Financial Compliance and Risk Management

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The increasingly complex regulatory environment for businesses operating in a technologically advanced, globalized economy has created a need for professionals trained to ensure that businesses comply with all applicable regulations and thereby manage the risks associated with noncompliance, including civil and criminal penalties. Our program enables working professionals to acquire advanced training in financial compliance and risk management on their own schedules, taking all their courses online, one course at a time.


The MSL degree is designed for those who have earned a bachelor's degree and who wish to improve their knowledge in a specialized area. The MSL degree requires 30 units. Each course is offered for 3 units. The first three courses for each student studying in the Taxation Program are: 1) Introduction to Legal Analysis and Writing; 2) Introduction to Legal Systems for Non-Lawyers; and 3) Foundations in Finance and Taxation. In addition to these three courses, students concentrating in financial compliance and risk management must take six elective courses in that concentration and a thesis course.

Required Courses

An introduction to basic concepts of finance and taxation that will prepare students for enrollment in more advanced elective courses in the field of financial compliance and risk management.

The study of how to “think like a lawyer.” Students learn to analyze statutes and judicial decisions, to synthesize legal authorities, and to use reasoning by induction, deduction, and analogy to apply legal principles to specific factual situations. Students will be introduced to basic legal research skills and learn how basic legal memoranda are constructed.

An introduction to basic legal principles that typically are covered in the required curriculum of a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree program at an American law school. These principles are drawn from both public and private law, civil and criminal law, and substantive and procedural law. Their study provides students who lack a J.D. degree with a command of concepts and terminology that they may encounter in their concentration courses.

An advanced research course in which each student must write a thesis under faculty supervision. The thesis topic is chosen by the student, subject to approval by the instructor. During the course, students will learn advanced research techniques and participate in workshops in which they receive comments on their work from both the instructor and other students. Taken in the student’s final term.

Elective Courses

Study of the law regulating investment advisers, including the establishment of relationships, fiduciary duties, and recordkeeping. The course also examines SEC and state authority over investment advisers and enforcement under the Advisers Act.

Introduction to the federal regulation of the financial services industry. This course includes types of depository institutions currently playing a significant role in the economy of the United States as well as a close look at the state and federal laws and agencies regulating financial institutions.

Regulation of consumer financial services in the United States, including mortgage lending, loan servicing, credit and debit cards, Truth in Lending, Equal Credit Opportunity, unfair and deceptive trade practices, and other topics. The course also will examine financial institution compliance policies and risk management.

Examination of domestic and international fraud, bribery and corruption and computer and identity crime. This course includes comparative studies of foreign legal regimes, case studies and policy discussions. Goals of the course include analyses of the complex evolution of the legal regimes and an evaluation of the effectiveness of the legal regimes. The course concludes with a review of the defenses against financial crimes and the resources for researching the problems and defenses.

Provides aspiring professionals with a practical understanding of the foundational principles and mechanics of financial accounting, enabling them to: read financial statements with insight; analyze such statements for investment, risk, tax, strategic management, and compliance purposes; achieve an enhanced understanding of their clients and their financial realities; make sounder professional judgments and business decisions; and communicate with others in the business world on a deeper and more sophisticated level.

Analysis of the basic structure and requirements of the federal securities laws, focusing on compliance and liability issues. The course includes the statutory and regulatory framework of the federal securities laws, the mechanics of securities offerings governed by the Securities Act of 1933, as well as compliance with the periodic disclosure requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.