In recent years, the digital revolution has established itself in many different areas of work. Especially in the financial sector, digitalization is no longer a foreign word. Especially in this sector there are many opportunities, but also challenges, which have to be overcome first. It is now up to the government and the various educational institutions, companies and citizens to lead the way in the direction of digitisation. From January 2020, the University of Liechtenstein will offer the pioneer certificate course “Digital Legal Officer”.

Bianca Lins, LL.M., research associate at the Propter Homines Chair of Banking and Financial Market Law, introduces us to the university’s new certificate program:

Ramona: Dear Bianca, thank you for taking the time to talk to us about your new course. How did the idea for the “Digital Legal Officer” course come about?

Bianca: Well, as you rightly said, digitization is no longer a foreign word, especially in the financial industry. Rather, digital is the new “normal”. The digital transformation the industry has experienced in recent years has been far-reaching and sustainable. And it is far from over. The range of innovations and technological innovations, be it in the area of blockchain, artificial intelligence, digital payment transactions, crowdfunding, etc., is very broad. But all these topics have one thing in common: the question of law. The digitalisation of the financial sector is made up of many small puzzle pieces; the legal aspects are correspondingly fragmented. After all, there is no uniform regulatory concept. We have noticed, particularly in discussions with practitioners, that there is great demand and need for a programme that focuses on the legal aspects of digitisation. We have taken this as an opportunity to create a practice-oriented special training course that deals precisely with these topics and imparts comprehensive expertise in the law of the digital financial industry.

Ramona: How close is the University and the Propter Homines Chair of Banking and Financial Market Law to the practice?

Bianca: The mutual exchange and transfer of knowledge between research and practice is extremely important to us. We maintain close relationships with business and politics. This enables us to address specific and current topics and, as a central interface between science and business, we are a reliable partner in the field of education and training. In addition to our new certificate program Digital Legal Officer, our various events, such as the series “Blockchain meets Liechtenstein” or, most recently, our conference “Digitalization in Finance and Law”, provide a platform for discussing, exchanging and networking on current and future issues of digitization in the financial sector.

Ramona: What digital and non-digital issues have emerged in recent years, especially in the financial sector, and now need to be addressed?

Bianca: As I said, the bandwidth is very large. On the one hand, the structural change in the financial sector will continue, i.e. no matter whether banking, insurance or investment, customers increasingly want to conduct their business digitally. This requires suitable systems, processes and strategies. On the other hand, technologies such as blockchain or cloud computing will increasingly be used. Data and AI technologies will certainly play a particularly important role in the financial sector. And not to forget the great challenge of cybersecurity. Of course, all these topics are also associated with many legal issues.   

Ramona: Why should students apply for the course “Digital Legal Officer”?

Bianca: With our new program, we offer a unique combination of legal specialization in all aspects of digital finance, coupled with economic and technical fundamentals. Current topics, whether on a national or European level, are taught in a practice-oriented manner, giving students the tools, they need to competently answer complex legal questions relating to the digitization of the financial sector. We have a very high-quality standard, also among our lecturers and therefore exclusively experienced, top-class experts from science and practice. In addition, we will offer regular theme evenings, also beyond the duration of the course, in order to offer our students an additional opportunity to stay on the ball, exchange ideas and discuss specific topics.

Ramona: How does this course differ from the course “Blockchain and FinTech”?

Bianca: The course “Blockchain and FinTech” at the Institute of Finance focuses on financial and economic aspects in the innovative redesign of existing financial systems, particularly in the area of Blockchain and FinTechs. Although legal aspects are also dealt with here, these are mainly limited to regulatory issues relating to the new technologies. The certificate course “Digital Legal Officer” is a special legal training. Although economic and technical fundamentals are also taught for a better understanding, the focus is clearly on the law of the digital financial industry. These legal aspects are not limited to the blockchain area but focus on a large number of digital topics that are currently occupying the financial sector. One could almost say that the two certificate programmes are “sister programmes” that complement each other perfectly. By the way, we are working on a joint, interdisciplinary diploma programme that will combine these two programmes, add a third part and conclude with a diploma. We will probably be able to report more about this at the beginning of the year.

Ramona: And for whom is the Digital Legal Officer certificate course particularly suitable?

Bianca: If you want to complete the certificate course, you should be interested in technological topics, you should have a basic understanding of innovation and innovative products in the financial sector and have had a relevant previous education in the financial services sector proven by several years of professional experience or a relevant course of study.

Ramona: What topics will be covered during the 5 modules?

Bianca: We start with an introduction to the financial industry 4.0, i.e. basics around digital business models, digital banking and a first insight into questions around artificial intelligence. Although the focus is clearly on the regulatory aspects, we will also deal with the topic of digital strategy and economic fundamentals. The other modules will focus on blockchain and distributed ledger technologies, data protection and data security, cybersecurity and law, as well as the fundamental legal issues of digital innovation. There are really many exciting topics that we will cover in our 5 modules. By the way: If you would like to get more detailed information, you can do so at our information evening on 6.11.2019, starting at 18.00 hrs at the university. On this evening, the three continuing education courses of our chair – in particular the Digital Legal Officer – will be presented.

Ramona: What kind of jobs are available after a positive completion of the certificate course “Digital Legal Officer”?

Bianca: The challenges and demands facing the financial industry are many and varied. Anyone who works in this field or would like to work in this field in the future, whether in a bank, investment firm, FinTech or supervisory or regulatory authority, as a lawyer, trustee, asset manager or auditor, will have to face the topic of digitisation in the medium and long term. Those who successfully complete the certificate course have the necessary know-how to successfully deal with the challenges of the digital financial industry of today and tomorrow in a qualified manner.

Ramona: Thank you very much for your time and the exciting interview!

Bianca: Thank you very much for the interview!

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Course information:

The information evening of the continuing education courses of the Propter Homines Chair of Banking and Financial Market Law will take place on 6 November 2019 at 6 pm. Further information and registration at: uni.li/veranstaltungen

The information evening of the continuing education courses of the Propter Homines Chair of Banking and Financial Market Law will take place on 6 November 2019 at 6 pm. Further information and registration at: uni.li/veranstaltungen

Certificate course Digital Legal Officer – www.uni.li/digital-legal-officer

The application and registration deadline is 9 January 2020 with a maximum of 30 participants (minimum 10). Start: 16 January 2020. 10 ECTS points can be achieved for CHF 9,800 including all documents and exams.

Picture: ©University of Liechtenstein/Bianca Lins