As one of the core modules of the Professional Skills Course, the Financial and Business Skills component will be undertaken by all trainee solicitors. It will consist of 18 hours of learning spread out over three days, with an exam lasting an hour and a half testing five out of the six elements of the module held on the final day.
The module can either be taken as part of a 12-day course as part of a programme including the other two core components of the PSG and electives, or you could choose to undertake it individually. This can be done at different points during the year, depending on the provider.
You’ll need to brush up on what you’ve learned for the Legal Practice Course exams, as much of the teaching on this course assumes that you have a good level of legal knowledge. This includes Solicitors’ accounts and the SRA’s accounts rules, as well as an awareness of the principles of accounting and the need to interpret business accounts.
How is this module structured?
The six elements that make up the module are as follows:
- Accounting and financial issues,
- Introduction to the marketplace,
- The regulatory framework,
- The scope rules,
- Money laundering,
- Mortgage fraud.
Overall, you’ll be getting training on the specifics of giving financial advice and regulations on financial activities. You’ll learn about identifying issues in accounting in the practice areas you work in, and identify the costs and benefits of certain investment products on the market and their suitability for different types of clients.
The module will also ensure you have a full understanding of the role of the Financial Conduct Authority and other regulatory frameworks, while also identifying the form of financial activities which comply with Scope rules. It will look at the role of a solicitor in the wider financial services sector, as well as understanding the rules of professional conduct with regards to money laundering and mortgage fraud.
For a more detailed breakdown of the Financial and Business Skills specification, you can check the Solicitors Regulation Authority website.