ICM134-Governance, Ethics, Culture and Accountability in Financial Services

Module Provider: ICMA Centre
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2016/7

Module Convenor: Prof Adrian Bell

Email: a.r.bell@icmacentre.ac.uk

Summary module description:

This module seeks to examine the specific nuances to the theory and practice of corporate governance, ethics and culture as applicable to the financial sector. The aim to establish a sound understanding of the rationale and need for accountability and to allow regulators to robustly and effectively challenge and understand governance, culture and ethics within financial services firms and allied entities.

Assessable learning outcomes:

Additional outcomes:

Outline content:
In this module students will examine key challenges in ethics, culture, governance and accountability from the perspective of the financial regulator. The module begins by developing an intimate understanding of the legal, historical, economic and socio-political underpinning for ethics and corporate governance in the financial sector. Students will then examine the soft law and hard law implications of the statutory context and the tools that can be used to enhance governance, ethical behaviour and responsible decision-making, given legal constraints. The module will draw upon work from the field of psychology that examines the different drivers of culture and accountability in firms and within regulators. An appreciation of the rationales for different corporate governance approaches, their ethical underpinnings and how corporate decision-making and oversight is animated through mechanisms such as incentives and board structures will be developed. This will be extended to look at the role of institutional investors and key third parties, such as external auditors. The impact of specific corporate governance mechanisms or requirements on both prudential and conduct aspects of regulatory oversight will be discussed. Examples will touch upon a broad range of implications including those for product development and review, sales practices, remuneration, complaints handling, off-shoring, market pressures and practices, norms, and responsible or irresponsible investing. Students will also understand the implications of the above on the choice of regulatory policy, circumstances for intervention, and intended and unintended consequences. The module will also review international corporate governance codes and ethical perspectives, and the legal, social-political and cultural aspects to standard-setting in a global context. Study within this module will be framed by against a context of the impact of failings and failures on a range of stakeholders.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20
Seminars 8
Guided independent study 172
Total hours by term 200.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 50
Written assignment including essay 50

Other information on summative assessment:

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information: http://www.reading.ac.uk/internal/exams/student/exa-guidePG.aspx

Length of examination:
2 hours closed book written examination

Requirements for a pass:
50% weighted average mark

Reassessment arrangements:
By written examination only, as part of the overall examination arrangements for the MSc programme

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
1) Required text books:
2) Specialist equipment or materials:
3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
4) Printing and binding:
5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

Last updated: 21 December 2016

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