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Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Financial Technology and Innovation
Module Code EF5177
School DCUBS
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Mahdavi Ardekani Seyed Aref
Semester 2: Mahdavi Ardekani Seyed Aref
Autumn: Mahdavi Ardekani Seyed Aref
Module TeachersMahdavi Ardekani Seyed Aref
NFQ level 9 Credit Rating 7.5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None
Coursework Only

Advances in information and communications technologies are transforming how businesses operate and interact with their customers. Key enabling technologies, such as cloud computing, social media, mobile, big data analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence, and blockchain, are disrupting all aspects of the finance value chain and facilitating unprecedented levels of innovation in financial services. In this dynamic environment, professionals need to be agile and informed in order to keep pace with the rapid development of financial technology (FinTech) and its adoption and application in the financial services industry. This course explores the interaction of finance and technology and its impact on the financial services industry. The main objectives of this course are to (1) deepen learners’ practical knowledge of the FinTech landscape and resulting innovation in financial services, (2) encourage learners to think critically across a range of finance and technology contexts and interfaces, and (3) discern the challenges and complex issues pertaining to this rapidly evolving space. Drawing on both academic literature and industry practice, the course will allow learners to make an evidence-based appraisal of FinTech trends and modern financial innovation. Students will also gain a practical understanding of the regulatory, compliance, and ethical context

Learning Outcomes

1. Acquire a practical understanding of the FinTech landscape and modern financial innovation.
2. Synthesise theory and practice to assess the interaction of finance and technology in various contexts.
3. Appraise how the financial services industry is innovating through the adoption and application of new technologies.
4. Critically evaluate the emerging academic evidence pertaining to the dynamics and efficacy of new FinTech based markets and products.
5. Develop and defend coherent and persuasive arguments for the adoption and application of innovative technologies to support financial services activities.
6. Evaluate the competitive and collaborative opportunities that exist for established financial institutions and start-up FinTech firms, which should lead to a superior customer journey for consumers of financial services.

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture12Formal classes (lecture / workshop), one hour per week delivered live online, with a recorded option available.
Lecture12Formal classes (lecture), one hour per week delivered in prerecorded online learning
Independent Study87.5Studying of course material and assigned readings.
Independent Study76Completion of required assignments.
Total Workload: 187.5

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Introduction to FinTech and financial innovation
Advances in information and communications technologies are transforming how businesses operate and interact with their customers. Key enabling technologies are disrupting all aspects of the finance value chain and facilitating unprecedented levels of innovation in financial services. This first course provides an introduction to the key topics of focus in respect of FinTech and innovation in the financial services industry, spanning the areas of (1) crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending; (2) blockchain and cryptocurrencies; (3) banking and payments; and (4) wealth management. We cover introductory topics for each area that will be explored in greater detail in the subsequent topics. We consider how FinTech offers new opportunities to enhance existing financial products and services, as well as offering entirely new products and services. TOPICS INCLUDE: Crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending as alternatives to traditional methods of financing businesses and individuals. Blockchain for cryptocurrencies, and novel methods of financing for firms such as initial coin offerings and security token offerings. The digital banking and payments landscape, and the potential for mobile solutions to increase financial inclusion in developing countries.

Crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending
Crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending have emerged as alternative sources of finance for individuals and small firms. We discuss the factors that have facilitated the growth observed in such markets, while we examine the platform based business models deployed in the finance context. We consider these new forms of finance relative to traditional channels of funding from the perspective of the platform, funder and beneficiary. We consider the role of information and disclosure in informing funding decisions and managing successful funding campaigns. Regulatory issues and approaches from across the globe are critiqued. We end with a discussion of future trends in crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending. TOPICS INCLUDE: Platform based business model design in finance, towards convenience and cost effectiveness in financial services delivery. The economics and performance of peer-to-peer lending, in addition to risks and mitigation strategies. Crowdfuding activities, spanning equity, donation and reward based forms, and considerations around the marketing and management of successful crowdfunding campaigns. The role of regulation in building credibility, trust, and wider acceptance of these new funding marketplaces.

