Master of Science in Financial Services

12 Courses: 10 Required / 2 Elective

Advanced Financial Planning

Skills and Confidence to Implement Complex Financial Strategies

Today's wealthy clients are seeking increasingly complex solutions to meet their financial needs. The Master of Science in Financial Services (MSFS) provides you with the tools you need to analyze, plan and implement integrated financial and life strategies, helping you grow your business in affluent markets.

MSFS Curriculum

Course Name
Course #
Financial Statements & Business Valuation Analysis
GS 803

The first part of this course teaches students the “language of business” — accounting. It deals with understanding and analyzing financial statements to evaluate the financial stability and performance of a company. The second part of this course provides students with knowledge of the fundamentals of equity valuation. Course grades are determined by the performance on an Examination on Demand® (EOD). Students are strongly encouraged to complete this course prior to taking either GS 811 (Security Analysis and Portfolio Management) or GS 819 (Mutual Funds).

MSFS Case Study Project
GS 807

This course requires the student to develop a comprehensive solution to a financial planning case. The case materials are introduced online. Students are expected to complete both a comprehensive financial plan and an executive summary.

Security Analysis and Portfolio Management
GS 811

Studies two decision processes: setting the optimal asset-allocation mix (using modern portfolio theory) and analyzing and selecting securities within the asset class. While focusing primarily on the first, briefly reviews security analysis models, capital markets and historic risk/return aspects. Presents theory/practice of identifying optimal allocation of wealth among various asset classes. Presents techniques for quantifying expected risk and return for individual asset classes and portfolios; evaluating portfolio performance; portfolio distribution; applying the dividend discount model; and using options, futures and other investments.

Qualified Retirement Plans
GS 814

Course covers qualified defined-contribution and defined-benefits plans, as well as similar arrangements, such as SEPs, SIMPLEs, 457 plans and 403(b) plans. Planning issues are emphasized, with a particular focus on the use of plans in small, closely held businesses. The course includes discussion of the more sophisticated strategies for the small business including ESOPs, 401(k) plans, age-weighted and cross-tested plans and fully insured 412(i) plans, as well as a detailed discussion of life insurance as a qualified plan investment and the tax treatment of retirement plan distributions. The course culminates with the analysis of a comprehensive case study.

Advanced Estate Planning
GS 815

GS 815 is an advanced gift and estate planning course which presents an overview of basic gift, estate and generation-skipping transfer tax law and tax computation processes. GS 815 also discusses the ownership and taxation of transfers of property during lifetime and at death in addition to marital, charitable giving, and life insurance planning. Family business entity planning and buy-sell agreements are also addressed in the course.

Personal Tax Planning
GS 817

Introduces current tax laws, new cases, revenue rulings and regulations for income tax planning. Presents strategies and techniques for tax reductions, including the laws governing income allocation, tax shelters, income shifting and deduction recognition and timing.

Mutual Funds: Analysis, Allocation, & Performance
GS 819

Provides a basic understanding of the concepts, sources of information and fee structure of mutual fund investing. Presents modern portfolio theory, which utilizes mutual funds as asset classes, and explains how computer-based decision tools support the allocation decision across a pre-qualified set of mutual funds. Focuses on recent empirical evidence regarding performance evaluation and risk characteristics used in pre-qualifying mutual funds for investment.

Executive Compensation
GS 842

Covers executive compensation plans, emphasizing owner-employees of closely held businesses. Focuses on design of cash and bonus compensation, stock options and other forms of compensation with restricted property; life insurance, including split-dollar plans and other death benefits; nonqualified deferred compensation; health and disability plans; and various fringe benefits. Covers plan installation, financing and administration, as well as ERISA, tax, including sections 280G and 409A and other legal and accounting compliance issues. The course culminates with the analysis of a comprehensive case study.

Business Succession Planning
GS 838

Covers advanced topics in business succession planning. Provides an overview of gift and trust taxation to illustrate how charitable transfers facilitate business succession planning objectives. Presents detailed coverage of family limited partnerships and limited-liability companies. Covers sales and gifts of business interests using discounting techniques. The course discusses the use of benefit and retirement plan strategies to facilitate succession planning. The course includes a comprehensive case study. This course is also available as self-study.

Planning for Impact in Context of Family Wealth
GS 839

Focuses on how clients and donors can use financial planning, estate planning, and gift planning to advance their personal financial goals while also having a positive impact on their heirs and on their community.

Building & Managing Financial Advisory Practice
GS 840

This course encompasses the concepts of improving the operational efficiency and profitability of a financial advisory practice. The approach used in this course focuses on two major areas: how to increase recurring revenue, profit, and repeatable processes; and how to structure the practice in such a way that it can be sold for maximum profit, if applicable. The course concentrates on the eight essential business and operational disciplines: client acquisition, client management, the consultative sales/planning process, case development, time management, communication, education, and financial management. The final project for this course is a comprehensive business plan containing each of the disciplines, with a focus on increasing the value of the practice.

Charitable Strategies
GS 849

Focuses on the tools and techniques of charitable planning in a financial, tax, and legal context.

Gift Planning in a Nonprofit Context
GS 859

Focuses on what nonprofits call “planned giving.” The course is designed to help board leaders, advisors and nonprofits collaborate to create, count, and steward significant gifts.

Interpersonal Relationships in the Workplace
HS 383

Helps managers enhance interactions with others by understanding basic concepts of interpersonal relationships in work organizations. Uses a human relations model and case studies to illustrate concepts, skills and techniques. Discusses topics such as understanding informal organization, productivity, quality improvement, job redesign, performance appraisal, employee rewards, managing conflict and change and dealing with difficult people. (May be taken for graduate credit; contact Graduate Administration for applicability.)

Issues in Advanced Retirement Planning
GS 808

This course addresses current issues relevant to helping clients save for retirement and ensure that adequate retirement income lasts a lifetime. The first day focuses on the retirement savings issues including the retirement savings crisis, determining retirement needs, motivating clients to save, and maximizing savings through tax strategies. Day two primarily addresses the issue of choosing an appropriate retirement income strategy but also addresses a very practical issue, when to claim Social Security benefits.

Ethics and Human Values (Res.)
GS 831

Approaches ethics and human values from the particular perspective of the ethical responsibilities assumed by the financial services professional. This course focuses on the specific ethical situations encountered by financial services practitioners. Discusses and evaluates these decisions in terms of their adherence to ethical principles, such as integrity, justice and fairness and responsibility. Focuses on behavior and the implementation of core values through case studies an analysis of ethical dilemmas.