London School of Business and Finance

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London School of Business and Finance
London School of Business and Finance (LSBF) logo.png
TypeFor-profit private business school
Established2003 (2003)
RectorMaurits van Rooijen
Vice-RectorJames Kirkbride

Coordinates: 51°30′31″N 0°04′42″W / 51.5085°N 0.0782°W / 51.5085; -0.0782
OwnerGlobal University Systems

The London School of Business and Finance (informally LSBF) is a for-profit private business school based in the United Kingdom. It is owned by the corporate group Global University Systems. LSBF was founded in 2003 by the entrepreneur Aaron Etingen. By 2015 it had become one of England's largest private colleges.[1]

The school has its main base in London with sites in Tower Hill and Holborn. It also has an international branch in Singapore. LSBF offers Master's degree programmes in management, finance and marketing; executive and corporate short courses; and training for the ACCA and AAT examinations. LSBF does not have degree-awarding powers of its own. All degrees are awarded by external institutions.[2]


LSBF's Sceptre Court campus in Tower Hill, London

The London School of Business and Finance was founded in 2003 by the British entrepreneur, Aaron Etingen (also known as Arkady Etingen).[3] He was born in Russia, raised in Israel, and moved to the UK at age 18 to study business and finance. According to 2010 interviews with Etingen in City A.M. and the New York Times, LSBF began in an attic on Hyde Park Corner with "two rooms and four students" taking accounting courses.[4][5] The school gradually expanded its portfolio of programmes over the years. By 2010, it had established two further UK branches in Birmingham and Manchester and was offering MBAs and MScs in finance and marketing and a Masters in international business (all awarded and validated by external institutions), as well as executive and professional training with a strong emphasis on finance.[6]

In March 2010 LSBF launched an MBA (at the time externally validated and awarded by the University of Wales) which it billed as capable of completion in as little as eight weekends via eight intensive core modules delivered on campus and online.[7] In October of that year, LSBF also launched a "Global MBA" on Facebook, with the eight intensive modules broken down into smaller units. Students could take the modules for free, paying only if they chose to take the examinations.[5] LSBF established further UK institutions (collectively known as the LSBF Group) in 2011 and that same year opened branches in Toronto and Singapore.[8][9] The Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities issued a restraining order against the Toronto branch in April 2013 ordering it to halt teaching and stop charging for and advertising a number of its vocational programmes, including Higher National Diplomas. A spokesman for LSBF Canada, which at the time (October 2013) was fighting the decision in the Canadian courts, described the restraining order as "unfair" and said that the institution had "always operated lawfully in Ontario".[10] As of 2016, the former official website for the Toronto branch ( carried the name "Innovative Skills Academy" and was labelled "under construction".[11] As of 2018, the domain redirects to Toronto School of Management, a career college launched in 2017 by LSBF's owners, Global University Systems.[12][13]

According to The Guardian, after the market reforms of post-secondary education introduced by UK higher education minister David Willetts in 2011, LSBF and its subsidiaries experienced rapid expansion. St Patrick's College, London was also describing itself as "a member of the LSBF Group" in 2012 after it was bought by Etingen's company Interactive World Wide Limited.[14][15] Together, LSBF and St Patrick's grew from 50 government-funded students in 2011 to approximately 6,000 over the next two years. In 2013 LSBF and St Patrick's collectively netted £13.5m in tuition fee payments, with their students receiving a total of £49m in government loans and grants.[3] In April 2013, LSBF was one of 116 UK businesses to receive the Queen's Award for Enterprise for achievements in international trade.[16]

Over the years LSBF's degrees have been awarded and validated by a number of UK and European universities. However, by 2014 it had lost all its degree-validating UK university partners, retaining only the European-based Università telematica internazionale Uninettuno and Grenoble Graduate School of Business.[17][18] In June 2014, the UK Home Office suspended LSBF's Tier 4 licence to sponsor non-European Union students for study or work visas, due to "numerous, broader failings" in respect of LSBF's sponsorship duties, an allegation which the LSBF denied.[19] The licence was reinstated on review a few months later, but suspended again in September 2015.[1] The UK Home Office formally revoked LSBF's permission to recruit non-EU students in January 2016. As a result, 350 students were told they had to leave the UK by the end of March 2016. The college said students would be able to complete their courses either by studying a compressed course or transferring to affiliated institutions in France or Spain.[20]

Springleaf Tower (right), site of LSBF Singapore's main campus

LSBF's parent company Global University Systems had acquired London's University of Law in June 2015 and a few months later announced plans for a two-year restructuring process of the LSBF Group set to begin in mid-2016. According to John Cox, director of organisational development at GUS, the plan involves LSBF coming under a new vocational entity offering only diploma courses, short courses and corporate training products. The vocational courses delivered by St Patrick's College and the Birmingham-based Finance Business Training (also owned by GUS) would also come under this division. The University of Law would become sole provider of academic qualifications and professional qualifications, including the master's degrees previously offered by the LSBF Group. However, as of 2018 LSBF was still offering Master's degrees, none of which were provided or validated by the University of Law.[21][22][23]

