MSc Financial Risk and Investment Analysis

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1 MSc Financial Risk and Investment Analysis Course Handbook 2015/ Entry Table of Contents Introduction... 2 Course Outline... 3 Course Structure... 3 Syllabus Autumn Term... 3 Syllabus Spring Term... 4 Syllabus Summer Term (First Half)... 4 Modules and Convenors... 4 Course Aims... 4 Learning Outcomes... 5 Assessment and Academic Progress... 6 Formal Documentation... 7 Library... 7 PG Assessment Criteria... 8 Transferring to a Different Course Contact Details Student Life Centre Information in this handbook may be subject to change. This version correct as of August

2 Introduction This handbook summarises the most important aspects of practice and procedure in the management of the Department of Business and Management s postgraduate taught courses, and is designed to provide you with: a clear outline of what you should expect in the management of your degree course; a clear indication of what is expected of you during your time in Business and Management; a convenient source of information about the mechanics of some of the more common administrative procedures used during a student s progress from admission to examination. Message from the Head of Department Welcome to the University of Sussex. I hope that you will enjoy studying with us and that you will learn a lot that will be of use to you moving forward. The modules that you will be taking will be taught by nationally and internationally recognised scholars from around the world and by our network of successful local practitioners. This will enable you to learn about both the theory and practice of your chosen area of study. You should find your studies challenging at Sussex but hopefully also rewarding as they prepare you to make an impact in whatever you choose to do after you complete your degree. You will also be studying with students from different backgrounds and there is a wealth of opportunity to interact with other students on the Sussex campus. I hope that you will take the opportunity to interact with people who are different to yourself and so develop your social skills, so important in global businesses today. I wish you every success in your studies in the Department of Business and Management at Sussex. Prof. Sue Newell Head of Department and Director of Studies Message from the Course Convenor We are delighted that you have chosen to embark upon our exciting MSc in Financial Risk and Investment Analysis. Investment management is a huge market and the recent financial crisis has shown that a thorough understanding of financial risk is essential for this profession. The trend for increased employment in risk management is set to continue as recent changes in banking regulations put increased focus on improving risk management standards. This degree combines core elements of the two subject areas to provide an edge for students seeking a career in the investment industry or students interested to move into investment-related risk management positions. We are more than happy to be welcoming you on board. Dr Andreas Kaeck 2

3 Course Outline Course Structure Financial Risk and Investment Analysis is a fast-track degree where the overall 180 credits are divided into 75 credits for taught modules taken in the autumn term, 15 credits for the spring term and 60 credits for projects which straddle the spring and summer terms. There are five core (i.e. compulsory) modules in the autumn term, each carrying 15 credits: Essential Quantitative Finance, Advanced Quantitative Finance, Equity Investments and Foreign Exchange, Interest-Rate Sensitive Instruments, and Institutions in the Global Financial Market. The module Institutions in the Global Financial Market already exists as a core module for the Management and Finance MSc degree, all other modules will be taught exclusively to FRIA students and will not be shared with other Finance-related courses at the University. Independently of the assessed modules students will also receive some training in Excel and VBA during the autumn term. After completing these sessions, students will be familiar with automating Excel spread sheets and will have gathered expert knowledge in writing VBA software to support standard and advanced risk and investment analysis tasks. In the spring term, students will take four compulsory modules. Two of them, Commodities and Alternative Investments (15 credits) and Swaps, Futures and Options (15 credits), are taught and assessed in the spring term. The teaching for two further modules (Market and Credit Risk Analysis and Portfolio Management) will also be delivered in the summer term. After the assessments in both modules in the spring term, students will embark upon project work. Presentation of the projects as if to a client (Portfolio Management) and to an internal risk management team (Market and Credit Risk Analysis) is used to enhance presentation skills and prepare students for working in the industry. Both modules bear 30 credits overall whereof 15 credits are attributed to the project work. In addition, during spring term, students also need to take further 15 credits from a range of optional modules. Syllabus Autumn Term The autumn term provides an introduction to the basic concepts of investment and risk management, including analytical methods and tools which are essential to study advanced concepts in quantitative investment analysis. Students are also provided with a general introduction to financial markets and institutions. After completing the autumn term, students will have gained a good understanding of the main investment categories such as bonds, stocks or foreign exchange related instruments and also know how to assess their risks and return in order to make well founded investment decisions. Term Status Modules Credits Core Interest-Rate Sensitive Instruments (762N1) 15 Core Equity Investments and Foreign Exchange (760N1) 15 Core Essential Quantitative Finance (761N1) 15 Autumn Core Advanced Quantitative Finance (774N1) 15 Core Institutions in the Global Financial Market (738N1) 15 3

