Curriculum – BU Law Certification


In order to successfully complete the Certificate program, students must complete a twelve (12) credit course load.

Sample Curriculum by Semester:

First Semester Second Semester
Contemporary Financial Services Compliance Programs: Perspectives & Practice (2)* Anti-Money Laundering: A Major Substantive Compliance Topic and an Example of Risk Management (2)*
Investment Adviser Compliance and its Lessons for Broader Financial Institution Compliance (2)* Consumer Financial Services (2)
Banking Structure & Regulation (2) Pooled Funds (2)
Compliance Programs (2) Compliance With U.S. Insurance Regulations (2)*
Standard Term: 6 credits Standard Term: 6 credits

Required courses asterisked (*).

Course Descriptions:

Contemporary Financial Services Compliance Programs: Perspectives & Practice (2 credits)

This course introduces the core requirements and foundational concepts relating to a financial services compliance program. The core requirements of a compliance program include: the designation of a compliance officer and compliance committee; implementation of written policies and procedures; conducting effective training and education; developing effective lines of communication; conducting internal testing; enforcing standards through well-publicized disciplinary guidelines; and responding promptly to detected problems with corrective action.  The course will also address foundational concepts in contemporary compliance practice including the role and responsibilities of the compliance officer; the role of the compliance department within the organization; the importance of a compliance culture; the concept of tone from the top; and the importance of a strong culture of collaboration with internal stakeholders.  Students will participate in skills-building, hands-on, and drafting exercises and should come away with a thorough understanding of the foundational requirements and key concepts relating to a compliance program.

Investment Adviser Compliance and its Lessons for Broader Financial Institution Compliance (2 credits)

This course introduces the foundational components of an investment advisers compliance program. The course will cover the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, the role of the SEC and will touch on the following areas:  registration, books and records, fiduciary duty, Code of Ethics, Form ADV, advertising, guideline monitoring, allocation, best execution, error resolution, insider trading, and proxy voting. Emphasis on compliance methods and skills, including review of regulatory rules, compliance case discussions, and building and monitoring surveillance activities, will offer a broader perspective on general financial institution compliance.  Students should come away with a working knowledge of how a financial institution compliance department operates.

Banking Structure & Regulation (2 credits)

This course provides an introduction to and overview of the banking and financial services industry under U.S. law and where U.S. laws intersect with international banking supervision structures and principles. The course focuses on U.S. banking structures and regulations, with an emphasis on the public or regulatory policies behind the laws and regulations. Recent U.S. legislation in the Dodd-Frank Act and recent international reform initiatives such as Basel III receive close scrutiny. The course addresses a range of safety and soundness rules, permissible activity issues, chartering and merger activity procedures, and capital and liquidity requirements. The course also addresses administrative procedures including bank examination and supervision, the regulatory supervisory process, and bank enforcement actions. Students are asked to do significant reading and to participate in classroom discussion about course subject matter and to be aware of current developments in the financial services industry.

Compliance Programs (2 credits)

The course is a survey of the key areas of compliance. The course will examine implementing and maintaining a compliance program. Topic areas to be covered include: U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act; the Office of Foreign Assets Control; Bank Secrecy Act; Privacy; Investigations; Whistleblower Rates; Information Reporting/Disclosure; Insider Trading Policies; Code of Ethics; Audit; Conflicts of Interest; Management Reporting; Internal Reporting/E-Discovery/Record Retention.

Anti-Money Laundering: A Major Substantive Compliance Topic and an Example of Risk Management (2 credits)

This AML training course is intended to familiarize students with the risks of money laundering and terrorist financing; describe the legal and regulatory framework that governs AML compliance and its relationship to a financial institution’s overall compliance function; and explain the consequences of non-compliance. At the end of the course, students should have not only a good working knowledge of AML compliance as a major compliance area for financial institutions but also a concrete example of risk management, monitoring and testing and the administrative requirements involved in customer screening.

Consumer Financial Services (2 credits)

This class presents an overview of the laws relating to traditional and innovative consumer financial products and services, including the impact of the new consumer protection provisions of the Dodd-Frank banking law on creditors and consumers. The course focuses on federal consumer financial laws governing installment, revolving and real estate lending, and credit and debit cards; ATM networks, point of sale payment systems, home banking, stored value and prepaid cards; and other deposit and loan products and services. The course examines the design of retail financial products and considers operational issues, the regulatory framework, and consumer protection laws including The Consumer Financial Protection Act, Truth in Lending, Equal Credit Opportunity, Community Reinvestment Acts, and federal and state laws governing fair credit reporting, trade practices, usury, electronic funds transfers, and funds availability.

Pooled Funds (2 credits)

Pooled investment funds, such as pension plans and mutual funds, are an important part of the global financial services industry. This course is designed as a survey of pooled funds and seeks to introduce students to the common regulatory themes that are found across pooled fund types and to identify the unique approaches to regulation applicable to the various pooled fund types studied. The course undertakes an analysis of the legal, regulatory, and fiduciary standards that apply to trustees, managers, advisers, and sponsors of collective investment vehicles. The course focuses on the concept of fiduciary duty as the basis of all trusted relationships and examines selected problems of investor and beneficiary protection in the fields of private and public pension plans and mutual funds. It studies in detail two U.S. federal statutes as examples of legal techniques used to mitigate those risks — ERISA and the Investment Company Act of 1940 (including fiduciary duties, the role of the fund board and management fees). The class then studies pooled investment funds and investment trusts in the E.U., the U.K. and other countries, focusing on the perceived risks and protective measures reflected in their legal and regulatory systems.

Compliance With U.S. Insurance Regulations (2 credits)

This course will begin with a look at the legal and regulatory environment (federal and state) governing the insurance industry and how insurance companies organize themselves to operate within that environment.  It will address how insurance companies and other industry participants comply with state licensing and financial solvency rules as well as state market conduct rules (including rate setting and policy forms).   It will also examine what happens when an insurance company becomes financially distressed or insolvent and how unlicensed persons and entities involved in aspects of the insurance industry comply with state insurance rules.  Special attention will be paid to recent federal and state developments regarding healthcare insurance.  The course will also briefly cover developments in international insurance regulation as they affect U.S. insurers,  and the regulation of cyber technology such as computer modeling and blockchain in insurance operations.

Lessons from Major Compliance Failures (2 credits)

The course will examine the stages of a significant compliance matter through a series of case studies of actual matters in various banking and financial services companies in recent years. Upon successful conclusion of this course, a student will be able to: (a) understand the different stages of a significant compliance failure at a financial services institution from initial discovery through investigation, remediation and on to final resolution, (b) understand the principal considerations and decisions that need to be made at each stage of the process, (c) formulate a plan to investigate allegations of wrongful behavior or practices, (d) determine what communication with regulators, boards of directors, and other stakeholders may be appropriate, (e) understand the principles for a successful remediation of a compliance failure, and (f) have a basic understanding of the statutory enforcement powers of the US financial regulators.