Campuses and locations[edit]

LSBF is based in central London with sites in Tower Hill and Holborn. The head office and main campus is at Sceptre Court in Tower Hill. The school also has an international branch in Singapore. The main campus and headquarters of LSBF Singapore are located in Springleaf Tower in the central business district of Singapore, with further classrooms in nearby Cecil Street.[18][24]

Organisation and administration[edit]


LSBF and the institutions of the LSBF Group are owned by Global University Systems (GUS), a private limited company registered in The Netherlands.[25] GUS also owns St Patrick's College, London, University Canada West, GISMA Business School in Germany, and London's University of Law as well as the e-learning company InterActive Pro and several other educational brands.[26]


Maurits van Rooijen was appointed CEO and rector of LSBF in 2012. He also serves as the Chief Academic Officer of Global University Systems. In 2017 Rathakrishnan Govind was named global CEO of LSBF with Maurits van Rooijen remaining as LSBF's rector. James Kirkbride has been the school's vice-rector since September 2010.[27][28][29]

LSBF's patron is Prince Michael of Kent.[30]


Vice Rector James Kirkbride at the 2011 Summer graduation ceremony


LSBF does not have degree-awarding or diploma awarding powers in the UK. All degree-level programmes offered at the London campuses are validated and awarded by external institutions.[2] As of 2018 the school offers courses in a range of business and finance subjects, including several MBAs validated and awarded by the Università telematica internazionale UniNettuno. It also offers executive and corporate training courses and preparation for the ACCA and the AAT examinations. [31] The courses are delivered using a range of full-time and part-time, blended and online modes. Its online programmes are delivered via an e-learning platform managed by InterActive Pro, another Global University Systems subsidiary.[18] Since November 2016, LSBF has been accredited as a short course provider in executive education by the British Accreditation Council.[32] Following the revocation of its visa sponsor licence by the UK government in January 2016, it cannot offer long-term courses or work placement to non-European Union students.[20]

The Singapore branch is registered with the Singapore government's Committee for Private Education and offers its own diplomas in various areas of business and finance as well as several undergraduate and post-graduate degrees delivered and validated by external institutions which include the University of Greenwich and Concordia University Chicago. The Belt and Road Multi-Cultural Studies Centre, which opened at LSBF Singapore in 2017, offers additional undergraduate degrees in Chinese language and literature and Chinese business studies delivered and awarded by the Overseas Education College of Xiamen University. Like its London counterpart, LSBF Singapore also offers language and executive education courses and preparation for the ACCA examinations.[33][34][35]

QAA assessments[edit]

LSBF and its associated Financial and Business Training division underwent an investigation and subsequent reviews in 2012 by the UK's Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) amid concerns about student recruitment and completion rates on programmes which at the time were validated by the University of Wales.[36][37][38] The initial investigation made a number of recommendations for improvements including that LSBF draw up and submit an action plan to address the issues identified.[39]

LSBF's last assessment by the QAA took place in March 2015 and concluded that:[18]

  • The maintenance of the academic standards of awards offered on behalf of external degree-awarding bodies and other awarding organisations met UK expectations
  • The quality of student learning opportunities did not meet UK expectations for Higher National provision but met UK expectations for all other provision
  • The enhancement of student learning opportunities did not meet UK expectations.
  • The quality of the information about learning opportunities required improvement to meet UK expectations.

The school is no longer reviewed by the QAA because it no longer offers degrees or higher education programmes validated by UK institutions.[40]

External lectures[edit]