Blockchain and cryptocurrencies
We examine the underlying properties of distributed ledger technologies, such as blockchain, and their applications in finance. We specifically discuss the use of blockchain technologies for cryptocurrencies and novel funding methods for businesses, such as initial coin offerings (ICOs) and security token offerings (STOs). We also explore other applications of blockchain technology in finance, across payments and remittance, credit and lending, trading and settlements, and compliance. Global approaches to regulation are considered from the perspective of cryptocurrencies specifically, and blockchain technology generally. We end with a discussion of potential future trends around blockchain technology adoption and application. TOPICS INCLUDE: The underlying properties of blockchain technology, and how this technology solves critical problems in finance. Cryptocurrencies in contrast to fiat currencies and digital money, and the cryptotoken economy as a new route to business finance. Suitability of blockchain technology for applications beyond cryptocurrencies and the cryptotoken economy. Regulatory requirements in respect of cryptocurrencies and cryptotokens, and blockchain technology.

Banking and payments
We examine the use of FinTech to improve banking and payments both for the banking industry and the wider economy. We begin with a comparison of the FinTech and traditional banking models. We then map out the FinTech payments landscape, and discuss the role of mobile devices in payments. We leverage this discussion to present the details of the Payment Services Directive II regulations of the EU, designed to increase competition and improve payments services for customers. We engage participants in the discourse and vision pertaining to open banking, making reference to technical and regulatory issues. We then progress the discussion and consider FinTech and mobile solutions that allow for financial access and inclusion in developing countries. We study a number of jurisdictions as case studies. We close with a discussion of future trends in respect of banking and payments, with particular discussion of the potential for technology and telecommunications firms. TOPICS INCLUDE: The FinTech bank and FinTech payments landscapes, credit risk and credit modeling, comparing and contrasting with traditional banking and payments services. The Payments Services Directive II (PSD2) regulations of the EU, with reference to Account Information Service Provider and Payment Initiation Service Provider opportunities. The potential for FinTech and mobile solutions in supporting financial inclusion and financial development in developing countries, with specific country case studies. Future trends in banking and payments, with particular focus on the potential for technology and telecommunications firms in respect of financial services provision.

Wealth Management
We explore the technology based innovations and trends observed in the weatlh management sector. We prime the discussion with a detailed review of extant theory and empirical evidence around wealth management, with particular focus on common behvioural biases of investors in respect of investment decision making and propensity to accept financial advice from human financial advisors. Against this backdrop, we will then critique the emergence of roboadvisors and automated investment decison making and financial advice. The portfolio management strategies that underlie roboadvisors will be appraised with reference to modern portfolio theory. We will articulate the benefits that roboadvisors offer investors in respect of diversification and risk-adjusted returns, and the mitigation of behavioural biases. We will furthermore explore the interface between financial technology and sustainable finance, with focus on adaptation and adoption of roboadvisors to persue socially responsible ESG and impact investing.

Value of FinTech Innovation
We close the course with a deep dive into the value of FinTech innovation. Drawing on emerging literature, we will provide large scale evidence on the occurrence and value of FinTech innovation, drawing on patent filings data. We will identify what types of FinTech innovations yield substantial value to innovators. This evidence will be explored across a subdivison of the financial services sector, showing the most valuable technologies across banking, payments processing, brokerage, asset management, and insurance. We will explore just how disruptive FinTech is and the sources of the greatest disruption. How market position mitigates against such disruption will end the topic. A focus in this section will also be on the ethical dimension of FinTech innovation.

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
AssignmentLiterature Synthesis. Students required to conduct a synthesis of the academic literature to articulate if and how traditional theories of finance are being challenged through technology based financial innovation.40%Week 8
AssignmentCase Study. Students required to conduct primary and/or secondary research on a chosen FinTech company and leverage discussions on technology based business models to appraise the specific business model adopted by the company and funding channels persued.60%Week 12
Reassessment Requirement Type
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
This module is category 1
Indicative Reading List

  • Lynn,T., Mooney,J., Rosati,P., Cummins, M.: 2019, Disrupting Finance - Fintech and Strategy in the 21st Century, Palgrave.,
Other Resources

Programme or List of Programmes
GDFTIGrad Dip Financial Tech and Innovation

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