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

Module Provider: ICMA Centre
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2020/1

Module Convenor: Dr Chardin Wese-Simen

Email: c.wese-simen@icmacentre.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

This module is for students studying MSc in Regulation and Compliance (Degree Apprenticeship) only.


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 is 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:

  • Understand the factors that affect decision making processes within firms under pressure and faced with incomplete, complex and conflicting information 

  • Apply a set of corporate values and governance principles to guide decisions and behaviours in complex situations 

  • Discuss the key corporate governance and ethics concepts in their economic, political and legal context. 

  • Evaluate the development of corporate governance regulations, codes and practice in a UK and in an international context. 

  • Comment on current debates on the role of the board of directors, non-executive directors and institutional investors. 

  • Discuss the importance of internal control, accountability and risk management systems and the appropriate basis for setting remuneratio n and guiding career pathing. 

  • Appreciate the growing importance of stakeholder accountability, corporate culture and ethical conduct to the evolution of holistic governance. 

  • Analyse the evolving role of institutional investors in enhancing corporate accountability through responsible investment and the consideration of environmental, social and governance factors in investment decision-making. 

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 d eveloped. 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 and complain. 

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Taught content for this module will primarily be delivered through lectures and syndicated learning, which will take place at Henley Business School (Greenlands Campus, Henley over the residential weekend) and at FCA premises (weekly). Where appropriate materials and learning will also be shared through the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) that is intended to facilitate and aid your learning journey within the MSc Programme 

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20
Seminars 8
Guided independent study:      
    Wider reading (independent) 72
    Wider reading (directed) 16
    Exam revision/preparation 24
    Advance preparation for classes 20
    Essay preparation 24
    Reflection 16
Total hours by term 200 0 0
Total hours for module 200

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

Summative assessment- Examinations:
2 hours closed book written examination

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

2,000 word coursework essay due in or after week 10 of the autumn term

Formative assessment methods:

There is an exam preparation and revision session (usually held in week 10). 

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 written examination only, as part of the overall examination arrangements for the MSc programme. Re-sit examination to be taken in August/September. 

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

Last updated: 4 April 2020


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