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Articles from: 2012

ICMA Centre Profiles – Yihan Zhou

The ICMA Centre winners of the Chancellor’s Award: Juvereya Shoab, Yihan Zhou, Yu Lam and Amy Ho, pictured with Hilary Feltham.

One of our recent recipients of the Chancellor’s Award takes some time out from her studies to answer some questions for us.

What inspires you about your chosen subject of study?

It has long been my dream to work in the finance industry, which inspired me to choose Finance and Investment Banking at the ICMA Centre. The subject provides me with an excellent opportunity to explore various aspects of financial theories and extend my commercial and economic awareness and understanding of financial markets. 

Why did you choose to come to Reading to study? What attracted you to the University of Reading?

The primary reason I came to Reading is that the course covers all the areas that particularly interested me. The modules I have taken so far are not only about theories but more importantly they are tightly connected with real-world practices. Besides the high reputation and strong academic atmosphere, Reading also offers a great campus and an easy connection to London. I’m really enjoying life in Reading so far.

What was the highlight of 2011/12?

Receiving the Chancellor’s Award was an absolute highlight as it was recognition that all my hard work had been worthwhile. Besides that, the summer internship provided me with a fantastic opportunity to work with experienced financial analysts and see how financial instruments operate in practice.

What do you see yourself doing in five years’ time? What do you plan to do after you complete this course?

I hope to be qualified as a Chartered Financial Analyst and be working in an investment bank. It is a long way away but I have the determination to work towards it.

What’s the best thing about life at Reading?

It’s a great place to study as well as live. The campus is lovely with welcoming and approachable staff. The town has a large number of facilities and is located very close to London.

Have you got any advice for future students?

Work hard and then play hard!

  • Favourite movie:  The Guillotines
  • Favourite Sport: Pilates
  • Favourite Food: everything cooked by my mother


PhD Student Satchit Sagade published in Bank of England Working Paper

ICMA Centre PhD student Satchit Sagade recently published a working paper for the Bank of England together with Research Economist for the Bank of England, Evangelos Benos. The paper entitled “High-frequency trading behaviour and its impact on market quality: evidence from the UK equity market”, studies the behaviour of high-frequency traders in the UK equity market and analyses its impact on market quality.

The paper notes how high-frequency trading activity has steadily increased in recent years and has garnered the attention of regulators following events such as the Flash Crash in May 2010 and the Knight’s Capital trading glitch in August 2012.  To analyse the intraday behaviour of high-frequency traders and the impact on aspects of market quality, such as liquidity, price discovery and excess volatility, Satchit and Evangelos use a unique transactions data set for four UK stocks, over the period of a randomly selected week.

Satchit, who is currently working on his PhD thesis, stated “I started work on this paper during the summer of 2011 as part of an internship at the Payments & Infrastructure Division within the Financial Stability area of the Bank of England. It was a great experience working at the Bank of England and I would like to thank them for providing me with an opportunity to work on the highly topical issue of high-frequency trading.”

The paper has gathered recognition from the Financial Times’ Alphaville blog and is available in full on the Bank of England’s website, working paper no 469.

Satchit is currently pursuing his PhD under the supervision of Dr Alfonso Dufour in the area of algorithmic trading. He previously obtained an Msc in International Securities, Investment and Banking with Distinction at the ICMA Centre in 2008. For more information on Satchit Sagade please visit his profile.


ICMA Centre students Christmas party

It has only been a couple of months since we welcomed new and returning students to the ICMA Centre, but with the holiday season fast approaching, the end of the first term is almost upon us. To celebrate, the ICMA Centre students and staff attended the annual Christmas party.

The party started just after six, as students came out of their lectures and seminars to join in the festive atmosphere, with Christmas decorations and carols playing around the Centre. The students and staff tucked in to the buffet, including Christmas treats such as traditional mince pies, and indulged in a variety of festive drinks.

All of the students had raffle tickets and there were plenty of great gifts to be won. As the festivities continued even Santa Claus made an appearance and the students enjoyed having their photo taken with him.

The night was a great success and both students and staff enjoyed the opportunity to relax, look back on an eventful first term, and celebrate the upcoming holidays.

ICMA Centre students day trip to Bath

On a beautifully crisp and sunny Sunday morning, 68 ICMA Centre students and staff boarded a coach to Bath for a day trip to one of England’s oldest and richest historical cities. Organised by the Student Ambassador, Dan Alder, the day was a great opportunity to meet with others from across the ICMA Centre’s programmes, with individuals from around the world, taking up the chance to explore the West of England.