4 Syllabus Spring Term In the spring term, advanced and specialist modules will be studied. The focus is placed on portfolio management and risk analysis as well as financial instruments such as alternative investments and financial options. There will also be a number of optional modules from which 15 credits need to be chosen in addition to the four core modules. Two such options are Corporate Governance and Social Responsibility or Investment Risk Project. Term Status Modules Credits Core Commodities and Alternative Investments (763N1) 15 Core Market and Credit Risk Analysis (764N1) 15 Core Portfolio Management (765N1) 15 Spring Core Swaps, Futures and Options (766N1) 15 1 of these options Corporate Governance (740N1) 15 Investment Risk Project (759N1) 15 Corporate Governance and Social Responsibility (875N1) 15 Syllabus Summer Term (First Half) The modules Portfolio Management and Market and Credit Risk Analysis are both followed up by a project. This allows students to put the ideas developed in the core modules into practice. Term Status Modules Credits Summer - Compulsory Core Market and Credit Risk Analysis - Project (764N1) 15 Core Portfolio Management - Project (765N1) 15 Modules and Convenors Each module is organised by a module convenor a member of faculty who designs and delivers the module, and manages the assessments. Module material (including a handbook, lecture slides, seminar questions and further readings) is provided by the convenor on Study Direct. Course Aims This programme provides a strong foundation in general finance theory, alongside specialist studies in portfolio allocation and risk assessment key elements of a successful career in the investment industry and many quantitatively oriented middle office positions. The MSc in Financial Risk and Investment Analysis is aimed at students who wish to enter a profession in financial markets which has both a strong investment and risk management component. In preparing for this challenge, this course aims to provide the theoretical and practical knowledge needed to quickly adapt to changing regulatory environments and educate students to bridge the gap between classical investment and risk management tasks. 4

5 The programme seeks to: Provide graduates with the knowledge and personal skills appropriate for a career in the area of investment and risk management, and related areas; Develop a comprehensive grounding and competence in the core areas of finance, particularly in the fields of investment products, investment analysis, risk measurement, risk management and financial institutions; Stimulate an enquiring, analytic and creative approach to financial issues, and to encourage independent judgement and critical self-awareness; Develop the capacity to analyse complex unstructured problems and present reasoned conclusions based on evidence; Cultivate the ability to organise and plan work both autonomously and as part of a team and to communicate both quantitative and qualitative information effectively; Provide education that is recognised for accreditation by professional financial services bodies in the UK; Develop skills to solve and implement investment and risk management tasks using automated spread sheets. Learning Outcomes The programme provides opportunities for students to develop and demonstrate knowledge and understanding, skills and qualities in the following areas: Skills Area Contextual understanding Learning Outcomes The impact of market forces on optimal behaviour including risk management systems and portfolio allocations. The concepts, assets and institutions involved in financial markets. The financial reporting requirements of corporations and the use of accounting for managerial and financial reporting applications. Problem analysis and problem-solving skills Evaluate models and critically analyse their outputs within the broad framework of financial risk and investment analysis and management. Think critically and creatively: organise thought, analysis, synthesis and critical appraisal; including to identify assumptions, evaluate statements in terms of evidence, detect false logic or reasoning, define terms adequately and generalise appropriately. Evaluation skills The development of appropriate strategies within a dynamic context to meet stakeholder interests. 5

