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Medieval Foreign Exchange

Financial experts from the University of Reading’s ICMA Centre are to investigate medieval foreign exchange. The University has recently won a Research Project Grant worth almost £200,000 from the Leverhulme Trust.[1] The research team, comprising Professors Adrian Bell and Chris Brooks, and Dr Tony Moore, will examine in detail the workings of the markets for foreign currency trade in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.

Professor Bell said, “I am delighted that our application to Leverhulme has been successful in this intensively competitive funding environment.

“This project will build on our previous successful research funded by the ESRC into the medieval wool market and medieval sovereign borrowing and credit crises, and will cement our position as world leaders in the historical analysis of financial markets and in drawing policy-relevant lessons from the medieval environment for contemporary problems.”

“In our previous projects, we showed that contrary to popular misconception, the medieval financial markets were remarkably efficient and well functioning centuries prior to the advent of computer-based asset pricing models. It will be interesting to investigate whether the same is true of the currency markets, which were even at that time the most developed aspect of the financial system.”

The study will adopt the tools and techniques of modern finance to analyse the market for foreign exchange that existed in the later Middle Ages. The 3-year project will be the first to systematically study both the short- and long-run determinants of medieval foreign currency rates. It will examine how medieval merchant societies, the forerunners of modern investment banks, sought to profit from speculating on exchange rate fluctuations. It also aims to investigate how successful medieval governments were in their attempts to control exchange rates, an issue clearly of relevance in today’s markets where there is again talk of central bank intervention in the FX markets and the possibility of competitive devaluations.

[1] Medieval Foreign Exchange c. 1300 – 1500, Grant number RPG-193.

ICMA Centre’s Tom Markham speaks about football’s £90 million match

Whilst Reading’s sporting entourage were packing the trains to Wembley for the Reading FC against Swansea City playoff final, ICMA Centre’s very own Tom Markham was speaking to Nicki Whiteman on her BBC Radio Berkshire radio show about the economic impact promotion to the Premier League would have.

The playoff final is worth an estimated £90 million, which gives the winner a substantial financial windfall and with Tom’s enthusiasm and knowledge of the beautiful game’s financial side, he was asked to speak intensively on his specialised area.

Tom’s devotion to football is noticeable through the quantity of research he has concluded. His MSc dissertation ?The Plight of Football Clubs as Listed Companies from an Investor’s Viewpoint’ analysed the investment potential and financial of the then seventeen listed British clubs using comprehensive ratio analysis and a bespoke multivariate bankruptcy prediction model.

His MBA dissertation ‘The Valuation and Solvency of Top Tier British Clubs since the Inception of the Premier League. Is the Current Model Sustainable?’ was supervised by football finance expert Professor Tom Cannon, who regularly appears on Sky Sports News.

Tom collected his MBA (FI) with distinction from the University of Liverpool in December 2009. He is currently embarking on a PhD in Football Finance – under the supervision of Professor Adrian Bell and Professor Chris Brooks – at the ICMA Centre.

Find Tom’s interview here at the 1:06:00 mark .

Suited and Booted

ICMA Centre students got suited and booted for the annual class photographs last week. Amid all the exam stress, the photographs mark the beginning of a season of celebratory events at the Centre.

By the end of the month students will be nearing the end of their exams and they can relax and enjoy the annual ICMA Centre BBQ. Then we have the Centre’s 20th Anniversary Drinks Reception to look forward to in June and graduation in July.

BSc Class of 2011

This is the first BSc cohort who will graduate with the newly titled BSc Finance and Investment Banking.

MSc Class of 2011

We recruited a record number of students this year across eight Masters in Finance programmes.

ICMA Centre announces new Ambassador Scholarship

This week the ICMA Centre at Henley Business School announced the launch of its new Ambassador Scholarship. Offering a very substantial £10,000 against fees, this scholarship includes an ambassadorial role that will provide students with valuable skills and experience to add to their CV.

For 2011 entry the ICMA Centre will be offering up to five awards of £10,000 each to Masters students on the basis of academic excellence. All applicants for the full-time Masters degrees who meet the entry criteria will be considered for this scholarship.

