By Oliver Farrimond
A TOP Scots university has unveiled a new Masters degree course – aimed at ensuring the nation’s banks are properly managed in future.
Edinburgh Napier University will admit students to the first ever Masters in Professional Banking course in September of this year, hoping to recession-proof Scottish banks with an influx of highly-qualified graduates.
News of the new course comes just a day after it was revealed current RBS chief executive Stephen Hester will receive a massive £9.6million pay day if he can turn round the struggling institution which had to be bailed out by taxpayers.
According to the university, students graduating from the programme will “demonstrate the highest ethical, technical and professional standards” – something the university says has been missing from financial decision-makers in Scotland.
Stewart Falconer, head of the school of accounting, economics and statistics at Edinburgh Napier University, said: “The lack of perceived expertise at a high level within the banking industry has been highlighted at many levels, including by national governments.
“Students beginning the programme in September 2009 are likely to be completing their studies at a time when the financial services industry is recovering from recent events.
“The importance of this qualification is likely to increase due to the current financial climate.”
The course has 30 places open for application, which the university hopes to offer mainly to those already working in the finance sector.
Developed in partnership with the Chartered Institute of Bankers (CIOBS), it follows the high-profile collapse of a number of Scotland’s leading banking institutions.
This has called many to question the competence of those running the banks, including Fred “The Shred” Goodwin, who led RBS to the brink of financial ruin last year.
Simon Thompson, chief executive at CIOBS, said: “Rebuilding the human capital of the banking industry is as important as restoring its financial capital.
“The Institute is delighted to help a new generation of bankers develop and demonstrate the high ethical, technical and professional standards needed to help restore public confidence and trust in banks and bankers.”
Areas available for study in the course include “Professionalism and Ethics”, “Managing Risk” and, perhaps most importantly, “The Principles of Financial Regulation”.
Mr Falconer added: “We see ourselves working to do what we can to help the industry move forward and away from the difficulties which it currently faces.
“Taking on lessons from the current financial crisis, material relating to recent issues has been factored into a number of modules.
“We have also ensured there is a good emphasis on areas such as corporate governance and corporate social responsibility.”