6 Research skills Conduct research into financial issues. Perform mathematical skills in relation to quantitative data, including using models of financial assets and instruments. Analytical skills (data collection and analysis) Collect relevant information pertaining to a problem, analyse that information and synthesise it into an appropriate form in order to critically evaluate alternative courses of action that may be contemplated. Scan and organise data, abstracting meaning from information. Collect and analyse data pertaining to a financial asset or instrument, or a corporate or other financial institution. Presentation and writing skills Communicate effectively, orally and in writing, using a range of media, including preparing and appraising reports. IT skills Use trading, risk assessment and/or portfolio management software in a real-life situation. Be proficient in communication and information technology, including word-processing, spread-sheet and/or other software, and/or the internet. Written and oral communication skills Perform effectively within a team environment, and recognise and utilise other people s contributions in group processes including listening to, negotiating with and persuading and influencing others. Personal and professional development skills Recognise situations in which ethical matters and responsibilities arise; and apply ethical values to situations and choices. Exercise self-awareness and self-management, including time management; and continue learning. Decision-making skills Tackle situations by establishing criteria, formulating potential courses of action, implementing and controlling selected courses of action, evaluating results, and reviewing processes for same. Assessment and Academic Progress An external examiner, who is a senior academic in another educational institution, reviews all assessed work that contributes to the degree award. Reports on all submitted and assessed work by the external examiner are presented to the meeting of the Progression and Award Board, usually in October or November each year. 6

7 Much information is available on the university website regarding how to study, how you will be assessed, and how your degree is classified and awarded. Here are some of the sites that you will find most helpful: Writing well and avoiding academic misconduct Plagiarism, collusion, and cheating in exams are all forms of academic misconduct which the University takes very seriously. Every year, some students commit academic misconduct unintentionally because they did not know what was expected of them. The consequences for committing academic misconduct can be severe, so it is important that you familiarise yourself with what it is and how to avoid it. The University s S3 guide to study skills gives advice on writing well, including hints and tips on how to avoid making serious mistakes. You will also find helpful guides to referencing properly and improving your critical writing skills. Make use of the resources there. If you are dealing with difficult circumstances, such as illness or bereavement, do not try to rush your work or hand in something which may be in breach of the rules. Instead you should seek confidential advice from the Student Life Centre. The full University rules on academic misconduct are set out in the Examination and Assessment Regulations Handbook. Formal Documentation The definitive source of information on regulatory matters associated with assessment and classification is published by the Academic Office, and is available via the link above. This is a version of the handbook used by Exam Board members when making progression and classification decisions. It describes the regulations in formal terms. Library The library has a vast collection of books to support your study. It also gives you access to over 30,000 online journals and 50,000 e-books. To help you find what you need, we have a powerful discovery tool called Library Search. It will provide you with full-text access to our journals and e- books, as well as giving you shelfmarks for our print books and DVDs, to help you to locate them in the library. Our website will link you to Library Search, along with many other pieces of useful information: As well as Library Search, the library also has a large number of databases and digital archives specific to Business and Management. To help you find these databases and other resources, we have listed them in our Subject Guide: The library uses an online reading list system for your course materials. You will usually access your reading list from your Study Direct module page, but you can also search for your reading list here: We run regular workshops and training sessions to help you find and use the library s resources, carry out effective literature searches and understand how to cite and reference your sources. We also offer online support through our InfoSuss tutorial, which takes you through searching techniques, as well as providing an easy referencing guide: Support for a wide range of skills, including library and research skills, can be accessed via the Skills Hub. It brings together all the workshops, web resources and services at Sussex that can help you with your academic development: 7

8 PG Assessment Criteria When grading all modes of assessment the marker will refer to the following generic criteria. More specific criteria may be provided for particular modules. Category Mark Check List Description High Distinction 80 + High level of reflective learning Advanced knowledge of subject area Critically reflects on established literature and theory Evidence of extensive or intensive and appropriate data collection and analysis Well researched, written and argued in a compelling manner Extensive research-level references New insights emerging from reading research or student s own experiences The work demonstrates a mastery of the subject that goes well beyond basic reading to critically explore alternative perspectives The argument presented is well developed, complete and coherent, and is written in a compelling manner Perhaps most importantly, an 80+ piece of work is characterised by a spark of creativity, or by new ideas and insights that emerge from the student s reading and experience Distinction High level of reflective learning Excellent knowledge of subject area Extensive and appropriate use of literature Evidence of extensive or intensive and appropriate data collection and analysis Well argued Arrives at innovative understanding Merit High level of reflective learning Good knowledge of subject area Uses a range of texts not just text books and including refereed journals Evidence of appropriate data collection and analysis Logically structured and argued Demonstrates learning from the project The work demonstrates excellent understanding of the subject that has been gained through a thorough critical analysis of themes and issues It draws effectively on the relevant literature and concepts to build a comprehensive and cohesive argument Work graded at 70 and above is characterised by persuasive reasoning backed up by appropriate illustrative examples The work demonstrates proficient understanding of the subject gained from working with key sources Major themes and debates in the extant literature are recognised and are at least referred to if not taken up completely throughout the project 8