Former UK Home Secretary and Education Secretary David Blunkett, has conducted interviews with business and political leaders such as a Richard Branson, Deborah Meaden, Sir John Major, and Tony Blair for LSBF's "Great Minds" video series, which began in 2011. Blunkett has also been a part-time lecturer at LSBF.[41][42][43][44] In December 2011, Prince Michael of Kent chaired the inaugural "LSBF HRH Prince Michael of Kent Business Lecture" organized in partnership with the Royal Society of Arts. The guest speaker was former Director-General of the CBI and former Minister of State for Trade and Investment, Lord Digby Jones.[45]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Morgan, John (3 September 2015). "LSBF licence to sponsor overseas students suspended". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  2. ^ a b Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education. London School of Business and Finance London School of Business and Finance. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  3. ^ a b Malik, Shiv; McGettigan, Andrew; Domokos, John (30 May 2014), "Lecturers claim private college puts profits first". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  4. ^ Huggins, Donata ( 29 October 2010). "A man schooled for big business". City A.M.. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  5. ^ a b Guttenplan, D.D. (28 November 2010). "Poking, Tagging and Now Landing an M.B.A." New York Times. Retrieved 9 May 2016.
  6. ^ Anderson, Linda (21 June 2010). "Case study: LSBF". Financial Times. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  7. ^ Chynoweth, Carly (3 March 2010). "The MBA that takes only eight weekends". Sunday Times. Retrieved 5 May 2016 (subscription required for full access).
  8. ^ Mclaren, Diana (9 March 2011). "London School of Business and Finance opens Canadian campus". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 9 May 2016.
  9. ^ Lee, Pearl (26 February 2014). "London School of Business and Finance opens new CBD campus". Straits Times. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  10. ^ Matthews, David (31 October 2013). "Private college hit by 'restraining order' and fine". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 9 May 2016.
  11. ^, archived version of 20 March 2016 from For the original version of the site prior to the April 2013 restraining order, see the version of 7 March 2013 archived by
  12. ^ Wayback Machine (2018). Retrieved 18 January 2019.
  13. ^ Toronto School of Management (16 October 2017). "Toronto School of Management Launches With Five Professional Development Programs". PR Newswire. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  14. ^ Morgan, John (2 July 2014). "Director of education wins claim against former owner of St Patrick's College for unfair dismissal". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  15. ^ EducationInvestor (8 May 2012). "New partner for LSBF". Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  16. ^ The Queen's Awards Office. Press Book: Queen's Award for Enterprise 2012. Retrieved 9 May 2016.
  17. ^ Matthews, David (20 February 2014 "UK university partners end ties to LSBF". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 9 May 2016.
  18. ^ a b c d Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education. (March 2015). Higher Education Review of London School of Business & Finance". Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  19. ^ Parr, Chris (27 June 2014). "Private college singled out by immigration minister hits back". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 9 May 2016.
  20. ^ a b Burns, Judith (5 February 2016). "Foreign students must leave UK as college loses licence". BBC News. Retrieved 9 May 2016.
  21. ^ Morgan, John (2 June 2015). "University of Law sold to Global University Systems". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  22. ^ Custer, Sara (25 September 2015). "Global University Systems to restructure". The Pie (Professionals in International Education). Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  23. ^ London School of Business and Finance (2018). Postgraduate Programmes. Retrieved 27 April 2018.
  24. ^ LSBF Singapore. "Contact Us". Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  25. ^ Morgan, John (17 April 2014)."Private college goes Dutch but says profits are taxed in UK". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  26. ^ Lyons, Tom (23 December 2013). "Ibat college in deal with private education provider Global University Systems". The Irish Times. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  27. ^ EducationInvestor (11 July 2012). "LSBF appoints new chief executive". Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  28. ^ Global University Systems. The Team. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  29. ^ London School of Business and Finance (24 April 2017). "Rathakrishnan Govind appointed London School of Business and Finance's Global CEO". Retrieved. 28 January 2019.
  30. ^ HRH Prince Michael of Kent (official website). Charities & Organisations. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  31. ^ London School of Business and Finance. Programmes. Retrieved 18 January 2019.
  32. ^ British Accreditation Council. London School of Business & Finance – Executive Education. Retrieved 12 May 2017.
  33. ^ Committee for Private Education. "London School of Business and Finance. Registration No. 201008079C". Retrieved 28 January 2019.
  34. ^ London School of Business and Finance Singapore. Programmes. Retrieved 28 January 2019.
  35. ^ Low, Shi Ping (9 October 2017). "The pathfinder". China Daily. Retrieved 28 January 2019.
  36. ^ Grove Jack (16 August 2012). "Hypnotic suggestion: you must do better". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  37. ^ Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (September 2012). "London School of Business & Finance: Review for Educational Oversight". Retrieved 18 January 2018.
  38. ^ Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (November 2012). "Finance and Business Training Ltd: Review for Educational Oversight". Retrieved 18 January 2018.
  39. ^ Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (June 2012). "Concerns about standards and quality in higher education: The University of Wales and Finance and Business Training Ltd and the London School of Business and Finance (UK) Ltd". Retrieved 18 January 2018.
  40. ^ Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education. Quality assurance reports: London School of Business and Finance. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
  41. ^ Marszal, Andrew (3 June 2013). "Sir Richard Branson: I would love to have gone to university". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 9 May 2016.
  42. ^ Gurney-Read, Josie (21 October 2014). "Deborah Meaden: lessons in entrepreneurship have to start early at school". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 9 May 2016.
  43. ^ Davis, Anna (7 July 2014). "John Major: use education to fight poverty". Evening Standard. Retrieved 9 May 2016.
  44. ^ Cunnane, Sarah (29 April 2012). "Universities are central to economy, but cannot stand still, Blair says" Times Higher Education. Retrieved 9 May 2016.
  45. ^ "The Inaugural LSBF HRH Prince Michael of Kent Business Lecture: Fixing Britain". RSA Events. Retrieved 9 May 2016.

External links[edit]