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Infrastructure Funding, Finance and Institutional Investment – a new guide by Professor Brian Scott-Quinn

Infrastructure is the new buzzword in finance these days even though infrastructure has been important at least since the days when the Romans built their roads across Britain and Europe. The difference today is that increasingly the government says it cannot finance such infrastructure – roads, railways, power generation, telecoms, airports etc. The telecoms industry is already completely privately owned in most countries as are an increasing number of airports across the world. But governments everywhere are now looking ever more to public private partnerships (PPPs) to provide the annual funding (the annual revenues required to service bank loan and bond interest payments and capital repayments and equity dividends) as well as the actual financing (the arranging of bank loans, bond issues and equity share issues) to provide the cash up-front.  
Even in urban public transport projects such as Crossrail 1 and 2 in London, the private sector is involved. In Crossrail 2, the government has said it will provide 50% of the finance but the private sector (customers, retail stores in stations, business rate payers with supplemental business rates to capture land value increases etc.) are expected to fund the balance. While most roads will remain in the public sector, more toll roads may be built and these will be constructed as public private partnership (PPP) concessions.
Two capital market trade associations – the Association of Financial Markets in Europe (AFME) and the International Capital Market Association (ICMA) commissioned Professor Brian Scott-Quinn to write a Guide to Infrastructure Financing which was published in July 2015. This was one element of these two trade associations’ contribution in support of the European Union growth agenda. The two trade associations are also strongly supportive of the European Commissions’s Investment Plan for Europe and the establishment of the € 315bn European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI). The purpose of the Guide, therefore is to contribute to the work of EFSI by facilitating the raising of private sector finance for infrastructure projects in which EFSI invests. 
Brian Scott-Quinn and his research assistant, Deyber Cano are very grateful to the AFME-ICMA Infrastructure Working Group comprising bankers, investors, law firms, rating agencies and other market participants who made an invaluable contribution to the content of the Guide. They also provided guidance in its structuring and helped with gaining access for interview to those involved in the business of enhancing European growth and the quality of life of its citizens through the expansion of  infrastructure provision.
Professor Brian Scott-Quinn
Reading, August 2015

Results 2015: A warm ICMA Centre welcome to our new students

We would like to say a huge congratulations to everyone who received their long-awaited A-level results today, and a warm and well-deserved welcome to all our new ICMA Centre students.

You’re about to join the Henley Business School community, studying at one of the top 1% of business schools in the world, equipped with state-of-the-art dealing room facilities featuring Thomson Reuters Eikon and Bloomberg terminals for practical experience in Finance.

If you have a Firm or Insurance offer for an undergraduate programme at the ICMA Centre, please visit University of Reading’s help page for a guide on confirming your place: 

In the meantime, make sure you follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to join our community of ICMA Centre students and graduates, and keep up to date with news and goings on in time for your first week in September. 

If you have any questions, you can call our confirmation hotline on +44 (0)118 378 8372 or email us at

If you haven’t already got a place and are looking to explore alternative options, visit our Adjustment and Clearing page. 

Bulmershe students take top position in Business School Stock Market Competition


On Thursday 2 July, the ICMA Centre at Henley Business School hosted its fourth annual Stock Market Competition for sixth form and college students interested in a career in finance and trading. The competition took place in the ICMA Centre’s world-class trading rooms, and after an exciting day, Greg Dean and Nischal Timalsina from Bulmershe School were awarded iPads and a trophy as the competition winners. 

The aim of the competition is to give students the chance to apply their current knowledge of subjects such as maths, business and economics to the fast-moving world of international trading. It also exposes participants to the importance of business ethics and responsible business practice that is core to the teaching philosophy at Henley Business School. To help students avoid the temptation of taking the excessive gambles that have plagued the professional trading world, strict dealing limits were imposed, with penalties in place for reckless trading.

This year’s competition was hugely popular and over a hundred students from thirteen schools competed against each other for the chance to become top traders. The final results were closer than ever before, with only a two-point difference between first, second, and third place. Second place was taken by Harris Porter and Rafid Reza from Woking College, and in third place was Matt Bell and Jamie Cannon from Wilmington Grammar School for Boys.

Robert Russell, Head of Business Development at Divento Financials, who sponsored the competition and presented the awards, commented: “I was incredibly impressed with the students’ enthusiasm and ability to pick up complex ideas so rapidly. The Stock Market Competition gives young people an exciting and realistic experience, and encourages more finance enthusiasts into future careers in the industry.” 

The day proved to be a great success, and the ICMA Centre is already looking forward to inviting students to take part in the fifth annual Stock Market Competition next summer.

