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Unit information: Financial Markets and Bank Regulation in 2021/22

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Financial Markets and Bank Regulation
Unit code LAWDM0157
Credit points 30
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Miss. Powley
Open unit status Not open




School/department University of Bristol Law School
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

Recent events nationally and globally have placed financial markets and bank regulation under intense scrutiny. In the UK, government bailouts of ‘too big to fail’ elements of the financial sector have provided the impetus for significant structural reform of the UK’s regulatory architecture and its banking sector. The Global Financial Crisis – the origins of which can be traced back to the implosion of the US sub-prime mortgage market – threatened to de-stabilise the world into a global downtown. A decade later, the ramifications are still being felt: reforms intended to combat the problems identified during the financial crisis are still being introduced.

Set against this background, this unit covers a selection of topics relating to financial markets and the regulation of the banking sector. The major focus of the unit is on the public law aspects of regulation (such as the role and accountability of the major regulatory bodies: the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority), as well as their rule-making and enforcement powers, rather than the private law rules (such as tort, contract etc).

Topics covered include: the nature and function of financial services; the regulatory architecture and the accountability of the regulatory authorities; regulated activities and the system of regulation in the UK; issues arising in the context of investments; governance of financial institutions and conflicts of interests and the prudential regulation of banks (including capital and liquidity requirements and the question of bank failure).

Unit aims:

When presented with a set of facts you should be able to:

  • identify the key regulatory issues arising from those facts;
  • cite relevant case law and/or statutory authority;
  • explain how that authority applies to the issues raised by the facts, or how the facts may be distinguished;
  • draw reasoned conclusions.

When presented with a proposition relating to the particular aspect of the regulation of financial markets and banks you should be able to:

  • present arguments for and against the proposition, citing relevant authorities as well as the views of other writers, and be able to assess the weight and credibility of any
  • argument advanced;
  • examine relevant reform proposals;
  • draw reasoned conclusions as to whether you agree or disagree with the proposition advanced.

This unit will be of particular interest to those who wish to work in financial institutions, regulation, policy, journalism, law and academia. It will complement Banking Conduct and Law, International Corporate Finance and Corporate Governance.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. Discuss the purpose of regulation and supervision of the financial services sector.
  2. Describe and analyse the core regulatory requirements that financial services firms should comply with.
  3. Critically assess the development of the law and regulation as it applies to financial services firms.
  4. Engage with contemporary debates and issues in the area of financial regulation.
  5. Demonstrate an ability to conduct independent research and present a coherent, reasoned argument on a variety of topics relating to law and regulation of the financial services sector.

Teaching Information

Teaching will be delivered through a variety of asynchronous and synchronous activities.

Assessment Information

Students will be assessed by 2 x 3,000 word coursework assignments. Each 1 x 3,000 word coursework will amount to 50% of the overall mark. Both assessments will assess all of the Intended Learning Outcomes for this unit in the context of topics selected by the examiners.

Formative assessment opportunities will be provided during the year.


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. LAWDM0157).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.