure and cost of capital in international financing
Unit 8: Corporate finance and currency crises

Regulation of international capital markets

You will study the regulatory issues that relate to the international capital markets and to several important domestic and regional capital markets, such as the US, the UK and the EU.

Unit 1: Introduction to Financial Regulation
Unit 2: Central Banking and Banking Regulation
Unit 3: Introduction to International Capital Markets
Unit 4: Regulation of Primary Securities Markets in the United States
Unit 5: Financial Integration and Regulation of Primary Securities Markets in the European Union
Unit 6: International Regulation of Securities Firms
Unit 7: International Regulation of Secondary Securities Markets
Unit 8: Global Capital Markets and Development of International Rules

Corporate governance

This course is specially designed for the postgraduate study of such areas as management, finance, financial law, corporate law, economics and related subjects, and has been designed to increase the depth of your understanding of corporate government issues. The course places a strong emphasis on the relationship between theoretical concepts and real world issues, making a real contribution to your in-depth understanding of the relevant corporate governance issues and future career development.

Unit 1: Introduction to Corporate Governance
Unit 2: Theory of the Firm
Unit 3: Corporate Governance and the Role of Law
Unit 4: Corporate Governance around the World
Unit 5: Board Composition and Control
Unit 6: CEO Compensation
Unit 7: International Governance
Unit 8: Overview of Corporate Governance Codes

Legal aspects of corporate finance

Legal aspects of corporate finance [C339]
The essential legal principles relating to the incorporation, running and financing of companies are the subject of this course. The teaching is based on English law as it forms the model for the company law structures of many jurisdictions around the world.

 

Unit 1: Incorporation and the Corporate Constitution
Unit 2: Financial Structure and Membership
Unit 3: The Taxation of Companies
Unit 4: Corporate Governance
Unit 5 Public Disclosure of Information
Unit 6: Raising Capital from the Public
Unit 7: Regulation of Takeovers and Mergers
Unit 8: Corporate Collapse

 

Banking and capital markets

This course examines the underlying principles and characteristics of banking and financial markets that are the foundation for understanding both their normal role in economies and the headline events. It concentrates on the theoretical and empirical scientific knowledge produced by modern research on banking. Since such knowledge is never fully established or ‘proven’, it enables the student to examine opposing points of view and to discuss the published studies.

Unit 1: Bank-Based vs Market-Based Financial Systems
Unit 2: Why do Banks Exist?
Unit 3: Why Banks Exist: Explanations Based on their Lending
Unit 4: Banks vs Capital Markets
Unit 5: Credit Rationing and Overlending
Unit 6: Bank Runs and Regulatory Responses
Unit 7: Financial Crisis
Unit 8: Portfolio Analysis

Research methods C353

This module concentrates on helping you develop a rigorous understanding of the key principles and practice of research that are needed to get a research project up and running.

Unit 1: The Nature of Research
Unit 2: Planning and Designing Research
Unit 3: Reviewing the Literature and Making Methodological Choices
Unit 4: Data
Unit 5A: Interviews, Focus Groups and Surveys
Unit 5B: Introduction to Data Analysis I
Unit 6A: Fieldwork and Observation
Unit 6B: Introduction to Data Analysis II
Unit 7: Validity and Reliability
Unit 8: Writing and Presenting Research

Dissertation C354 (prerequisite C353 Research methods)

The dissertation is a supervised piece of research on a topic that we will agree with you. The length will be 10,000 words. Before we can consider a proposal to submit a dissertation we will need to review your academic performance so far. Completing the Research Methods module is a prerequisite for undertaking the dissertation.

The dissertation does not run over a single session. Instead students enrol on the dissertation by the enrolment deadline for Session 2 (24 November 2014) and have until 1 October 2015 to complete their research, write up their results and submit their final thesis.

Study materials

How you study

Without leaving your job or home you can study, write and submit assignments, receive expert guidance from your CeFiMS tutor and advice from the student support team. In addition to printed study materials, the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) allows you to work with course materials, send queries to tutors and submit assignments via the Internet.

When you take a CeFiMS distance learning course you will be sent everything you need to complete your studies. A typical set of course learning materials would include:

  • The Study Guide, a core text specially written for the course. This takes the form of a looseleaf binder containing eight ‘course units’. The units are carefully structured to provide the main teaching of the course, defining and exploring the main concepts and issues, locating these within current debate and introducing and linking the further assigned readings.
  • Textbooks and collections of key journal articles and book extracts.
  • Online and multimedia tools. You will have access to the VLE, which is a web-accessed learning environment. Via the VLE, you can communicate with your assigned academic tutor, administrators and other students on the course using discussion forums. The VLE also provides access to the course Study Guide and assignments, as well as a selection of electronic journals available on the University of London Online Library. In addition, some courses materials will also include video lectures on DVD, CDs of case studies, and econometric software.

