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Press releases

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

New study: sustainability ratings are a reliable indicator of countries’ solvency

Munich, 16 October 2013 – There is currently a high level of uncertainty on the international financial markets, due to the budget dispute in the USA surrounding the proposed raising of the borrowing limit. The markets are waiting with bated breath to see whether the Democrats and the Republicans will be able to agree on raising the debt ceiling, which currently stands at just under 17 trillion US dollars. The key question for investors is whether the USA and other countries will be able to pay back the debts they have taken on or whether, as in the case of the debt cut in Greece, they can expect to see losses on their investments. A recent study based on sustainability rating agency oekom research’s country ratings shows that sustainability ratings are a reliable indicator of countries’ solvency and that taking sustainability ratings into account allows investors to make a better assessment of the overall risks.

The debt cut in Greece in March 2012 has hit many institutional investors. As a result of the revaluation of the bonds they made a nominal loss of 53.5 per cent on their claims. Due to the fact that the rates of interest on the new securities are effectively lower, the financial loss has been even greater. Investors who used oekom research’s country ratings as a basis for their decisions on government bond investments have not been affected by this. oekom research was already giving Greece poor scores in its sustainability rating at a time when the conventional rating agencies were still awarding it scores in the A range.

The recent study on “Sovereign Bonds and Sustainable Culture” carried out by the ICMA Centre at Henley Business School in the UK in collaboration with researchers from the universities of Hohenheim and St. Andrews confirms that this was no accident; rather, there is a demonstrable correlation between the risk of a country defaulting on its payments and that country’s sustainability culture. The study used oekom research’s country ratings as a basis for assessing countries’ sustainability cultures. Dr. Andreas G. F. Hoepner, who led the study, sums up the findings of the study as follows: “The study shows that a pronounced sustainability culture, as measured by oekom research’s country rating, significantly reduces the risk of payment default. It thus confirms the importance of sustainability ratings in determining the risks of government bonds. The results of the analysis show that, for a long-term investor, factoring country sustainability ratings into the determination of risk is financially advantageous.” Agnes Neher, a member of the project team, adds, “Combining conventional financial information with sustainability ratings produces a better overall assessment of long-term solvency and thus of the risks of government bonds.”

The US has for many years received poor ratings in oekom research’s country rating and ranks far behind the countries which are recommended from the sustainability point of view. For example, the USA continues to refuse to make a constructive contribution to global climate protection, and its consumption of energy and resources remains high. Growing income inequality is increasing social tension across society. “From the viewpoint of sustainability-oriented investors, it is therefore vital, irrespective of the outcome of the budget dispute, for budget funds to be invested more heavily in areas which have a positive impact on solvency and thus on creditworthiness,” observes Matthias Bönning, Head of Research at oekom research. “This includes, for example, investment in education, infrastructure and the promotion of energy efficiency.”


Further information can be obtained from:

oekom research AG

Rolf D. Häßler, Head of Corporate Communications, Goethestrasse 28, 80336 Munich, Germany, phone: +49 (0)89 544184-57, fax: -99, e-mail:

oekom research is one of the world’s leading rating agencies in the field of sustainable investment. The agency analyses companies and countries with regard to their environmental and social performance. oekom research has extensive experience as a partner to institutional investors and financial service providers, identifying issuers of securities and bonds which are distinguished by their responsible management of social and environmental issues. More than 100 asset managers and asset owners routinely draw on the rating agency’s research in their investment decision-making. oekom research’s analyses therefore currently influence the management of assets valued at over 520 billion euros.

Welcoming GARP as an Academic Partner

The ICMA Centre is proud to announce its new academic partnership with the Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP). The MSc Financial Risk Management is the first member of GARP’s Partnership for Risk Education in the United Kingdom. Through this partnership, our programme continues to align academic excellence and market intelligence, offering its graduates an insight of the new innovations in the area of risk management. With the support of GARP, we offer the most up to date aspects of risk management, tailored to the needs of the rapidly changing financial markets.


We are pleased to welcome ICMA Centre’s MSc Financial Risk Management as a GARP Academic Partner Plus.  The MSc Financial Risk Management is the first member of GARP’s Partnership for Risk Education in the United Kingdom.  The curriculum is well-designed and rigorous, and the faculty combine the theoretical foundations of risk management with the practical realities of today’s markets. Students completing this program will be well-prepared to succeed in GARP’s FRM program and as risk management professionals.” 

