Financial Services Fundamentals

Financial Services Fundamentals is a course offered to provide necessary business, legal and structural information about the financial services industry to students entering the Graduate Program in Banking and Financial Law, or a more general LLM program in American law with an emphasis on business or commercial law, without significant employment experience or a strong academic background financial services or business. This course will provide the basic information on eight subjects relevant to the study of financial services law, information the faculty in the Banking Law Program expects students entering to understand prior to entering the Program. The course has the added benefit of introducing incoming international students to lectures, discussions and readings on financial topics in English.

Course Content

The course consists of seven modules on particular financial services subjects that provide essential financial law background. The subjects addressed will include:

  1. Introduction to the American Legal System: the power and authority of US courts, their role with respect to other branches of the government, the federal and state courts and how to read court cases.
  2. Banking Law and Structure: a brief history of US banking themes, major statutes, regulatory structure, types of banking institutions.
  3. Corporate Law Principles: the organization, governance, ownership and operation of structures from corporations to business trusts. Includes basic corporate governance principles.
  4. Principles of US Administrative Law: the powers and authority of US agencies serving as financial services regulators and a description of the regulatory process by which they issue regulations, orders, interpretive letters and guidelines.
  5. Capital Markets Regulation in the US: an introduction to the regulators and statutes governing the activities of investment banks, funds, investment advisers and asset managers. Themes of capital markets regulation, including disclosure, duties owed and consumer protections.
  6. Financial Services Products: a basic description of derivatives, futures and options, as well as asset-backed and mortgage-backed securities and other sophisticated debt products.  A brief introduction to payment systems.
  7. Fundamentals of Insurance Regulation: Insurance is the third pillar of Financial Services in the United States. This segment examines the objectives of insurance regulation and the administrative and procedural processes that accompany such regulation.


Scott G. Alvarez, retired General Counsel, Federal Reserve Board

Nancy Conlin, Former Vice President and Managing Counsel, State Street Bank and Trust Company

Richard Daingerfield, Member, Board of Directors, Peapack-Gladstone Bank, EVP & General Counsel of Citizens Financial Group, Inc. (retired)

Elisabeth Ditomassi, Former Chief Compliance Officer, AXA XL.

Kevin Handly, Director, Graduate Program in Banking and Financial Law and Graduate Tax Program, Boston University School of Law

Samantha M. Kirby, Partner, Goodwin Procter LLP

Eligible Students

All admitted Banking & Financial Law LLM students may choose to take this summer financial services preparatory course, but for certain prospective students, this course will be strongly recommended as a means of overcoming a lack of financial services experience. The course is also open to students enrolled in other BU LLM programs, students enrolled in non-BU LLM Programs, and non-LLM students on a case-by-case basis.


Anyone seeking to register for Financial Services Fundamentals must complete the registration form. The tuition for the classes, offered as seven modules of two or three sessions each, is $1650.

The course will run from August 8-23, 2023. 

Schedule & Dates for Summer 2023

Download a copy of the FSF Schedule 2023.

This summer Financial Services Fundamentals will be taught in person at the School of Law.  All classes will meet in the late afternoon and early evening.

August 8 – 10 (Tuesday – Thursday)

  • Module 1:  Introduction to Bank Regulatory Law and Structure (Alvarez) (4:00 – 5:30 pm)
  • Module 2:  Introduction to the American Legal System (Daingerfield) (6:00 – 7:30 pm)

August 14 – 15 (Monday – Tuesday)

  • Module 3:  Introduction to Corporate Law (Conlin) (4:00 – 6:00 pm)
  • Module 4:  Sophisticated Financial Instruments (Daingerfield) (6:30 – 8:00 pm on August 14 and 15; to be continued on August 17)

August 16 – 17 (Wednesday – Thursday)

  • Module 4 (continued): Sophisticated Financial Instruments (Daingerfield) (4:00 – 5:30 pm)
  • Module 5: Introduction to Capital Markets (Kirby) (6:00 – 8:00 pm)

August 21 – 23 (Monday  – Wednesday)

  • Module 6: Introduction to Administrative Law (Handly) (4:00 – 5:30 pm)
  • Module 7: Fundamentals of Insurance Regulation (6:00 – 8:00 pm on August 23 only)

August 24 (Thursday)

  • FSF Final Exam (3:00 – 5:00 pm)

More Information

A list of Frequently Asked Questions can be found here. More information about attending Boston University in the summer can be found here, although the registration, enrollment processes and conditions of enrollment of Financial Services Fundamentals are different from other Summer Term courses. If you have additional questions, please email

Ready to register for FSF 2023? Fill out the form and our office will be in touch with next steps.