General Course Information

1.1 Course details

Course code: LLAW3244
Course name: Alternative Finance
Programme offered under: LLB Programme
Semester: First
Designated research course: Not applicable
Specialization: Commercial, corporate and financial law
Pre-requisite / Co-requisite: No
Course offered to non-law students: No
Credit point value: 6 credits
Cap on student numbers: 35

1.2 Course description

Innovative technology creation and development, including financial technology (FinTech) and regulatory technology (RegTech), are increasingly being used by financial institutions and their regulators to enhance regulatory compliance in and supervision of a sophisticated and fast-changing financial sector.

The course will critically evaluate the claim that FinTech portmanteau of finance and technology, including blockchain, artificial intelligence, robo adviser solution, big data and automated suspicious transaction monitoring technology systems, has the ability to revolutionise financial inclusion. Furthermore, it examines whether and how RegTech can be used by regulators for tracking and monitoring financial institutions compliance activities. Specifically, RegTech aims to more effectively regulate new commercial transactions facilitated by FinTech, such as payments made through mobile devices and equity crowdfunding through the internet portals which are cornerstones of the course on alternative finance (i.e. internet financing).

The course sheds light on the legal/regulatory requirements and supervisory and policy measures towards FinTech alternative finance at both local and international levels. These requirements and measures will be further compared with standards set by international regulatory bodies such as the Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion, the G20, the OECD, the Financial Stability Board and the Bank for International Settlements. Combining supervisory approaches—for instance, the principle-based approach and the cost-benefit approach—with academic approaches, the course promotes and enables technical, theoretical, comparative, and interdisciplinary studies for students who are interested in or preparing to enter a FinTech-related career. The course is also practical and industry focused as it reflects on and closely follows industry reports such as KPMG’s annual banking and anti-money laundering reports, along with Deloitte’s RegTech and FinTech survey reports. Designed to enhance creativity, critical thinking and deep learning, the course will foster an intimate understanding of regulations and policies on FinTech, RegTech and SupTech. Topics and issues covered in this course are diverse and wide-ranging such as financial inclusion and digital financial inclusion, the digital banking model (implemented by virtual banks, which are also known as digital banks), FinTech and RegTech (with subordinated themes such as Sandbox, Open Banking, Application Programming Interface, and Wealth Management Technology), P2P Lending, Equity Crowdfunding, Payments and Payment Technology (including Central Bank Digital Currency and Stablecoins).

The course will begin by expounding the role of FinTech in both the shadow banking and traditional banking systems, followed by an exploration of the types of FinTech-enabled products and payment services such as crowdfunding and P2P lending, and ending with a forward-looking approach in tackling some critical and timely issues related to FinTech, including, but not limited to, financial democratisation, improving access to financial systems, the sharing economy and privacy protection for consumers.

The course is distinctively interdisciplinary and methodically strong, designed for students with different academic backgrounds. It is particularly relevant for those with department major(s) in Law (including BBA (Law) & LLB and BSocSc (Govt & Laws) & LLB), Financial Technology, Computer Science, Entrepreneurship, Design and Innovation, Marketing and Wealth Management, to name a few.

1.3 Course teachers

Name E-mail address Office Consultation
Course convenor Emily Lee eleelaw@hku.hk CCT 613 By email

Learning Outcomes

2.1 Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs) for this course

CLO 1 Critically examine the legal, economic and entrepreneurial implications of crowdfunding as an alternative funding source for business and financial market innovations. This will help bridge the gap of understanding between the functional roles of FinTech and RegTech and their respective developments.

CLO 2 Describe and explain various FinTech-enabled financial services and payment methods, including equity-based crowdfunding, debt-based peer-to-peer (P2P) lending, and third-party mobile and online payment platforms (e.g. Alipay and Paypal), all of which are exemplary innovations to the development of alternative investments and the evolution of private equity and venture capital.

CLO 3 Demonstrate an awareness of FinTech impact on the design of optimal regulation for financial innovation in capital raising and the pursuit of financial regulatory objectives, which include, but are not limited to, encouraging financial inclusion, safeguarding financial stability, preserving market integrity, maintaining consumer protection and promoting and ensuring fair market competition.

CLO 4 Apply interdisciplinary knowledge and cross-sector research skills; for example, applying economic behavioural theories in the economic analysis of law to critically examine (1) the risks associated with internet-based investments or business financing; (2) the legal aspects of artificial intelligence, particularly in view of the privacy protection law that governs the collection and storage of individual consumer’s personal data by financial services providers.

CLO 5 Understand, from a comparative law angle, the impact of FinTech on banking and securities laws in the post-2008 global financial crisis era in major FinTech countries and jurisdictions (e.g. the US, the UK, China, Singapore and Hong Kong) that are characterised by financial innovation, consumer protection and an investor-disclosure system.

2.2 LLB Programme Learning Outcomes (PLOs)

Please refer to the following link: https://course.law.hku.hk/llb-plo/

2.3 Programme Learning Outcomes to be achieved in this course



3.1 Assessment Summary

Assessment task Due date Weighting Feedback method* Course learning outcomes
Oral presentation TBC 30% 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Research topic & preliminary research proposal TBC 20% 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Research paper 8 Dec 2023 50% 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
*Feedback method (to be determined by course teacher)
1 A general course report to be disseminated through Moodle
2 Individual feedback to be disseminated by email / through Moodle
3 Individual review meeting upon appointment
4 Group review meeting
5 In-class verbal feedback

3.2 Assessment Detail

To be advised by course convenor(s).

3.3 Grading Criteria

Please refer to the following link: https://www.law.hku.hk/_files/law_programme_grade_descriptors.pdf

Learning Activities

4.1 Learning Activity Plan

Seminar 3 hours / week for 12 teaching weeks
Private study time: 9.5 hours / week for 12 teaching weeks

Remarks: the normative student study load per credit unit is 25 ± 5 hours (ie. 150 ± 30 hours for a 6-credit course), which includes all learning activities and experiences within and outside of classroom, and any assessment task and examinations and associated preparations.

4.2 Details of Learning Activities

To be advised by course convenor(s).

Learning Resources

5.1 Resources

Reading materials: Reading materials are posted on Moodle
Core reading list: TBA
Recommended reading list: TBA

5.2 Links

Please refer to the following link: http://www.law.hku.hk/course/learning-resources/