- Dr. Chris Donohue, MD Head of Risk and Educational Programs, GARP

Prize for Excellence in Capital Markets, Regulation and Compliance

The ICMA Centre, in partnership with Danos Associates, is pleased to announce the Prize for Excellence in Capital Markets, Regulation and Compliance.The award will consist of £2,000 for the highest achieving student on the ICMA Centre MSc Capital Markets, Regulation & Compliance programme.

The Prize for Excellence in Capital Markets, Regulation and Compliance will be presented at the ICMA Centre on Graduation Day (Friday 5th July – details to be confirmed).

Professor Adrian Bell, Head of the ICMA Centre, commented about the award  “I am delighted to announce another fantastic award for students and our partnership with Danos Associates. This award demonstrates the ICMA Centre’s focus on providing students with the practical and theoretical foundation for successful careers in the financial services industry.“

The award is in addition to a number of other annual Prizes that see the best performing students of both undergraduate and postgraduate programmes rewarded each year.

Dominic Danos, Managing Partner of Danos Associates, added “At a time when our industry is crying out for skilled risk management professionals, we are delighted to partner with such a prestigious institution as the ICMA Centre. There is a clear synergy between the two organisations. They are building the future leaders of the regulation and compliance profession and enriching them with knowledge and skills that they can apply immediately to one of the most demanding working environments in capital markets.”

Danos Associates is Europe’s leading specialist compliance search firm. Established in the competitive UK market, the firm now handles assignments worldwide from its offices in London, Dubai and Hong Kong. The ability to identify and attract top talent in the market to fill executive level positions is an essential component in building a dynamic institution, and the ICMA Centre is delighted to partner with a well-recognised and respected recruitment firm to assist in this regard.

Major International Finance Conference at the ICMA Centre – Henley Business School

The ICMA Centre – Henley Business School will be hosting the 2013 European Financial Management Association (EFMA) annual meeting on 26-29 June. The conference program includes 252 research papers that will be presented by authors from 36 countries and 5 continents. Among the 84 parallel sessions that will take place over the 4 days of the conference, 4 will be completely dedicated to the financial crisis, 5 on bank management and regulation, 4 on risk management and related issues and 12 on corporate governance and management compensation. Other topics that will  be discussed at the meetings, which span all areas of finance, are portfolio management and asset allocation, mergers and acquisitions, real estate, commodities, behavioural finance, currency markets and exchange rates, derivative securities pricing and hedging and law, ethics and finance.

Professor John Campbell, Chair of the Economics Department at Harvard University, is the keynote speaker for the 2013 meeting and will talk on the timely topic of ‘Understanding Volatility Risk’. Plenary session organisers and speakers include Dr Co-Pierre Georg, Deutsche Bundesbank, on ‘Transparency and Systemic Risk’, and Alex Edmans, Professor of Finance at The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, on ‘Executive Compensation and Corporate Governance’.

Research that will be presented and discussed at the conference has been authored by top finance academic and industry practitioners. Represented academic institutions are Harvard University, Stanford Law School, Stern School of Business, University of Chicago, Columbia University, Boston College, Cornell University, Wharton, INSEAD, University of Carlos III, Bocconi University, Athens University, Erasmus University, Fudan University, Goethe University, Hanken School of Economics, Hong Kong University, IESE Business School of Barcelona, Imperial College, Indian Institute of Technology, London Business School, LSE, Peking University, Schulich School of Business, Singapore Management University, Stockholm School of Economics, Tel Aviv University, University of Sydney, Tilburg University, Tokyo Keizai University, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, University of Brasília, University of Oxford, University of Toronto and Vienna University of Economics and Business.

Represented regulators and corporations include the Federal Reserve Board, European Central Bank, Deutsche Bundesbank, Bank of Canada, Banque de France, BM&FBOVESPA Stock Exchange, China Credit Rating Co., CONSOB, Edison SpA, Fidessa Group plc, J-POWER, Newedge, Swedish Agency for Growth Policy Analysis, and UNIQA Capital Markets.

