ICM294-Governance and Compliance 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:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Ms Deepa Govindarajan Driver

Email: d.govindarajan@icmacentre.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

This module enables students to develop a deep, practical understanding of the corporate governance and compliance challenges specific to financial services firms. The modules then explores how these challenges should be addressed within regulated firms with a view to enhancing the real economy.



This module seeks to develop in students, an understanding of the importance and implications of governance and compliance requirements in the context of financial services


Assessable learning outcomes:

Through engaging effectively with this module, it is expected that students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the conceptual basis and the theoretical approaches to corporate governance – in particular the shareholder-oriented and stakeholder-oriented approaches and their implications in a financial services context.

  • Evaluate different corporate governance tools and mechanisms, and recognise their strengths and weaknesses, as well as appreciating contextual nuances in financial servces. Key topics include disclosure, transparency, the market for corporate control, incentives, remuneration, codes of conduct, communication with stakeholders, boards and senior management arrangements, culture,  third parties and advisors

  • Evaluate the implications of financial intermediaries’ corporate governance failures on a range of stakeholders and specifically implications for the real economy

  • Be able to provide a good overview of the theoretical approaches to compliance

  • Evaluate different practical aspects of delivering compliance including through controls, risk management arrangements, culture, governance etc.

  • Evaluate the impact of governance and compliance failures, both on the financial sector itself and on wider societal stakeholders.

  • Critically reflect on their learning and its relation to the real economy around them. In particular, students should be able to engage with real world examples in the above areas. 

Additional outcomes:

  • Review academic materials and critically examine a range of concepts related to the underlying subject matter verbally and in writing, both individually or as part of a group so as to develop and demonstrate understanding of the subject area


Outline content:

This module is the second compulsory module for students pursuing the MSc CMRC. It is also open to students of the Law School.

The module focuses on two primary topics of importance in the context of financial intermediation:

• corporate governance

• compliance

Having understood the key risks posed by financial intermediaries, in the autumn term module focussed on risk management, we will now examine the roles and responsibilities of those involved with managing and mitigating these risks. We will also examine how, when and why. firms and individuals comply. Our examination of corporate governance will be undertaken in relation to the underlying strategies that cause the risks that global, multinational financial firms pose to the economy. Key topics of study are as follows:



  • Key concepts and theoretical approaches

  • Disclosure, transparency and the market for corporate control

  • Board and senior management responsibility

  • Incentives and remuneration

  • Corporate governance failures and accountability in a financial services context



  • Fundamentals of compliance including an introduction to the key theoretical approaches

  • Compliance with conduct of business requirements – consumer protection

  • Compliance with conduct of business requirements – market conduct

  • Compliance with micro-prudential and macro-prudential requirements

  • Creative compliance, Whistleblowing and Culture - the links with governance and compliance  


Throughout this module will examine policies, arrangements, tools and techniques that help foster ethical and responsible corporate decision-making and enhance stakeholder protections. We expect students to achieve an appreciation of the need for ethical conduct in the financial services sector. Over time students should be able to tackle in a critical, responsible and reflective manner the moral issues which can arise while concluding financial services transactions. 


Case studies, current legal positions and interactive student discussions or presentations are used in most lectures. In addition legal, academic, practitioner and regulatory insights will be developed through specialist guest lectures and visits. 


Global context:

This 20-credit module is the second module amongst 4 key modules for those intending to pursue for careers in risk management, internal and external audit, compliance, law, regulation and senior roles within the regulated financial services industry and in public services or statutory bodies

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 18
Seminars 8
Guided independent study 174
Total hours by term 200.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 100

Summative assessment- Examinations:


Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

The written assignments consists of two essays ( each essay will have a wordcount of approximately 1750 words)

Formative assessment methods:

Weekly written and verbal contributions to lectures and seminars as applicable. Reflective contributions based on homework or self study

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

Assessment requirements for a pass:
50% weighted average mark

Reassessment arrangements:

By resubmission of the essay and any accompanying documents (as applicable), as part of the overall reassessment arrangements for the MSc programme.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

1)Corporate Governance and the Global Financial Crisis ISBN 9781107411715 £34.99

Governance, Risk Management, Financial Regulation and Compliance: An Integrated Approach forthcoming: £38.99

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: 20 April 2018


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