Professor Adrian Bell, School Director of Teaching and Learning said:

“We are delighted to announce this new scholarship. This is an exciting opportunity for applicants as it offers both a very substantial discount and through the ambassadorial role, the chance to develop important networking and presentation skills. We expect demand for these awards to be high and urge those who are interested to apply as soon as possible.”

Open to all UK and EU applicants the criteria for consideration includes outstanding results at undergraduate level together with an excellent level of spoken English. Successful applicants will be contacted via letter to arrange a convenient face-to-face or telephone/Skype interview and will be notified within ten working days following the interview whether they have been awarded the scholarship (subject to fulfilling any conditions attached to their offer of a place on the MSc programme). The deadline for applications to be considered for the scholarship is Friday 17 June.

For more information regarding the scholarship please visit

ICMA Centre MSc high flyer receives commemorative award

ICMA Centre MSc student Chardin Wese Simen has been awarded a prestigious investment banking prize by the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI).

The Stephen Cooke Scholarship Programme commemorates the late Stephen Cooke, former senior partner of stockbroking firm, Gerrard Vivian Gray. These scholarships are only available to SII accredited Centres of Excellence, which are an elite group of universities including ourselves, selected by the SII as offering leadership in academic education, focused on financial markets.

Chardin, who is studying the MSc International Securities, Investment and Banking had to submit an essay to the board, as well as taking part in rigorous interviews in order to win the special award, is delighted with his achievement.

Chardin aged 21, said:

“I’m honoured that the CISI has awarded me the Stephen Cooke General Scholarship. The award and the skills enhanced during the different stages of the process will be priceless for the next steps of my personal development. Owing to its collaboration with academic institutions, the CISI deserves special praise for inspiring students to think about topical issues and enabling them to gain an insight into the challenges faced by policymakers. I am greatly indebted to the ICMA Centre and its remarkable faculty for encouraging students to look at the theoretical concepts as well as the applications in financial markets.”

Chardin was awarded the £3,000 prize at the CISI Annual Awards Ceremony held at London’s Mansion House. This was the Institute’s 18th annual awards ceremony; the key speaker was The Rt. Hon. The Lord Mayor, Alderman Michael Bear. Chardin was presented the award by Alan Ramsay FCSI (Hon), Head of Compliance, HSBC Bank plc and member of the Board of Directors of the CISI.

ICMA Centre hosts joint event with Henley Finance Club

Last night the ICMA Centre hosted a joint event for its alumni and Henley Finance Club members. The event was a great success with over 100 guests. Professor John Board (Director of the ICMA Centre and Dean of Henley Business School) welcomed the guests along with the founder of Henley Finance Club, Executive MBA studen, Brenda Sibindi. This will be the first of many joint events.

If you would like to see more photos of the event please visit our Facebook page. For more information or to join Henley Finance Club please visit

ICMA Centre to host Romanian students as part of €4m ESF research project

The ICMA Centre, Henley Business School, is cooperating with four Romanian universities, namely the Academy of Economic Studies in Bucharest, the University “Alexandru Ioan Cuza ” in Ia?i, the University of West in Timi?oara and the University “Babe? Bolyai” in Cluj-Napoca on a project for post-doctoral studies, with an overall budget of around 4 million Euros.

The partnership was developed as part of the Sectoral Operational Programme for Human Resources Development 2007-2013 (SOP HRD), financed by the European Social Fund for Romania and the Romanian government. The main objective of the project is to enhance the Romanian post-doctoral research performance in the general field of economics.

The 3-year long project starts in May 2010 and includes various activities, such as post-doctoral visits, workshops and conferences, as well as providing finance for 80 post-doctoral fellows to facilitate their work and promote their research outputs. The ICMA Centre and the School of Economics at the University of Reading will also host around 20 post-doctoral students from the above named universities.

Solidus Securities Scholarship Awarded

The ICMA Centre is delighted to announce the winner of this year’s Solidus Securities Scholarship, MSc student Eleana Kitsara.