9 Category Mark Check List Description Pass Achieves reflective learning Shows understanding of most of the issues relating to the subject Uses texts and some journals Evidence of appropriate data collection and analysis but these are at the most basic level The arguments developed in the project, the language used and the writing style are competent but are somewhat incomplete in places Marginal Fail There is a credible, if poor, attempt at all components of the project Achieves reflective learning but does not grasp any wider perspective of the subject Has read some texts but not really understood the concepts Investigation and analysis falls short of pass standard, but could be raised to this standard if the student applies sufficient time and effort to revise their work The arguments developed in the project, the language used and the writing style are not competent or incomplete Fail 0 44 Fails to achieve reflective learning A major problem in one or more significant areas: literature, methodology, language, etc. Lack of sufficient reading Fails to extend beyond concepts and readings already taught and examined elsewhere Poorly designed and superficial analysis Argument is incoherent and/or inconsistent The work demonstrates a basic competence in the subject It draws on some relevant literature, but provides only a limited critical analysis of this material Examples are used, but without a critical, analytical context The arguments presented have some gaps Work of this grade is characterised by sufficient coverage of the subject, but unsophisticated understanding and analysis The work demonstrates only a limited degree of competence in the subject It has some sense of academic debate and/or rational argument There is a tendency towards reportage rather than any form of interpretation Work of this grade is characterised by just acceptable comprehension in all elements, but the work could be improved to achieve a pass grade if the student puts in sufficient effort The work demonstrates a lack of understanding of the subject There are significant gaps in the interpretation of literature and relevant concepts, and the reasoning presented is flawed, inconsistent, contradictory, or incoherent Unacceptable work is characterised by incompleteness and inadequate comprehension 9

10 Transferring to a Different Course We hope that you will be happy with your initial choice of degree, but a small minority of students will wish to transfer to another degree. If your chosen new degree is offered by another school then it is less likely that you will be able to transfer. However, if you wish to choose an alternative degree from amongst those offered by the Business and Management Department, then this may be possible, but the change must be completed by Friday 9th October If you wish to consider transferring to a new degree, please make an appointment with your academic advisor to discuss the options available, as soon as you can. Contact Details You should also keep in touch with your academic advisor, and contact the Student Life Centre for help with any personal issues you face. Your course convenor should be able to help you find an answer to any questions you have during your studies. Other useful contacts: Course Convenor Dr Andreas Kaeck (01273) Director of Studies Prof Sue Newell (01273) Head of Department Prof. Sue Newell (01273) Business and Management Postgraduate Course Co-ordinators Mr Austin Brown (01273) Miss Rebecca Renvoize (01273) Miss Susan Eamer-Tsoureas Student Life Centre The Student Life Centre (SLC) offers information and advice to all Sussex students. Their aim is to help you to gain the best university experience you can, whatever your circumstances, by ensuring if you run into problems you get appropriate guidance and support. The SLC is based on the first floor of Bramber House and is open from 9.00 am 5.00 pm every weekday. You can drop in to see them, call (01273) , 10

11 or make an appointment just go onto your Sussex Direct site, click on your Study tab and then on Student Life Centre. Amongst the many issues the SLC can help you with are: Personal concerns affecting study progress or well-being; Funding and finance including scholarships, bursaries and hardship funds; Sources of help to improve academic performance identifying obstacles to learning; Understanding university systems and regulations in relation to assessment, services, complaints, conduct, and discipline; Progression, intermission and withdrawal processes - discussion and support; Referrals to other professional services on campus; Mitigating evidence help. 11

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