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This content is taken from the The Open University & The Open University Business School's online course, Finance Fundamentals: Financial Services after the Banking Crisis. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 0 secondsMARTIN UPTON: Hello. Welcome to Managing My Financial Journey - the course that examines the financial services industry in the UK, its evolution, its features and challenges today and its relationship with us, the public, who use its products. We also look closely at the way financial services are regulated - that's been changing a lot in the UK and elsewhere in recent years and we learn how consumer protection operates. Given the scale of the impact financial services products - like mortgages and pensions - on household finances the need for effective regulation of product sales is paramount. The financial services industry is a huge industry globally and in the UK close to 1 million are directly employed in it.

Skip to 0 minutes and 48 secondsThe industry makes a huge positive contribution to the UK's balance of payments and to the government's tax revenues (although in the late 2000s some banks became beneficiaries of government money when they were rescued from collapse). In this first week, we trace the development of the industry from its early days up until the global financial crisis in the late 2000s. We look at the origins of banking and insurance and the growth and contraction of the building society sector. We explore the development of the London Stock Exchange and the emergence of investment funds.

Skip to 1 minute and 24 secondsWe also study the events which changed the industry in the 1980s through the so-called 'liberalisation of financial services', the growth of home ownership and the changes to pension products as well as the structural changes to the industry termed 'Big Bang' that occurred in 1986. We also review the many changes to regulation of financial services that occurred after the 1980s before ending the week by examining the causes and consequences of the near-calamitous events that comprised the global financial crisis in 2007 and 2008. There's a lot to learn as we sweep through several centuries of financial services history. So do enjoy the week.


Welcome to ‘Finance Fundamentals: Financial Services after the Banking Crisis’, a four-week course that looks at the UK financial services industry today, its origins and its contemporary challenges. The course also explores the way that financial firms are regulated and looks at how the rights and interests of consumers are protected.

In this first week you will trace the evolution of financial services all the way from the sixteenth century right up to the modern day. There is a particular focus on developments in the last 30 years – including the 2007/08 global financial crisis, which saw parts of the industry in meltdown. Certainly the crisis has affected the structure and operations of the industry today – particularly in terms of how financial firms are now regulated.

You begin by tracing financial services back to their roots.

This course is one of eight available in the Business and Finance Fundamentals program. Successful completion of all eight (as evidenced by the purchase of Certificates of Achievement for each course) can lead to academic credit at Level 1 of The Open University’s Business Management BA degree, subject to registration and separate fee for a linked Open University assessment module.

Note: ‘firms’ and ‘companies’

Throughout this course ‘firm’ is used as the collective term for all non-governmental institutions including companies (owned by shareholders), mutual organisations (owned by customers), partnerships and sole traders. This aligns with the use of the term by regulators in the UK. The specific terms ‘company’ or ‘mutual’, etc. are only used when the content relates only to such types of firms or when the terms are used within the name of a type of financial product (e.g. company pension, company bond).

Further terms are defined in the course glossary.

A note about financial advice

This course provides the information, frameworks and financial planning guidance needed to manage your finances and to assist in making financial decisions.

However, course contents do not constitute ‘advice’ with regard to which specific financial products you should use or which financial services providers you should do business with. Consequently the course educators and mentors cannot answer questions about matters relating to such financial advice.

If you need specific individual financial advice, you should contact an authorised financial firm or financial adviser.

This course is presented on FutureLearn with the kind support of True Potential LLP.

The True Potential Centre for the Public Understanding of Finance (True Potential PUFin) is a pioneering Centre of Excellence for research in the development of personal financial capabilities. The establishment and activities of True Potential PUFin have been made possible thanks to the generous support of True Potential LLP, which has committed to a five-year programme of financial support for the Centre totalling £1.4 million.

Get extra benefits, upgrade your course

You can now get extra benefits by upgrading this course, including:

Unlimited access to the course: Go at your own pace with unlimited access to the course for as long as it exists on FutureLearn.

Access to tests: Ensure you’ve mastered the material with access to tests on the course.

A Certificate of Achievement: To help you demonstrate your learning we’ll send you a Certificate of Achievement when you become eligible.

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Finance Fundamentals: Financial Services after the Banking Crisis

The Open University