Both undergraduates and postgraduates, browsed through the atmospheric, traditional Christmas market with over 140 stalls, to pick up some gifts or just sample some mulled wine.

Several students enjoyed a visit to the Ancient Roman Baths where the Romans first built on Bath’s geothermal spa over 2000 years ago. While others preferred to relax, bathing in the open-air roof top spa, with a stunning view of the town and Abbey below.


The day proved a great success with the Student Ambassadors already looking forward to planning their next event!

Chancellor’s Awards Celebratory Reception

We are very proud of four of our ICMA Centre undergraduates who were honoured at this annual celebration hosted by the Chancellor, Sir John Madejski.

This was a fitting opportunity to mark the achievements of 70 of the University’s most talented students who achieved top marks in their School or subject area during the last academic year.

Included in these were ICMA Centre students Amy Ho and Juvereya Shoab who are now in their second year and Yihan Zhou and Aaron Lam who are finalists.

The Vice-Chancellor, Sir David Bell, congratulated the very best and highest academically achieving students and welcomed the Chancellor who was extremely pleased to celebrate the success of these students. Each recipient of the Chancellor’s Award is featured in a specially designed and created yearbook which they received during the Awards Reception along with a bespoke University pin-badge.

Many congratulations from all at the ICMA Centre to Amy, Juvereya, Yihan and Aaron!

Meet the Tutor event a success

Meet the Tutor eventAnother annual event took place at the ICMA Centre recently to help new and returning students to settle back into university life.

Students from all programmes and many different countries gathered together at the ICMA Centre to meet their tutor over a drink and light buffet. Postgraduates mixed with undergraduates, including ERASMUS students from Bucharest and Venice, to make the occasion most memorable. Many new friends were made and common interests discovered at this popular event as staff mingled with students.

In a record year, it certainly seemed to be the most populated the building has ever been and whilst it poured down with rain outside, everyone was having the best of times inside the ICMA Centre.

Long may it continue!

More photographs from the event can be found on our facebook page.

Research success for ICMA Centre lecturer

The ICMA Centre’s Dr Ioannis Oikonomou has reason to look fondly on 2012 as he has experienced two significant academic successes in recent months, which are bringing wider recognition across Europe to the research he is undertaking.

In early 2012 Dr Oikonomou’s project, ‘Corporate Social Responsibility and Credit Costs’ was awarded a highly prestigious grant by the Centre for European Economic Research in Mannheim, Germany. The Strengthening Efficiency and Competitiveness in the European Knowledge Economies (or SEEK) grant is worth approximately €150,000 and aims to contribute to a deeper understanding of policy rationales, the design of appropriate policy instruments as well as their effectiveness and efficiency.

The awarded project, a collaborative effort with Professor Michael Schroder, Dr Andreas Hoepner and Professor Bert Scholtens, is an international investigation of the effects of Corporate Social Responsibility on the cost of corporate loans. “As our work on this project falls in the intersection between business and society, it meets the overall objectives of the SEEK grant perfectly which made the committee very keen to invest in the research” said Dr Oikonomou.

The second success of 2012 for Dr Oikonomou is the awarding, in the previous month, of his thesis, ‘Empirical Investigations of the Relationship between Corporate Social and Financial Performance’ with the Best Thesis in Finance and Sustainability European Research Award for 2012. This award is administered by the French Social Investment Forum and the United Nations-backed Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) and is worth €5,000.

The PRI is a network of international investors working together to put the six Principles for Responsible Investment (link to the principles) into practice. Their interest in Dr Oikonomou’s thesis is a wonderful testament to the work he has done and demonstrates the potential for his research to develop into practical financial applications across institutions in Europe and further afield.

Dr Oikonomou was presented with his award at a ceremony in Paris in September. The event was covered by a variety of media including renowned French newspaper Le Monde for which Dr Oikonomou gave an interview.

Welcome Day 2012

We were really pleased to welcome our 19th postgraduate student cohort to the ICMA Centre last Friday. Even the sun came out as if to celebrate the arrival of our new students who had arrived from 38 different countries.

This was the largest postgraduate student group to date, numbering 329 – a far cry from the 74 students who joined us in 1994. With eight MSc degrees now on offer, the MSc International Securities, Investment and Banking is still the most popular programme with one third of the students choosing to study this particular degree.

