Banking Operations: Achieving Back Office Excellence

5 days 3-7 Dec 2018, London UK £4,995.00 + VAT* Download brochure Add to basket

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A prerequisite for a profitable, controlled and successful financial services business is a strong, stable and efficient operations function (‘back office’). Despite huge investments in computerisation over the last few decades in an attempt to achieve the highest level of automation or straight through processing (STP), experienced operations personnel are still required to deal with transactions which, for whatever reason, fall out of the automated process and require human intervention.

Over recent years, and certainly leading up to the financial crisis of 2008, the operations function in many financial services firms was degraded at a time when there was significant growth in activity both in terms of business volume and complexity. This was partly a result of the mistaken belief that the investment in computer systems would make the operations function more or less redundant.

This course is intended to explain the relevance, importance and responsibility of the operations function in today’s financial services industry whether in banks, broker/dealers, funds management, global custody etc. It will provide a comprehensive and generic understanding of the operational aspects of the financial markets and give participants the tools to identify the optimum approach to operations management and to achieving operational excellence. It covers the capital markets products and how and where they are traded and explains the different trading and investment strategies and how they are supported operationally. The course explains the market participants, how they interact and how they are structured.
The concept of straight through processing (STP) is analysed through the life cycle of various transaction types and the course explains what can go wrong and the operations controls required to ensure efficient transaction processing and the avoidance of operational risk.

Attend this intensive and highly practical 4-day course and learn: 

  • The role and importance of operations in the typical front, middle and back office structure
  • The roles and responsibilities in the back office
  • Internal and external relationship management and communication
  • The ‘Chinese Wall’ and segregation of duties and reporting lines
  • Operations as part of wider corporate governance
  • Operations, regulators and the impact of regulations
  • Operational resources and how they should be managed
  • Staff management and motivation
  • The concept of STP and why it can break down
  • Maintaining static data
  • What are ‘fails’ and fails management
  • Counterparty fails
  • How various trading/investment strategies can impact operations 
  • An overview of the capital markets and products
  • The life cycle of transactions and how market participants interact
  • Operating in a multiple market, multiple product environment
  • Managing limits
  • Cash and collateral management
  • Operating in emerging markets
  • The back office as a revenue generator
  • Pre-emptive strategies to reduce risk, errors and costs
  • The end to end control process and the vital importance of reconciliation
  • How operational risk can be identified and measured with key risk indicators (KRIs) 
  • Measuring performance (KPIs)
  • Operations and the avoidance of money laundering
  • Cause and effect analysis
  • Issue escalation
  • Management information systems and their use
  • The development and relevance of the ‘procedures manual’
  • Identifying and allocating operations and transactions cost
  • The ‘top’ versus ‘bottom’ line P&L
  • Operations and new business development
  • Operations role in project management and new systems implementation and managing ‘business as usual’ (BAU)
  • The benefits and disadvantages of outsourcing and offshoring
  • The request for proposal process (RFP) for ancillary services
  • Operations and business continuity planning (BCP)
  • Audit (internal and external)

Course Objectives
This course is designed not only for those embarking on or developing their careers in financial markets operations, but also for anyone who has an interest in the relevance of the operational function. It will benefit those who need to understand how the capital markets operate, what the operational risks are and how they can be controlled. You will be given a thorough and clear understanding of how transactions are processed, what can go wrong and the measures required to ensure the highest level of STP.

Participants will be provided with the tools necessary to achieve operational excellence.

Teaching Methodology
The teaching methodology used on this course combines formal theoretical instruction with frequent use of exercises and case studies. These are based on real situations experienced by the course director in his forty years involvement in this business. The course is intended to be interactive, with delegates encouraged to ask questions throughout. The course content is intended to give delegates an understanding that will be of immediate practical use in the workplace. The lecturer will be available throughout the duration of the course to offer additional help if required. Delegates will be divided into small teams to work together on the exercises that will include some simple calculations for which a calculator will be required. Each day there will be group discussions on issues identified by the participants.


Who should attend

  • Operations personnel from investment banks, broker/dealers, prime brokers, fund managers, pension funds global custodians etc. 
  • Middle Office and Risk Managers 
  • Product Controllers 
  • Internal and External Auditors 
  • IT developers (focused on operations) 
  • Business Analysts and Consultants 
  • Compliance staff 
  • Regulators 
  • Graduate and Management Trainees


We work with a series of expert instructors, please select the course location of interest to review the credentials of who will be delivering the programme.

Richard Foster
The instructor has over thirty-five years senior banking operations management experience.  He has been Head of International Operations at tier one firms including Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch and Prudential Securities.  He was COO at Cresvale, an equity derivatives trading firm and a Founder Partner at MC Securities, an investment bank focusing on eastern European emerging markets.  The instructor has been actively involved with the international securities lending, repo markets and collateral management throughout his career and was President of Minerva Securities Inc., an international securities lending/borrowing intermediary based in New York and Head of Operations, Securities Lending at Prudential M&G .

Training assignments have included those with JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank, Euroclear Bank, Lombard Odier, Cantor Fitzgerald, Coutts & Co., NatWest, Cazenove & Co. CSFB and Jefferies International. 

The instructor was a Visiting Fellow at the ICMA Centre at Reading University and was a member of the Operations Managers Examination Committee of the Securities and Investments Institute. He acted as an expert witness on behalf of Lehman Brothers in the Maxwell related litigation and was a member of the board of Euroclear.



Central London Hotel Venue

All courses are held at four or five star venues in Central London, Zone 1. We strive to provide you with a training environment of the highest quality, to ensure that the whole learning experience exceeds your expectations.

