Financial Reporting and Analysis (Semester 1)
The Financial Reporting and Analysis module focusses on developing technical knowledge and skills to enable understanding, interpretation and analysis of companies’ annual reports, with particular emphasis on the primary financial statements. The module will enable you to perform a fundamental and critical analysis of a company’s performance, position and cash flows, which can then be applied to either equity or fixed income security valuation in other modules.
In terms of detailed content, areas covered include all the main categories of assets, liabilities, income, expense and cash flows. We also cover more advanced topics such as pensions, off balance sheet financing and group accounting.
Quantitative Methods and Economics (Semester 1)
The quantitative methods section of this module focusses on statistics. The topics range from probability theory, hypothesis testing, sampling and estimation, regression and time-series analysis to the time value of money in financial decision making, simulation and technical analysis. The module also requires a conceptual understanding to enable the evaluation of methodologies and develop critiques of them and, where appropriate, propose revised approaches.
The economics section of this module covers microeconomics and macroeconomics. Elements of international economics are included relating largely to foreign currency transactions and how they are affected by exchange rates, international interest rates and inflation. There is an emphasis on the effects of economic factors on financial markets, including: monetary and fiscal policy; government regulation; economic growth and development.
Equity and Fixed Income Markets (Semester 1)
This module explores global asset markets and the analysis of asset types: specifically equity (shares/stocks) and fixed income (bonds). The equity analysis section of the module includes the characteristics of equity markets, institutions, and benchmarks. It also includes equity valuation methods.
Similarly, the fixed-income section of the module includes the characteristics of fixed-income markets, institutions, and benchmarks. It also addresses the valuation of fixed income securities, the term structure of interest rates, credit risk and structured products.
This module requires a conceptual understanding of valuation methodologies and develops critiques of these models.
Financial Regulation and Ethics (Semester 1)
Financial regulation has a very significant impact on the operation of the financial markets and the activities of investment professionals. In this module you will explore the need for, and impact of, regulation both from a UK and an international perspective. You will also consider the developments that have taken place in the regulatory environment in the aftermath of the global financial crisis.
The ethics section of this module addresses the ethical issues and professional conduct responsibilities required of professionals and institutions in the investment management industry, including relevant codes and standards. The ethics coverage is primarily concerned with compliance and reporting rules when managing an investor’s assets or when issuing research reports. Some rules pertain more generally to professional behaviour, including relevant prohibitions.
Derivatives and Alternative Investments (Semester 2)
This module includes derivatives (eg futures, forwards, options and swaps), and alternative investments (eg real estate, private equity, hedge funds and commodities).
Derivatives have become an increasingly important issue in financial markets and in understanding and controlling financial risk. The topics covered include the types of derivative instruments and their characteristics. The module also addresses how derivative instruments can be used to manage: interest risk, foreign currency risk, commodity risk and credit risk.
The alternative investment section of this module considers the various types of alternative investments, their characteristics and the rationale for holding alternative investments within a diversified investment portfolio. Specific investment categories covered include real estate, private equity and venture capital, hedge funds and commodities.
Corporate Finance (Semester 2)
The Corporate Finance module addresses key issues in the financing, investment and distribution policies of companies. Key topics include investment decision-making, incorporating measures of sensitivity and risk, deriving a cost of capital, determining a suitable capital structure, dividend policy, business and financial risk and mergers and acquisitions.
This module develops a conceptual understanding of the importance of the capital markets and the factors influencing investment and funding decisions. You will also explore the practicalities of evaluating which investments to undertake and how to arrive at an appropriate cost of capital to undertake the evaluation.
Portfolio Management (Semester 2)
The Portfolio Management module covers the processes involved in managing investments for corporations and for individuals. The module addresses the fundamentals of portfolio management theory, including return and risk measurement, along with portfolio planning and construction.
Specific topics covered in this module include portfolio theory, asset pricing models, investment policy (eg defining an appropriate investment policy, resultant asset allocation or order execution) and measurement of investment performance.
Research Skills (Semester 2)
This module will allow you to develop an appreciation of the collection, analysis and interpretation of information and data in order to inform and support both academic and future professional research activities.
The effective utilisation of information and data in order to inform decision making is a key managerial skill and this module develops skills in the acquisition, analysis and management of both quantitative and qualitative information. This module therefore provides you with an essential grounding and introduction prior to undertaking your research project in semester 3.
Research Project (Dissertation) (Semester 3)
You will undertake research in a financial market, company or industry of your choice.
This will require demonstration of:
- A systematic understanding, demonstrated knowledge and a critical awareness of current issues affecting the market/company/industry selected
- Originality in the application of knowledge, together with a practical understanding of established, applied techniques of research and analysis as used to interpret knowledge and practice in the area
- Conceptual understanding to enable critical evaluation of the methodologies used and the results obtained.