The opening ceremony of the conference will be held on 26 June at the Reading Town Hall and will be hosted by MP Rob Wilson. All delegates and guests will convene for a gala dinner on 28 June which will take place at the majestic Henley Business School Greenlands Campus, one of the selected venues visited by HM Queen Elizabeth II for her Jubilee celebrations last June.

The ICMA Centre – Henley Business School gratefully acknowledges the help and support of the conference sponsors and award sponsors including, among others, the Bank of England the Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP) and the New York Stock Exchange – Euronext.

For more information about attending the conference, the speakers or to enquire about the numerous sponsorship opportunities available in connection with the event, please contact the conference chair at

Simone Varotto
Programme Chair 2013 Meeting
ICMA Centre, Henley Business School,
University of Reading
Whiteknights, Reading, RG6 6UR, United Kingdom
Part of the triple accredited Henley Business School, the ICMA Centre was formed as the first active collaboration between the securities industry and a university finance department. We offer a range of undergraduate, postgraduate and executive education, as well as professional and policy development research and consultancy. The ICMA Centre’s aim is to deliver the highest standard in financial markets focused teaching, learning and research. Our unique integration of theory with practice is achieved through the use of the Centre’s three state-of-the-art dealing rooms. All equipped by Thomson Reuters, the terminals run the latest industry simulation software as well as the Centre’s own simulation software platform; ICTrader.
Email: /

ICMA Centre’s BSc in Finance and Investment Banking becomes official CFA Program Partner

The ICMA Centre is very pleased to strengthen its relationship with the CFA Institute by having the BSc in Finance and Investment Banking recognised as a CFA program partner – in addition to the pre-existing recognition of the MSc in Investment Management.CFA Logo

In the words of the CFA Institute itself: “CFA partners with globally diverse, high profile institutions who cover a significant portion of the CFA Program Candidate Body of Knowledge and who embrace the CFA Institute Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct in their degree programs. Recognition as a CFA Program Partner provides a signal to potential students, current students, and the marketplace that the university curriculum is closely tied to professional practice and is well suited to preparing students to sit for the CFA exams.[1] The partnership comes with a series of benefits to the ICMA Centre and its undergraduate students.

Henley Business School becomes just the 4th school in the UK (joining Warwick Business School, Manchester Business School and Lancaster University Management School) to have an undergraduate program receive a CFA program partner status. Dr Ioannis Oikonomou, program director said “We are thrilled to strengthen our valued relationship with the CFA Institute. When the leading provider of professional financial accreditations recognises the strength and practical relevance of our curriculum, it enhances our resolve to provide hands-on educational services of the highest quality”.


New Professor of Real Estate Finance

The ICMA Centre and the University of Reading are delighted to welcome Professor Sotiris Tsolacos who joins the Henley Business School as Professor of Real Estate Finance. Professor Tsolacos joins us from Property & Portfolio Research, the world’s largest independent real estate research consultancy, with its headquarters in Boston.

Dr Tsolacos served the company as the Director of European Research for seven years, where he was responsible for delivering the company’s research and portfolio strategy services to investors in Europe. He has many years of experience in strategic investment research and risk assessment. He has worked closely with investment managers, funds and lenders to assess risk and formulate the real estate portfolio strategy.

An alumnus of this University, Dr Tsolacos also held visiting positions and delivered modules in a number of academic institutions including Reading. The focal point of his recent academic publications is forecasting and false market pricing.

He is a regular commentator on these and other topical themes, a frequent speaker at major industry events, and contributor to practitioner magazines. He is on the editorial boards of the Journal of Property Research and the Journal of Property Investment and Finance and is a past president of theEuropean Real Estate Society. Dr Tsolacos is also a fellow of the European Area Business Cycle Networkand the Homer Hoyt Institute in the US. He is the co-author of the book Real Estate Modelling and Forecasting, published by Cambridge University Press.

Dr Tsolacos said of his appointment, “I have many fond memories of this institution where I did my higher degrees and lectured.  After fourteen years, I am returning to take part in the training of the real estate financiers of the future and to carry out research in such a collegiate research environment.

