A wide and more specialised range of continuing education courses
17 October 2022
Finance is in a state of permanent evolution. To hope for a long and successful career in financial services, relying solely on the skills acquired during one’s university years has become illusory. Every employee is confronted, in one way or another, with the progressive implementation of new digital tools, new regulations imposed at the international level or the rise of sustainable finance, a concept that remains new and therefore still unknown to many.
Continued education has therefore become a key element and, in order to ensure that the finance machine keeps operating, must involve all employees. In Luxembourg, the over 60,000 employees of the financial centre benefit from several options when it comes to training courses. According to figures from the Institute for the Development of Continuing Professional Training (INFPC), the country has nearly 120 recognised organisations in the “finance – insurance – law” segment, which offer approximately 1,200 courses.
Over the past few years, demand has been particularly focused on compliance and regulations, risk management, sustainable finance, digital transformation and, in terms of financial products, funds linked to private equity and real estate.
The most sought-after format at present is blended learning, a mixture of online training and experience-sharing during face-to-face sessions, ideally leading to a certification.
The House of Training, which lies at the heart of this continuing education ecosystem, offers no less than 350 training courses in various finance-related professions. “Over the past few years, demand has been particularly focused on compliance and regulations, risk management, sustainable finance, digital transformation and, in terms of financial products, funds linked to private equity and real estate”, summarises Fabian Longo, Head of Banking and Finance at the institution.
Beyond the catalogue, which grows every year, the format of the courses is also evolving to meet the needs of employers and employees within the financial sector. Institutions have quickly learned to work remotely and have taken the decision to keep some of their teams working from home. “We have therefore developed numerous e-learning modules and we also offer our courses in remote format. However, the most sought-after format at present is blended learning, a mixture of online training and experience-sharing during face-to-face sessions, ideally leading to a certification” continues Fabian Longo.
Continuing education programmes are numerous and even the University of Luxembourg, which is more focused on long-term degrees, has developed some with the intention of “transmitting academic knowledge to the business world”. In the field of finance, certification courses from the university include sustainable finance, inclusive finance and investment in art.
More targeted training
Facing the challenge of rapidly evolving sectortraining new talent in the specifics of international finance has become a priority for Luxembourg’s financial ecosystem. With training a key entry point, new initiatives are being developed in specialised areas.
Launched at the beginning of this year as a technological innovation centre, the Luxembourg Blockchain Lab has, among its aims, “to help the financial centre familiarise itself with the opportunities offered by blockchain and digital assets”, explains Emilie Allaert, its director. It has therefore developed various training formulas, ranging from the public to IT managers who want to specialise in blockchain, from legal staff (compliance officers, lawyers, etc.) to entrepreneurs who are developing projects based on this technology.
Private equity is a fairly unique sector. Factors such as business strategy, the existence of different private equity vehicles, each with a specific legal and accounting framework, and the need to meet the specific information requirements of investors all contribute to creating a very particular environment.
Since Brexit, private equity has grown by 20% per year in Luxembourg. This increase in volume, but also in sophistication, has led to strong demand for specialists in this highly complex and demanding sector. Since 2020, EY Luxembourg has run a PE Lab offering a range of training courses for professionals to respond to the growing technicality of the activity. “Private equity is a fairly unique sector. Factors such as business strategy, the existence of different private equity vehicles, each with a specific legal and accounting framework, and the need to meet the specific information requirements of investors all contribute to creating a very particular environment”, observes Laurent Capolaghi, Partner and Private Equity Leader at EY Luxembourg. It is these factors that led the audit and consulting firm to develop a training solution divided into ten or so modules covering the main topics of PE (carried interest, AIFMD regulations, LUX GAAP/IFRS differences, etc.).
The Big 4 have an impressive amount of knowledge in the various sectors of finance thanks to their many experts. PwC Luxembourg has chosen to make the most of these skills through an entity dedicated to professional training, the PwC Academy, which was created some 25 years ago. It mobilises the skills of its professionals within the framework of educational solutions that it designs for its clients. These are structured by theme and audience. “Client requirements have changed a lot in recent years,” notes Etienne Hirsch, Managing Director of the Academy. “Practical aspects and feedback from the field are emphasised to optimise the learning experience. The content of the training is co-constructed with the client beforehand, depending on the audience concerned.” This trend towards tailormade training is becoming more widespread and is making it possible to move away from introductory level training to more complex topics that result in the training of new experts.
Sustainable finance at the heart of the issues
In the same vein, the Arendt Institute was set up just over ten years ago by the Luxembourg law firm. In 2021, it welcomed more than 2,800 participants for training courses that are generally, but not only, related to legal matters. “We benefit from the expertise of all our structures, which allows us to cover all legal matters, but also compliance and corporate governance,” explains Carole Houpert, director of the Institute. Many of the courses consist of training newly arrived talents on the Luxembourg legal and regulatory framework, as well as people who are taking on new responsibilities. “Very early on we also developed programmes in sustainable finance, which can go as far as transforming the financial product offering, as well as in private equity, with a wide range of services from initiation to structuring transactions, for a company or even a group of companies,” explains Isabelle Lebbe, partner and founder of the Arendt Institute.
We benefit from the expertise of all our structures, which allows us to cover all legal matters, but also compliance and corporate governance.
In Luxembourg, as elsewhere in Europe, sustainable finance is one of the key training topics for the financial sector. The challenges are well known, the stakes are high, but there are still far too few real experts. A pioneer in this field since the launch of the Luxembourg Green Exchange (LGX), the Luxembourg Stock Exchange also wants to be the driving force for sustainable finance training. It launched the LGX Academy in the spring of 2020 to answer many players questions concerning products, standards and regulations. “It is a subject that is constantly evolving and that forces us to review our programmes regularly,” notes Laetitia Hamon, Head of Sustainable Finance at the financial institution. However, the Stock Exchange has chosen to go beyond the basics of sustainable finance and also offers certified training courses aimed at people who are at least a little knowledgeable but who still want to improve their knowledge. A necessity, as in many other fields.