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Financial Services

This module is Unit 14 Financial Services for the AVCE in Business. It is aimed at Teachers and Lecturers teaching on the AVCE Business programme in schools and colleges across the country. It consists of some 25,000 words and is a student package, which will help you deliver and teach the Vocational 'A' Level Course in Business. It is also aimed at students themselves, and as a student it would help you gain the essential underpinning knowledge you will need to achieve a good grade in your final assessment for Financial Services. Below is an overview of what this module contains. There is also a large teaching pack module containing approximately 70 overheads for Financial Services, which you can purchase from this site.


Welcome to the world of Financial Services. In this unit you will learn a good deal about the real business world, from the viewpoint both of personal customers and business customers.Financial Services is a growing industry, which provides for the financial needs of individual consumers and businesses. The term "Financial Services" covers a wide range of products including accounts for depositing money, loans, savings and investments, pensions and financial advice.

Financial Services for individual consumers are available from banks and building societies. Also, from organizations such as supermarkets and insurance companies, over the counter, on the telephone and over the Internet.

Businesses have financial needs when they start up, expand and carry on day-to-day business activities. These needs include financing, insurance, bookkeeping and payment services, investment and general financial advice. A variety of financial institutions can provide these services: banks, insurance and investment companies, firms of accountants.

In this unit you will learn about the different financial services providers, how they operate, and how they market their services to individuals and businesses, making increasing use of information technology. You will also learn how the industry is regulated.

The key study areas
There are three key areas, all of which are crucial and which you must be fully aware of. You will need to carry out much individual research into these areas in order to complete the unit and achieve a good grade in your final report.

1. The range of financial service providers and their control
This will involve looking at banks, building societies, finance companies, retail stores like Tesco's, insurance companies, investment companies, and firms of accountants. The distinction will be made between individual organizations and group providers.

How these organizations are regulated and controlled. Why there is a need for regulation, control and consumer protection. The key laws. The Office of Fair Trading. The Financial Services Authority. The main Codes of Practice. The main controlling bodies, such as The Personal Investment Authority (PIA) and The Investment Management Regulatory Organisation (IMRO).

2. Financial services/products for personal customers
Here you will look at the need for such services/products e.g. one off purchases such as a car, long-term purchases such as a house, regular saving needs and long-term saving needs, such as a pension. and investment schemes available e.g. regular savings, pensions and unit trusts. The sources of finance e.g. overdrafts, personal loans, and credit cards.

Financial advisers i.e. the need for such advisers, the distinction between independent advisers and "tied agents". The significance of market segmentation in identifying and marketing the services/products to potential and existing customers. Assessing the cost and yield of financial services products i.e. why is there a need for such an assessment? You will need to understand the annual percentage rate (APR), the Financial Times Stock Exchange 100 share index (FTSE) and a variety of share performance ratios. The significance of assessing risk and the importance of taxation. Personal budget planning i.e. the reasons why such planning is needed. The crucial importance of the personal budget.

3. Financial services for businesses
Here you will look at the need for such services i.e. short-term finance for working capital, medium and long-term finance for asset purchasing, insurance, payment and accounting services, investment advice. The provision of the above via banks, finance companies, insurance companies, investment companies and accountancy firms. The key consideration in choosing a provider i.e. the product range, the cost and the quality of customer care. The importance of business size on financial needs e.g. the small firm will require different types of services to a large firm. The distinction between external and in-house provision. The different types of businesses e.g. sole traders, partnerships, private limited companies and public limited companies (PLC's). The importance of information, technology and the Internet in the provision of financial services and how firms deal with the financial service providers e.g. via web sites, e-mail, 'wap' phones, databases and spreadsheets.

Download links

Please see below for the learning materials. To download them simply click on the unit you wish to download. You must have Adobe Reader installed to be able to view and read these documents however. Click here to be directed to their webpage where you can install the free software.

Financial services
Financial services OHPS