The students were welcomed to the Centre by Professor Adrian Bell, Head of the ICMA Centre, as well as by the Dean of Henley Business School, Professor John Board. This year there was a special presentation made to the students by Martin Scheck, Chief Executive of ICMA in Zurich in which he gave an overview of the standards of market practice, explained the supportive relationship between the two organisations and commented on the major market themes present in the finance industry following the financial crisis of 2008.

After receiving all their study materials for Part 1 of their programmes the students returned to the serious business of Freshers’ Week and preparing for their first lectures of a unique educational experience which hopefully will lead to their career goals.

We wish all our new students good luck in their studies over the next academic year and are confident that their experience at the ICMA Centre will be most memorable.

New faculty members welcomed

Staff from the ICMA CentreThis academic year the ICMA Centre is very pleased to welcome three new members of faculty – Dr Nadia Kappou, Ogonna Nneji and Miriam Marra.

Dr Nadia Kappou

After having worked in the finance industry for seven years, Nadia joined the ICMA Centre on a full time basis in July 2012.

In the City, Nadia has worked as an equity derivatives trader for Credit Suisse, London and also as a commodity derivatives marketer for Credit Suisse-Glencore Alliance.

After studying Banking and Financial Management at the University of Piraeus in Greece, Nadia went on to gain an MSc in International Securities, Investment and Banking from the ICMA Centre followed by a PhD in Finance. She has taught on commodity and shipping derivatives on postgraduate programmes for a number of years.

Nadia has been involved in various projects within the shipping industry and has carried out research focusing on index tracking strategies and ETF’s which has been published in established financial journals as well as been presented at conferences worldwide.

Ogonna Nneji

After studying Economics and Finance at the University of Bristol and gaining an MSc in Finance and Investment from the University of Exeter, Ogonna studied for a PhD in Finance at the ICMA Centre where he has now been appointed as a Lecturer in Finance.

Ogonna has taught at a postgraduate level in Real Estate Finance and Securities, Futures and Options and is now convenor of the module Quantitative Methods for Finance at the ICMA Centre.

His experience in the finance industry includes working as an M&A Summer Analyst in HSBC Global Banking & Markets, a Research Summer Analyst in Olympia Capital Management and a Quantitative Summer Analyst in CQS Management.

His primary research interests include applied financial econometrics, asset bubbles and real estate finance/economics. He has presented his work at numerous leading finance and real estate conferences around the world, including the 2012 Financial Management Association (FMA) in Istanbul. His most recent work has focused on bubble contagion and spillovers across markets and regions.

Miriam Marra

Prior to joining the ICMA Centre as Lecturer in Finance, Miriam was a Teaching Fellow at Warwick Business School where she taught in Corporate Finance as well as acting as Tutor to several other finance modules.

She holds a BSc in Economics and an MA in International Economics from the University of Tor Vergata (Rome) as well as an MSc in Economics and Finance from Warwick Business School.

Her research interests are primarily in the areas of Asset Pricing and Liquidity, Credit Risk, Empirical Finance, Financial Crisis and Contagion, and Market Microstructure.

Miriam has presented her work on “Illiquidity Commonality across Equity and Credit Markets” in several workshops and conferences throughout Europe. She is also working on detecting illiquidity effects on credit default swaps and synthetic CDOs, testing structural models for default risk in credit derivative markets, developing the research on debt and credit derivative microstructure, and investigating issues related to downside risk and investors’ uncertainty in financial markets.

Adrian Bell announced as ICMA Centre Head of School

From 1 August 2012, Professor Adrian Bell will take over as Head of ICMA Centre. Adrian is well known to graduates of the ICMA Centre having been a member of staff since 1994 and has been involved with every group of BSc, MSc and PhD students since.

For many years Adrian was Director of Teaching and Learning, and for the last year has been Head of Pre-Experience Postgraduate Programmes across Henley Business School.

Adrian will continue his research into the History of Finance – currently with Chris Brooks and Tony Moore into Medieval FX markets; and Football finance!  For a recent opinion piece on medieval rate fixing see a piece written for Bloomberg.

Adrian’s most recent media appearance was on BBC Radio 4′s The Long View, where he was joined by Nick Leeson, the rogue trader who brought down Barings Bank; former Deputy Governor of the Bank of England, Sir John Gieve; John Coggan of the Economist and Performance poet, Attila the Stockbroker. You can listen to this broadcast on the BBC’s iPlayer.