The scholarship was established in 2008 by ICMA Centre alumnus Nick Kaltsoyannis to support Greek MSc students with a strong academic background. The scholarship, which is awarded on an annual basis to one full-time Masters student, includes 50% of all tuition fees of any ICMA Centre MSc programme and an optional one-to-two months summer training with Solidus Securities SA in Athens, Greece. Nick said:

“We awarded this year’s scholarship to Miss Eleana Kitsara, because apart from fulfilling the relevant criteria, she showed a very strong commitment to taking a postgraduate course at the ICMA Centre, contacting us one year ago and preparing herself thoroughly during the summer. We believe she’s going to achieve her goals and we’re happy to support her effort through the Solidus Securities SA Scholarship”.

Eleana, from Athens, Greece who is studying the Centre’s most popular programme the MSc in International Securities, Investment and Banking said:

“Studying finance at the ICMA Centre was a top priority for me. I feel privileged to have received this scholarship and grateful I was given the opportunity to realise my ambition.”

The ICMA Centre launches new Masters Degree in International Shipping and Finance

The ICMA Centre, part of the world ranked Henley Business School at the University of Reading , UK and ALBA Graduate Business School in Athens, Greece are proud to introduce a new Masters Degree (MSc) in International Shipping and Finance.

This 10-month programme seeks to address the needs of the rapidly evolving, highly competitive and capital intensive shipping industry that have led to increasing demand from shipping and transportation companies as well as finance and consulting firms for personnel with shipping specific, practical financial management skills and knowledge.

The degree is designed to provide a unique educational experience that combines research-led teaching and technically advanced training by world-renowned academic faculty and selected industry practitioners. Participants benefit from hands-on sessions, bespoke simulations, specialised workshops, distinguished guest speakers, and careers events and have the opportunity to spend two months in Greece, a country with a long standing tradition in shipping and the largest merchant fleet in the European Union and second largest in the world. While at ALBA students attend specialised shipping courses and participate in other activities, such as visits to shipping companies, vessels and ports, accompanied by information sessions from shipping practitioners.

The degree has received accreditation by the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers (ICS) and the Chartered Institute of Securities and Investment (CISI) and graduates are eligible for exemptions from the ICS Qualification and CISI Diploma examinations. Internship opportunities with leading companies in the shipping industry as well as scholarship opportunities will also be available to outstanding graduates and applicants respectively.

Dr Alexandridis and Dr Visvikis, the directors of the programme, commented:

“We are delighted that this collaboration between two leading European business schools has materialised. Our expertise in shipping and finance education that integrates theory with practice and excellent industry links are the cornerstones of this new programme that aims to attract graduates seeking either to develop, or to embark upon, a finance-based career in the shipping sector. The ultimate goal is to educate future leaders in the shipping and finance sectors.”

The ICMA Centre ranked 2nd for employability by The Times Good University Guide 2011

The ICMA Centre has been ranked 2nd for employability by The Times Good University 2011*. This ranking demonstrates the emphasis the Centre places on producing graduates with skills and knowledge of real value to institutions in the financial markets.

Professor Adrian Bell, School Director of Teacher and Learning, said: “We are delighted with our position in the rankings. This reflects the Centre’s excellent links with leading financial institutions in the City, our practical application of finance theory through the use of our extensive dealing facilities and our dedicated careers service.”

The ICMA Centre’s dedicated Career Development Unit is available to both undergraduate and postgraduate students. The Unit, staffed by industry professionals, not only provide advice on writing CVs, producing effective applications and helping students to find internships but also arrange networking events with alumni and financial institutions.

Martyn Drage, Career Development Manager at the Centre, said: “We have long recognised the importance of career development and have integrated specialist career management assistance into the undergraduate degree with the Career Management Skills module as well as supplementary presentations and workshops led by industry professionals and recruiters. The service we offer adds real value to students and its great to see that this is reflected in the rankings for the Centre.”

ICMA Centre BSc alumnus, Gurjit Kaur, said: “I don’t believe I would have learnt nearly as much about the recruitment process, the investment banking industry or even about myself and my suitability to various career paths if it hadn’t been for the Career Management Skills seminars, careers committee meetings and individual careers advisory sessions.”

The ICMA Centre also faired well in the latest National Student Survey scoring a 96% overall satisfaction rate.

*Accounting and Finance subject league table, The Times Good University Guide 2011