“I am looking forward to working again with my old friends and I am excited about the School’s prospects for strengthening its long-standing relationships with the industry. A lot went wrong in the markets during the recent cycle, highlighting a deficit of actionable quality research and presenting a challenge to academic institutions. I am therefore keen to team up with the School’s faculty to produce topical, theme-driven research that will prove its impact.”

ICMA Executive Education expands management team

(London, UK) The International Capital Market Association (ICMA) and the ICMA Centre have announced two key appointments to the management team of ICMA Executive Education, their joint financial markets professional education programme, as part of an initiative to expand its international reach and content.

ICMA Executive Education provides benchmark education programmes for financial market participants from basic entry level courses explaining markets and their operation through to advanced level courses in specific markets aimed at more senior practitioners. The programmes, delivered in financial centres in Europe and worldwide, provide a unique blend of fundamental academic principles with up to the minute market knowledge designed to equip students with the skills they need to use in their everyday working lives.

Michael Mackenzie has been appointed to the new post of Head of Business Development for ICMA Executive Education where he is tasked with overseeing the growth of the business both in Europe and other international markets. Mr Mackenzie has held a number of senior positions in debt capital markets, including high level business development responsibilities at three rating agencies, among them Standard and Poor’s.

Dr Michael Smith of the ICMA Centre, Henley Business School has been appointed to the post of Academic Director of ICMA Executive Education where he will oversee the content of the existing 23 courses and will also be responsible for designing new programmes in response to changing market trends and conditions. Dr Smith has been a lecturer at the ICMA Centre, University of Reading since 1994 where his focus has been on the teaching of derivatives and on the development of applied simulated trading software. On behalf of the Centre he has taught applied finance at international government institutions, investment banks and universities and he has also been part of the ICMA EE academic faculty. Prior to his academic career Dr Smith worked as a derivatives trader in the City of London.

Martin Scheck, ICMA’s Chief Executive, said: ‘’Our investment in the expansion of ICMA Executive Education comes at a critical time for the industry when banks and other financial institutions are urgently trying to rebuild trust in markets. We see the provision of high quality professional training as absolutely integral to this process. These appointments underline ICMA’s 20 year commitment to delivering relevant high quality education to financial market practitioners.“


International Capital Market Association (ICMA)

Allan Malvar                                                                                    Margaret Wilkinson

+44 20 7213 0322                                                                           +44 20 7213 0323

+44 7738 696 451                                                                           +44 7931 100 499                                            


ICMA Executive Education

ICMA Executive Education is a partnership between the International Capital Market Association (ICMA) and the ICMA Centre, Henley Business School, University of Reading. Its main objective is to provide high quality professional courses to ICMA members (and non-members), in line with ICMA’s mission of improving standards and efficiency in international financial markets. ICMA Executive Education offers three levels of programmes, introductory, intermediate and specialist in both front office and operations areas. These are delivered at locations throughout Europe and also in the Middle East and Asia.

ICMA Centre

Part of the triple-accredited Henley Business School, the ICMA Centre is the product of the first active collaboration between the securities industry and a university finance department. The Centre has a global reputation for its excellence in undergraduate, postgraduate and executive education, as well as professional and policy development research and consultancy. The practical application of finance theory is one of the ICMA Centre’s key advantages and is why students and financial institutions alike choose the Centre for their education and training needs. This integration of theory with practice is achieved through the use of the Centre’s three state-of-the-art dealing rooms. All equipped by Thomson Reuters, the terminals run the latest industry simulation software as well as the Centre’s own simulation software platforms; ICTrader and StockTrak.

International Capital Market Association (ICMA)

The mission of the International Capital Market Association (ICMA) is to promote resilient and well functioning international debt capital markets, which are necessary for economic growth. ICMA is a membership association, committed to serving the needs of its members, including issuers, primary and secondary market intermediaries, asset managers, investors and capital market infrastructure providers, through its activities as a trade association and as a self regulatory organisation. Working actively with its members in all segments of the wholesale and retail markets, ICMA focuses on a comprehensive range of regulatory, market and other issues which impact market practices in the international debt capital markets. In addition, ICMA responds to the needs of its members on the buy side, both asset managers and investors, by focusing on relevant regulatory, market and other issues throughout the full spectrum of their activities.