Virtual Learning Environment (OLE)

Created by CeFiMS to provide additional resources and support, the VLE allows you to:

  • access study materials that complement printed texts
  • submit assignments
  • communicate with tutors
  • contact support staff regarding administrative queries
  • access online resources provided by the University of London Library including full-text journal databases of JSTOR and EBSCO.

Note: Students who are eligible to use the VLE are automatically contacted by CeFiMS staff and given information about how to access the system for their course.

Fees

Fees

Fees may be paid in one of two ways:

Either, pay the total fee on registration by making a single payment for all the module fees;
 
Or, if you prefer to spread out your payments, pay the fee for each module you want to take in the first year, and then in subsequent years pay the fee for each new module you take.
 
Fees are subject to annual review. The 2016-17 fees take effect from 1 August 2016.
2016-17
Fee per module£ 1,260
Total MSc£ 10,080
ConvertGBP x 1

Disclaimer: the currency conversion tool is provided to you for convenience only and does not constitute an endorsement or approval by the University of London; the exchange rates are provided dynamically via a third-party source, consequently, the University of London International Programmes is not responsible for their accuracy.

Other costs

In addition to the fees payable to the University, you should also budget for
  • the fee charged to your local examination centre to cover its costs; this fee will vary
  • customs duties/taxes where these are payable on educational materials, including educational USB stick/CDs. We recommend that you check the status of imported educational materials with your country’s customs authorities.

Funding

If you are a UK or EU national and you have lived in England for three years, you could be eligible to apply for a Postgraduate Loan.

Note 

The University reserves the right to amend previously announced fees, if necessary. For a full list fees that may be applicable, please see the fee schedule.
Assessment

Assessment

With the exception of the Dissertation, all modules are assessed by one three-hour unseen written examination and two assignments of 2,500 words each. The Dissertation (available as an option for MSc programmes only) is assessed by the submission of a written dissertation of not more than 10,000 words, excluding the bibliography and appendices.

The grade awarded on each individual module will be based on the mark obtained in the written examination and on the combined mark for the assignments. The examination mark and the combined mark of the assignments will be weighted on the scale 70:30. If you fail a written examination at the first sitting, you will be allowed one further attempt after which your registration will cease.

Exams, both overseas and in the UK, take place once a year in September/October. They are normally held in a student's country of residence, using the existing system of overseas examinations authorities which the University of London operates for all its External students. Exams for students in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland are normally held in London.

Requirements

Academic Requirements

In order to be considered for registration applicants must have:

Either 

(a) a bachelor's degree in finance, economics, or other appropriate discipline, from a UK university or other institution acceptable to the University or an equivalent international qualification (qualifications in other subjects will be assessed on their merits)

Or 

(b) previous education and experience without a UK bachelor’s degree, or international equivalent that satisfies the University as a qualification on the same level as a UK bachelor's degree approved under (a) for this purpose, and which has included suitable preliminary training.

Computer Requirements

You must have regular access to a computer (or mobile device*) with an internet connection to use the University of London International Programmes website and the Student Portal. These are where your programme’s study resources are located. Through the Student Portal you can register as a student, enter exams and use your programme’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). The VLE provides you with electronic learning materials, access to the University of London Online Library, networking opportunities, and other resources.

To get the most from your studies, your computer should have at least the following minimum specification: 

  • a web browser (the latest version of Firefox, Chrome or Internet Explorer). This must accept cookies and have JavaScript enabled
  • screen resolution of 1024 x 768 or greater
  • sufficient bandwidth to download documents of at least 2 MB

and the following applications installed:

  • a word processor that reads Microsoft Word format (.doc)
  • Adobe, or other pdf reader.

For some modules you will require a CD drive and DVD player.

* Full mobile access is not available for all programmes.

Language Requirements

For all of our modules you are required to have a high level of English language ability in reading and writing and in study skills.

If your first degree was not taught in English, you will need to provide evidence of language ability as tested by the British Council or another registered body. This is equivalent to a score of 7.0 overall in the IELTS test, or 7.0 in both reading and writing.

Academic leaders

Academic leadership - CeFiMS

Lead College

The Centre for Financial & Management Studies (CeFiMS) is a postgraduate research and teaching department at SOAS, University of London.

Our programmes give students a strong academic foundation to their professional skills. Other students study for a degree with us because of their love of learning and their desire to widen their understanding of the world. The programmes are available in a range of flexible options, so you can choose the speed, depth and even the location of your postgraduate study.

As one of our graduates, you will become part of an exclusive network of alumni based in leading private and public sector organisations throughout the world.

Academic staff

In total, more than eighty academics act as online tutors. In addition, there is a dedicated team of student advisers. For more information, please visit the CeFiMS website [external link].

Apply online

Graduate Oreste Signori London Connection Q&A: Oreste Signori
"Being in full-time employment, the distance learning provision offered by the University of London International Programmes was the best match for balancing my life between work and study". Read our Q&A with London-based MSc Finance and Financial Law graduate, Oreste Signori.