Over the last fifteen years, Monaco’s financial industry has developed around several axes, particularly the growth of an onshore clientele and the determination to increase the share of clients’ financial assets that are directly managed from the Principality. To achieve this, the Monegasque financial industry has focused on moving its actors upmarket, with particular attention being paid to front office professionals. At the same time, the Monegasque authorities decided to improve the culture of confidentiality among all staff in regulated institutions.
In pursuit of its remit to have a positive impact on the Principality, the International University of Monaco (IUM) has been working alongside the Monegasque authorities in several areas:
The IUM has developed degree programmes in the field of finance. At the bachelor’s level, the Banking option, including a work placement element, was launched in 2019 and has enjoyed enormous success, helping to establish solid partnerships with major banks in the Principality. At the master’s level, the IUM’s MSc in Finance, which has been available since 2005, focuses on front office activities. Every year, it welcomes more than 35 new students from all every part of the world to prepare them for entry to the various segments of the financial industry, from asset management to private banking, as well as private equity and investment banking. A majority of students decide to complete their final internships in the Principality, joining firms right across the financial industry, including family offices.
Under the aegis of the Monaco Association for Financial Activities (AMAF), the IUM has also developed and run the Monegasque Professional Certification since 2014. This is a mandatory certificate for all front office professionals operating in the Principality. In 2021, nearly 150 candidates were enrolled for the certificate – proof, if such were needed, of the vitality of the financial and banking industry. This year, improvements were made to the programme to incorporate socially responsible investing, an important topic for the Principality.
Since 2018, the AMAF has also entrusted the IUM with delivering training for the Confidentiality Certification, following a ministerial decree issued that same year. More than 3,400 people have been trained and certified as part of the first certification cycle. It is the “first” cycle, because the ministerial decree envisages ongoing training on these issues. The second cycle is due to begin in October 2021. For this second cycle, we were keen to offer a different experience in a bid to encourage participant engagement through new activities. We are aiming to ensure both that those who achieve certification can demonstrate an understanding of their obligations with regard to professional secrecy, confidentiality and duty of discretion, and that they are capable of effectively integrating these obligations as part of their work. We have also incorporated current issues, such as the impact of the increase in teleworking.
Thanks to our close collaboration with the Monegasque authorities, the IUM is evolving alongside the Principality to best serve the needs of the country’s banking and financial industry.
The IUM has two major pillars of development. We are working very closely with the AMAF to build a range of professional banking certifications, including those covering confidentiality, which we have maintained despite the pandemic lockdown. In addition, the master’s degree in Finance has become one of our biggest courses, with more than 30 students per year. We have come up with a sandwich format which is also proving to be hugely successful: more than two thirds of our students are now placed with financial institutions – banks or management companies – in Monaco. This positive trend illustrates the dynamic nature of the financial industry in the Principality. The courses, combining elements of academic study and work placement, are making a real contribution to improving skills within the industry. We are looking into joint courses with universities in Switzerland or the United Kingdom. Continuous professional development and executive education are strategic priorities for the IUM, with new qualifications focused on management or associated with the digital transformation of the Principality and its financial industry. This is how we are fulfilling our remit of contributing to Monaco’s influence.