LLM Program in Financial Regulation

[Announcement from the Kirit P. Mehta School of Law]

The Indian financial regulatory landscape has seen rapid change in the last decade. From the merger of two financial sector regulators to the evolution of an entirely new ‘fintech’ space, the enactment of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 which affects firms in the business of lending, the growing sophistication of rules on insider trading and the sale of financial products, financial regulation in India, much like the rest of the world, has been in a constant state of flux.

This has created the need for specialized regulatory lawyers who understand the underlying framework applicable to the financial sector as a whole, and are able to quickly respond to regulatory change. There is a dire need to view financial regulation as a specialized field for three reasons. First, lawyers advising on matters relating to financial regulation are required to take into account a wide gamut of sector-specific laws such as those governing payment systems. Second, given the gaps in regulation and the scope of discretion left to regulatory agencies in this field, financial firms and their lawyers often grapple with the uncertainty surrounding regulatory responses to different situations. For instance, how will the regulator react to an ILFS-like situation? What is likely to be the policy response to a crisis in the mutual fund industry? What will be the next regulation that could potentially affect the operations of fintech firms? And so on. Third, a critical analysis of a question in this field often requires technical skills and a multi-disciplinary approach, along with foundational knowledge of other disciplines such as economics, accounting and overall political economy.

Even as financial regulation in India becomes more sophisticated, the focus on financial regulation as a field in itself has been lacking in India. The teaching of financial regulation in India has largely been restricted to the regulation of banking and the securities markets. Academic curriculums have viewed financial regulation as part of a broad course on corporate laws.

The Kirit P. Mehta School of Law, which is housed under the Narsee Monjee brand of institutes, is starting a Masters Program in Financial Regulation (LLM) that seeks to address the existing gap in the pedagogy of financial regulation in India. The program will be operational from the Academic Year 2019-20 onwards. This program will cater to a focused group of not more than 20 selected students.

Courses

The program will comprise courses governing the securities markets, banking and non-banking financial firms, insurance firms and the pension sector. The program will also comprise courses that focus on technical skills or look at the financial market as a whole. An illustrative list of these courses is below:

1. Reading financial statements: This is an introductory course towards understanding and reading financial statements of different kinds of firms. The financial statements of financial and non-financial firms look very different. This course will introduce students to both.

2. Intersection between administrative law and financial regulation: Financial regulation is heavily dominated by specialised regulatory agencies that license financial firms, regulate them and exercise quasi-judicial powers in relation to them. The governance and practices of these regulators directly affect all participants in the financial market. Moreover, the practices of one regulator may differ from those of another. This course will give an overview of the practices of Indian financial sector regulators and prepare students to represent their clients before such bodies.

3. Fintech law and policy: New age business models in the financial sector thrive on payment systems. This course will give students an in-depth understanding of the evolution, regulation and functioning of Indian and international payment systems and business models that depend on them.

4. Law of insolvency and bankruptcy of financial firms: The program will have two separate courses that focus on the insolvency of non-financial firms and financial firms. While the former will teach the students the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016, the latter will focus on the legal framework that is envisaged for dealing with the insolvency of financial firms (banks, insurance companies, etc.) which are not covered under the IBC.

5. Monetary and fiscal policy: This course will focus on the role of the Reserve Bank of India, as a central bank, in financial regulation and the overall financial market in India. It will also give students an introduction to the laws governing the fiscal matters of the central and state governments.

Faculty

Given the inter-disciplinary nature of the courses in the program, the courses will be taught by faculty from the law school, the economics school and the business administration school of Narsee Monjee. Some of the courses will be taught by visiting faculty comprising renowned practitioners in the field of financial regulation.

Selection process

Applicants will require to appear for a Written Test involving Multiple Choice Questions on various subjects at the LLB Level conducted by the Kirit P. Mehta Law School, followed by a round of Personal Interviews.

The written test and personal interviews will be conducted on 13th July.

More details about the course, the admission process and important dates can be found here.

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