Finance Conference at the ICMA Centre – Henley Business School attracts hundreds of researchers from around the world

Financial researchers from across the globe are hoping to have their work showcased at the  European Financial Management Association (EFMA) annual meeting on 26-29 June 2013.

Hosted by the ICMA Centre at Henley Business School, the event is one of the largest and most prominent academic conferences on finance in Europe. The conference will see leaders from the financial world come together to share knowledge and discuss decision making in all areas of finance, including bankruptcy and financial distress, corporate governance, corporate takeovers, management compensation, asset pricing, portfolio management and asset allocation, risk management and financial engineering, bank regulation, monetary and economic policy, currency markets and exchange rates, international market integration, law ethics and finance, real estate and venture capital.

Henley Business School has received an overwhelming response of 598 papers (deadline now passed) sent by academics and practitioners from 44 countries across 5 continents. The papers will be reviewed in the next few weeks by a panel of 190 world renowned finance experts from top academic institutions including Harvard Business School, MIT, Stanford University, Yale School of Management, London Business School, INSEAD, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, HEC Paris, and the University of Oxford.

About 300 papers are expected to be included in the programme over the four days of the conference. In addition several plenary sessions will be dedicated to timely and important finance issues.

Professor John Campbell, Chair of the Economics Department at Harvard University, is the keynote speaker for the 2013 meeting and will talk on the timely topic of ‘Understanding Volatility Risk’. Plenary session organisers and speakers include Dr Co-Pierre Georg, Deutsche Bundesbank, on ‘Transparency and Systemic Risk’, and Alex Edmans, Professor of Finance at The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, on ‘Executive Compensation and Corporate Governance’.

Dr Simone Varotto, Senior Lecturer in Finance at the ICMA Centre and Chair of the 2013 EFMA conference, said: “The event promises to be absolutely fascinating. We have been overwhelmed at the number of submissions we have received and the line-up of speakers is extremely exciting. Listening to Professor Campbell alone discuss finance is a privilege, never mind the hundreds of other great financial minds that will be gathered at Reading.”

Professor John Doukas, Executive Director of the EFMA said: “I am delighted that the 2013 EFMA conference will be held at such a prestigious institution as the University of Reading. The ICMA Centre and Henley Business School, who are organising the event, are well established and highly regarded in academic finance circles and the finance industry. Their expertise, excellent facilities and proximity to London make them an ideal host for the EFMA annual meeting.”

For more information about attending the conference, the speakers or to enquire about the numerous sponsorship opportunities available in connection with the event, please contact the conference chair at


Finance and the Middle Ages – Two new publications

We are off to a great start to 2013 with two new publications from ICMA Centre Academic staff. The two articles are available now for download and in paper copy.

The first article, Rich Pickings from Medieval Pilgrims, is available for download at the HistoryToday magazine’s website, and was written by ICMA Centre Head of School, Professor Adrian Bell, and Professor Richard Dale. The article explores some striking parallels between modern marketing tactics and the management of shrines in the Middle Ages, discusses how Pilgrims were a lucrative source of income for the Church, and looks at the true cost of miracles.

The second article, Medieval Money Tricks, sees a collaboration between the ICMA Centre’s Professor Adrian Bell, Professor Chris Brooks, and Dr Tony Moore and is available in January’s edition of BBC History Magazine.

The authors examine the evidence of financial irregularity in the Middle Ages and the methods used by Medieval merchants to circumvent Church laws against usury. Such methods included; lenders receiving valuable gifts “unrelated” to the loan, disguising interest as late repayment penalties on a loan that was officially interest-free, or disguising interest in different currency exchange rates for the loan and the repayment. These techniques are argued to have given way to a nascent capitalism, at the expense of a more ethical financial system.

Both publications offer a fascinating insight into the financial systems of the middle ages, and draw interesting comparisons to today’s financial world.

Professor Adrian Bell will be delivering a public lecture on Modern finance in the Middle Ages: What history can tell us about current financial crises, on the 13th of FebruaryHe will explore how medieval financial innovations have many parallels with recent events, and look at what lessons we can learn from the past. The lecture is part of the University of Reading Public Series 2012-13 and is free to attend. More information can be found at this link