Ask the educator: financial services

Mar 01, 2019

The financial services elective is the first elective of its kind in any accountancy body globally. Can you give me your perspective on this exciting venture between Chartered Accountants Ireland and Institute of Banking? 

Larry Gordon, financial services educator: The FAE financial services elective brings the international world of investment funds, banking and other financial specialisms to the Chartered FAE syllabus. Ireland has long been associated with international trade and inward investment due to the openness of its economy and the advantages it can bring to the table. Chartered Accountants have often found careers in financial services and have ended up in leadership roles at these institutions.

The financial environment, which operates in and around these institutions in Ireland, is covered in the first part of the course. Students are given the opportunity to see the strength and depth of the various sub-sectors within international financial services in Ireland and the support services revolving around these businesses.

Noel McArdle, financial services educator: Business lending credit risk assessment is the banking segment of the financial services elective. It teaches the candidates how financial institutions work with business borrowers to put borrowing structures in place to meet their business needs. It is a dynamic, interesting and rewarding subject. The unique insight gained will benefit the professional accountant when they are tasked with guiding clients who wish to raise new borrowing or restructure an existing borrowing. It will give a leg-up to those students who may wish to seek a career in the business lending divisions of financial institutions.

The course itself is supported by a manual, webinars and workshops. Prior to attending a workshop, students are advised to read the designated reading and watch the appropriate webinar. 

Success in the course and the examination will be greatly aided by attending the workshops. Mastering business lending requires the student to apply the business and financial skills they have acquired in their studies so far, supplemented by banking and lending skills acquired in the module. 

Crucially, it requires the application of this theory to case study scenarios. The workshops will give us the opportunity to work with the student in a professional but relaxed environment. In the workshops, we will use case studies that are close to real life scenarios and similar to the case studies students will work with in the examination. 

Larry: According to, investment funds have a huge presence in Ireland with the top 10 global fund services/administration firms present and a total of just under €4.5 trillion assets under administration as at September 2018. 

The investment funds section gives students an insight into how, why and who is involved in these activities and also the regulatory and legal environments surrounding these funds in Ireland and globally. With some of the largest global players with operations here in Ireland, fund accounting is an area where Chartered Accountants can find ample opportunities.

The final section of this course covers the area of international trade risk, management strategies and products. This is of particular relevance to anyone involved in, or seeking to be involved in, companies in Ireland where their clients and markets are international. The course links the risks and exposures such companies face to the services and solutions that financial institutions and servicers can bring to help ensure success. This is an area and environment to which Chartered Accountants can add great value.