Your training venue will be confirmed by one of our course administrators approximately 3-4 weeks before the course start date.

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Do you have five or more people interested in attending this course? Do you want to tailor it to meet your company's exact requirements? If you'd like to do either of these, we can bring this course to your company's office. You could even save up to 50% on the cost of sending delegates to a public course.

To find out more about running this course in-house:

Our Tailored Learning Offering

If you want to run this course at a location convenient to you or if you want a completely customised learning solution, we can help.

We produce learning solutions that are completely unique to your business. We'll guide you through the whole process, from the initial consultancy to evaluating the success of the full learning experience. Our learning specialists ensure you get the maximum return on your training investment.


We can offer any of our public courses delivered at your office or we can devise completely tailored solutions:

Read more about our offering or complete a call back request to speak to a learning specialist.


Day 1

Operations in the Financial Services Industry 

  • Overview: the development of operations pre and post 2008 
  • A typical structure: front, middle and back offices 
  • Roles and responsibilities 
  • Reporting lines 
  • The ‘Chinese Wall’, segregation of duties and conflicts of interests

Case Study: The downfall of Kidder Peabody 

  • Internal and external relationships and communication 
  • Operations and Corporate Governance 
  • Managing resources and when to say ‘no’ 
  • The role of the operations manager and the delegation of duties 
  • Maintaining morale and motivation 
  • Training and staff development 
  • The benefits and disadvantages of outsourcing and offshoring 
  • Operations and the regulators and the impact of new regulations

Exercise: Delegates are asked, in their teams, to prepare an operations department organization chart for a broker/dealer business

Day 2

The Life Cycle of a Transaction and Straight Through Processing (STP) 

  • An overview of capital market products 
  • The market participants 
  • Operating in multiple products and markets-they are not all the same! 
  • Established versus emerging markets 
  • The sequence and life cycle of a securities transaction 
  • Trading and investment strategies and impact on operations 
  • Communicating with the middle and front office 
  • Trades processing 
  • Limit management 
  • The importance and maintenance of static data

Exercise: Delegates are asked, in their teams, to determine what static data is needed to set up a new account. 

  • New accounts 
  • New securities 
  • Clearing 
  • Settlement
    - CSDs
    - ICSDs
    - DvP, FoP
    - SWIFT 
  • Global Custody 
  • The concept of STP 
  • What can go wrong? 
  • Fails and Fails Management 
  • Counterpart failure- ‘the chain is only as strong as the weakest link’ 
  • The back office as a revenue generator 
  • The vital importance of reconciliations 
  • Costs and cost allocation 
  • Top versus bottom line profitability

Exercise: Delegates are asked, in their teams, to analyse a fail report and recommend actions. 

  • Buy-ins 
  • Interest claims 
  • Corporate actions processing

Case Study: Losses from corporate action processing failure

Day 3

Operational Risk and Control 

  • The Major Risks and how they are mitigated
    - Market Risk
    - Credit Risk / Global Credit Limit Systems 
  • Definition of Operational Risk
    - What is operational risk?
    - What is an operational risk event?
    - What is an operational loss?
    - The impact of operational risk on the organization 
        - Impact of operational risk on credit and market risk

Exercise: Participants are given the opportunity to consider the major risks in a Middle and Back Office environment. They are asked to identify 10 risks in the lifecycle of a securities trade

  • Measuring and managing Operational risk 
  • Reporting lines and segregation of duties 
  • Escalation of issues 
  • The ‘whistle blower’ 
  • Audit, Compliance and Legal 
  • Money laundering and the role of the MLRO 
  • Operational risk exposure indicators
    - KRIs and KPIs
    - Loss identification / measurement / management / monitoring / reporting
    - Root cause analysis

Exercise: Given details of a failed transaction, participants will be asked to calculate an interest claim

Day 4

Control and striving for operational excellence 

  • Pre-emptive strategies to reduce risk, errors and costs 
  • The end to end control process
    - Pre-dealing / dealing controls / M.O. functions
    - Processing / position and payment controls
    - Reconciliation and accounting
    - Documentation, reporting and compliance 
  • Investing in operations systems and people 
  • Developing an operations control function 
  • Management information systems and their use 
  • The development and relevance of the ‘procedures manual’ 
  • Operations and new business development


Case study: New business implementation going wrong 

  • Operations role in project management and new systems implementation and managing ‘business as usual’ (BAU) 
  • The benefits and disadvantages of outsourcing and offshoring 
  • The request for proposal process (RFP) for ancillary services 
  • Operations and business continuity planning (BCP) 
  • Audit (internal and external) and operations 
Why us

We have a combined experience of over 60 years providing learning solutions to the world’s major organisations and are privileged to have contributed to their success. We view our clients as partners and focus on understanding the needs of each organisation we work with to tailor learning solutions to specific requirements.

We are proud of our record of customer satisfaction. Here is why you should choose us to help you achieve your goals and accelerate your career:

  • Quality – our clients consistently rate our performance ‘excellent’ or ‘outstanding’. Our average overall score awarded to us by our clients is nine out of ten.
  • Track record – we have delivered training solutions for 95% of worlds’ top 100 banks and have trained over 250,000 professionals.
  • Knowledge – our 150 strong team of industry specialist trainers are world leading financial leaders and commentators, ensuring our knowledge base is second to none.
  • Reliability – if we promise it, we deliver it. We have delivered over 20,000 events both in person and online, using simultaneous translation to delegates from over 180 countries.
  • Recognition – we are accredited by the British Accreditation Council and the CPD Certification Service. In an independent review by Feefo we scored 96% on service and 95% on product