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Introduction to financial services

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This free course, Introduction to financial services, examines the history of the development of financial services in the UK and the ways in which the sector is regulated. It will help you to understand how financial crises affect the UK and most other major economies and the consequences for the sector.

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • understand aspects of the recent historical evolution of the UK financial services
  • understand certain features of the current structure of the UK financial services sector
  • understand certain features of the regulation of UK financial firms
  • assess whether the regulatory environment for financial services is effective
  • understand the rationale for, and content of, current reforms to financial services regulation.

By: The Open University

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Introduction to financial services


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This course examines the origins and consequences of the recent financial crisis – a crisis that brought many banks and other financial institutions to their knees.

The course then looks back at aspects of changes in the financial services sector that occurred under the Conservative governments of the 1980s and 1990s. These changes laid the foundations for the boom in the financial services industry in the years up until the crisis in the late 2000s.

The course moves on to look at certain features of the ways that financial firms are currently regulated. Financial services regulation has come under the microscope in the wake of the financial crisis and we will examine one case in particular where regulation appears to have failed – the near collapse of Northern Rock Bank in 2007.

The course concludes by looking at the reforms to the regulation of the financial services industry that are unfolding in the wake of the financial crisis following the 2010 general election.

This OpenLearn course is an adapted extract from the Open University course BD131 Introduction to financial services [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .

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