Click here to view the pictures on Facebook

The schools that took part in the Stock Market Competition 2015 were:

  • Woking College
  • Bulmershe School
  • The Abbey School
  • Cox Green school
  • Rickmansworth School
  • The Willink School
  • Palmer’s College
  • Reading Blue Coat School
  • Ranelagh School
  • Churchers College
  • Wilmington Grammar School for Boys
  • Ouse dale School
  • Dame Alice Owen School

Henley achieves year on year world leading results

FT Masters in Finance ranking 2015 – 32nd in the world and 8th in the UK

Henley Business School continues to be highly ranked with students enjoying an even better start to their careers:  87% are employed within three months of graduation – a world top 30 position.

World-class teaching and learning

The Henley finance programmes are taught at our world-renowned ICMA Centre, where 90% of faculty have PhDs, balancing academic theory with the considerable industry experience they share with our students.  Many consult at the highest level in industry and receive regular requests to provide expert opinion to specialist media – most recently on subjects including the Greek financial crisis and football club financial management.

International and diverse

Nearly half the students and faculty are female. 48% of the full-time faculty are international, giving students a learning experience with a global outlook.

Leading edge facilities

Henley students are able to put theory into practice, working in the dedicated trading rooms with their purpose built software, still the envy of other schools in the UK and around the world.

Adrian Bell, head of the ICMA Centre at Henley Business School comments: “The UK is the world’s number 1 destination for finance programmes for good reason.  Not only are we at the heart of world finance, but at Henley we offer our students the learning experience they need to compete on the world stage. This year marks 20 years since our first students graduated and I am proud of what they have gone on to achieve in their careers.” 


Henley Business School signs MoU with the World Maritime University (WMU)

Following the inauguration of the new World Maritime University (WMU) campus on Tuesday, 19 May in Malmö, Henley Business School and WMU signed a Memorandum of Understanding on academic collaboration.

WMU is a leading postgraduate maritime university founded by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), a specialized agency of the United Nations. The memorandum aims to establish a long-term relationship between the two institutions which aspire to combine their complementary strengths and specialisations in shipping and business education to develop innovative taught post-experience postgraduate programmes. The memorandum also highlights the wider scope to promote academic and scientific collaboration between the two Universities.

Dr George Alexandridis, Director of Shipping Programmes at Henley Business School said: “We are delighted and look forward to working with WMU towards the development of joint programmes as well as fostering opportunities for broader academic and scientific collaboration. With international trade growing at a fast pace and more than 90% of that trade being carried by sea, the maritime industry has emerged as a major contributor to the society and global economy. Given the intensifying complexity, significant volatility and novel requirements for international regulation associated with the wider maritime sector, there is a growing demand for specialist maritime oriented business education and interdisciplinary research. Combining our respective strengths, we will be able to  develop innovative specialist post-experience programmes as well as deliver cutting edge research, catering for the ever growing needs of the international shipping industry. Following ICMA Centre’s very successful partnership with ALBA Graduate Business School in the delivery of the MSc in International Shipping and Finance, the new collaboration with the WMU clearly demonstrates our commitment to maritime education as well as to building outstanding international partnerships.” 

The MoU was signed by Dr. Richard McBain, Head of the Post Experience PostGraduate Programme Area, Henley Business School, and Professor Neil Bellefontaine, WMU Acting President. Present at the signing were Mr. Koji Sekimizu, WMU Chancellor and IMO Secretary-General, Dr. Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, WMU President Designate, Dr. George Alexandridis, Associate Professor and Director of Shipping Programmes, Henley Business School, and Dr. Ilias Visvikis, Professor and Director of Executive and Professional Development, WMU.

ICMA Centre academics receive research award

Dr Ioannis Oikonomou and Professor Chris Brooks’ work on the connection between firm sustainability and the pricing of corporate bonds was recently honoured with the Outstanding Publication Award from the Financial Review academic journal.

The Financial Review is an internationally recognised journal which publishes rigorous and original research providing insights into all areas of financial economics. It is the official journal of the Eastern Finance Association (EFA). Every year the editorial team shortlists the papers published in the journal which it deems to be of the highest quality and then the members of the EFA vote the best among them. For 2014, the paper “The Effects of Corporate Social Performance on the Cost of Corporate Debt and Credit Ratings” of Professor Brooks and Dr Oikonomou was announced as the (joint) recipient of the award.

The paper provides findings supportive of a negative association between corporate social responsibility and credit spreads and a positive link between corporate social performance and credit quality − as measured by agency ratings. These conclusions are particularly useful for the multi-billion socially responsible investing (SRI) industry which has been expanding its investment universe from equity to bonds and alternative asset classes.

“Naturally, we are very happy to see our work being honoured in this way by the academic world. It is less than a year ago that the same paper was featured in CFA digest which shows that high quality research can, and should, also be practically relevant”, commented the authors.


ICMA Centre Stock Market Competition 2015

The ICMA Centre is pleased to announce the forth edition of the Stock Market Competition for Schools, which will take place in its world class trading rooms.

The competition is open to students in year 12 who are considering a career in finance or international trading.

The event will take place on Thursday 2nd July 2015, 9.30am – 4.00pm.

The competition is designed to give students the opportunity to apply their current knowledge of subjects such as maths, business and economics to the high speed world of international trading and develop a familiarity with the language of financial markets.

We are looking for teams of two students to represent their School. Each school can enter up to five teams (10 individual students in total).

Open to: Year 12 students, particularly those taking AS level maths, business, economics or other related subjects.

Taking part: To register your school to be a part of the competition, go to our online registration form.

Prizes: Prizes will be awarded to the members of the winning teams.

The competition is a professional business competition, so we expect our participants to dress in either business casual or business formal attire.

Lunch and drinks will be provided throughout the day.

We are pleased to announce that this year’s competition is sponsored by Divento Financials, for more info please email

For more information: email our marketing team at


Divento Financials Ltd

Divento Financials Ltd. is a dynamic and forward-thinking financial futures trading company, offering a wide variety of trading opportunities to the right applicant.

At Divento the term ‘impossible’ does not feature within their outlook.  With their specialised training, guidance and risk management, there is unlimited scope for traders to achieve their full potential.  Working closely with the major financial exchanges around the world, Divento trades a multitude of asset classes alongside their algorithmic trading models, and market making operations.

A career as a futures trader with Divento can provide unparalleled challenges and rewards, regardless of age or experience.  With an intuitive and educated approach you could look forward to an extremely fulfilling and lucrative career within the financial industry.

Divento believes people make a business and encourage a team environment.  Working together to adapt and stay ahead, their goal is to help make you the best you can possibly be.  Whether new to the markets or a seasoned market professional, they provide their traders with access to global markets across all asset classes, with leading I.T. infrastructure, and continuous in-house support.

Targeted applications will be considered from highly motivated, successful candidates showing an understanding of, and real passion for, the financial markets.

Conduct of Business Regulation in a retail context by Latha Balakrishnan

Ms Latha Balakrishnan will be delivering a guest lecture for students taking the Governance and Compliance in Financial Services module, MSc Capital Markets, Regulation and Compliance.The guest lecture will take place on Tuesday 17th March, 4-6 pm at the ICMA Centre.

The lecture is also suitable for those interested in financial regulation more generally. Ms Balakrishnan will be covering the topic ‘Conduct of Business Regulation in a retail context’. She will cover concepts such as suitability, financial promotions and treating customers fairly during this lecture.

Latha is a senior executive with broad commercial, banking, Compliance and regulatory skills built up over many years through experience in retail, wholesale and commercial banking, Operations, Internal Audit, project management and Compliance.

She has worked in a number of countries with global banks including HSBC, Barclays and Standard Chartered, particularly in the area of Compliance where she held senior positions including delivering a global compliance risk management framework. During her tenure with the UK financial services regulator (the FSA and then the FCA) she gained cross-industry experience through her involvement in a number of prudential, conduct and governance areas of supervision of large global banks.

She has a proven track record of leading global teams in a diverse and cross cultural environment with a solid international background, having lived and worked in a number of countries across the Middle East, South Asia, the far East and in the UK.

Latha is currently Director, Compliance at the British Business Bank, the UK government’s first development bank for small and medium sized business enterprises where she is responsible for setting up the Compliance function.


Liquidity effects and FFA returns in the international shipping derivatives market

A new paper co-authored by Nadia Kappou, ICMA Centre MSc Financial Risk Management programme director, with Amir H. AlizadehDimitris Tsouknidis and Ilias Visvikis has recently been published

The study examines the impact of liquidity risk on freight derivatives returns. The Amihud liquidity ratio and bid–ask spreads are utilized to assess the existence of liquidity risk in the freight derivatives market. Other macroeconomic variables are used to control for market risk. Results indicate that liquidity risk is priced and both liquidity measures have a significant role in determining freight derivatives returns.  The results have important implications for modeling freight derivatives, and consequently, for trading and risk management purposes.

The full paper is available at this link. For more information about our MSc Financial Risk Management, accredited by the Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP), please see this link.





Strategic risk shifting and idiosyncratic volatility

A recent research paper, “Strategic risk shifting and idiosyncratic volatility”, by Dr Nicholas Chen with his co-authors, has been accepted for presentation at the 2015 Western Finance Association Meetings. The conference is highly prestigious with an acceptance rate from submitted papers of only 8%.

Nicholas’s work helps advance our understanding of asset pricing and capital markets. More specifically, while standard asset pricing models argue that idiosyncratic risk should not be priced, the new research theoretically and empirically demonstrates that when stock holders can manipulate a firm’s idiosyncratic risk profile to maximise their own wealth at the cost of bond holders, idiosyncratic risk will be priced in stock returns. They show that this unequal risk-sharing between equity and debt holders can explain a very important puzzle in the asset pricing literature, namely the negative relationship between idiosyncratic risk and future stock returns. Nicholas’s research will help advance our understanding on this well-known asset pricing puzzle. The full working paper is available at .