MSc Financial Risk Management

One of our flagship programmes with a leading world-class reputation for over 10 years and the first one in the UK to be accredited by the Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP)

Course overview

Highlights

  • Enhance your career prospects in one of the most sought after areas of finance
  • Study one of the most recognised risk management master’s courses in the UK
  • Develop your professional skills by studying for GARP FRM Part I as part of the course and benefit from the programme’s accreditation by GARP
  • Focus on highly specialised topics such as market risk, financial instruments and credit risk
  • Benefit from additional professional exam exemptions from PRMIA

Course overview

One of our flagship programmes with a leading world-class reputation for over 10 years and the first one in the UK to be accredited by the Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP).

The financial system has undergone major restructuring in preparation for the new regulatory frameworks, affecting existing roles and creating different skillset requirements within risk management divisions of financial institutions.  

If you have any questions, please contact us by email at admissions@icmacentre.ac.uk or by phone on +44 (0)118 378 6497

Fees & funding

Full-time course fees (2016/17): £22,900

Full-time course fees (2017/18): £23,500

Fees are the same for both EU and overseas students but we have a number of scholarships aimed at candidates with excellent academic performance and/or work experience that cover part of the tuition cost. Please note there is a one-off £30 application fee (one charge regardless of how many courses you apply for). You can pay this by credit/debit card at this link (please contact us if you require details of alternative payment methods).

Living expenses are in addition to the above fees. Overseas full-time participants can expect to spend approximately £9,400 on additional living expenses during the course of their studies. Home/EU full-time participants can expect to spend approximately £8,000 on additional living expenses during the course of their studies.

Please note that a non-refundable deposit is payable when confirming your acceptance of an offer of a place. This is part of your tuition fee and will be deducted from the total amount upon enrolment.

Scholarships

We offer a number of scholarships for EU/UK and international applicants with excellent academic performance as well as for international applicants with work experience, covering from £5,000 to 60% of the cost of the programme.

For a full list of scholarships, visit our scholarships webpage.

 

UK/European Union Postgraduate Loans

The UK Government has confirmed that non-means tested loans of up to £10,000 will be available to students studying for postgraduate masters courses from the 2016-2017 Academic year. To be eligible, students will need to be English domiciled.  EU students, and individuals falling within certain specified categories, may also be eligible.

Full details of the loan, including how to apply, are due to be published this year.  You read more at Introduction of loans for postgraduate students and Government response to the Consultation on Support for Postgraduate Study.

Careers & professional accreditation

Careers

After completion of this programme, students are well-prepared to follow a career in the challenging fields of risk management, or risk analysis with banks, regulators, portfolio managers, corporate treasuries, risk management software houses, specialist financial boutiques and hedge funds. Regulators, governments, advisors and commentators are unanimously endorsing the call for more and better qualified risk managers and analysts to join the financial industry.

Find out more about graduate destinations and career opportunities on our Henley Careers page

Professional accreditation

Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP)

Architecture_PresOpt1MSc Financial Risk Management is accredited by GARP and the degree syllabus is enhanced with the most up to date professional practices in the area of risk management, integrating applied academic knowledge to industry needs and providing a competitive advantage to the graduates. Integral to the academic course is the parallel study of the GARP FRM Part I certificate. Upon successful completion of their degree, students will be registered to take the FRM Part I examination.

Professional Risk Managers’ Association (PRMIA)

PRMIAjpglogoICMA Centre MSc Financial Risk Management students are eligible for exemption from Exams I and II of PRM Certification. In addition MSc FRM students are provided with assistance to take PRM Exams III and IV.

CISI Diploma
The ICMA Centre is a Chartered Institute of Securities and Investment (CISI) Centre of Excellence. Centres of Excellence are a select group of UK universities, recognised by the CISI as offering leadership in academic education on financial markets. Students who are on a financially-related masters course recognised by the CISI are eligible for exemptions and membership. 

ICMA Centre students who register and successfully complete two CISI Diploma in Capital Markets modules (Securities and Bonds & Fixed Interest Markets) are eligible for an exemption from the third module (Financial Markets).

Learning options

Our master’s in finance courses are available only  on a full-time basis with the option of studying for 9 or 12 months.

Learning options

Full-time: 9 months
Full-time: 12 months
Students will be resident and undertake full-time study in the UK.  Under both, the 9 and 12-month programmes students take compulsory and/or elective modules in Part 2.
The 12 month option involves taking an elective 20 credit module between July and August, which would also mean a 20 credit reduction in the number of taught modules taken in the spring term.

Course structure

October – December: Part 1 Autumn Term
January: Part 1 Exams
January-April: Part 2 Spring Term
May – June: Part 2 Exams
June – August (12 month programme only): Part 3
August/Sep (12 month programme only): Part 3 Coursework deadlines

Entry requirements

  • Undergraduate Degree – Minimum 2:1 or the equivalent from an overseas institution*
  • Degree Discipline – Any degree discipline, but must have a satisfactory level of numeracy
  • GMAT – We may ask you to submit a GMAT score if we think it appropriate in your individual case. For example, if you have been out of education for more than a few years or have little evidence of any numerical ability. For information on the GMAT and the location of test centres worldwide, please visit www.mba.com

* Please note that due to increasing competition for places on our Masters programmes our entry requirements may change.

We operate a rolling admissions system and you are therefore advised to apply early in order to be sure of your place on our programmes. We experience high levels of demand, and it is possible we might have to close applications to some programmes once places are filled.

English requirements

If English is not your first language, you may be required to take one of the following:

  • TOEFL (Test of English as a foreign language): Overall score of 100 with no less than 20 in Listening, Writing and Reading and 21 in Speaking
  • IELTS (British Council International English Language Test): Score of 6.5 overall with no component less than 6 when attending the 6-week pre-sessional English course offered by the University of Reading. Entry to this pre-sessional course with a score of 6.5 fulfils your English language requirement.

Please note that students not attending a Pre-Sessional course will need to pass IELTS with an overall score of 7 and no component less than 6.0. For more options please see the International Study and Language Website or email a member of the Postgraduate Admissions team.

Why study at the ICMA Centre?

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“National league tables show that Henley Business School consistently provides one of the most satisfying and rewarding student experiences in the UK.” Professor John Board, Dean.

Part of the triple-accredited Henley Business School and top 1% University of Reading, the ICMA Centre has a global reputation for its excellence in undergraduate, postgraduate and executive education in finance, as well as professional and policy development research and consultancy.

Based in University of Reading’s award-winning Whiteknights campus – a short train ride from London, the financial capital of the world – the ICMA Centre is the product of the first active collaboration between the securities industry and a university finance department.

Find out more about:

Compulsory modules

The module provides the economic framework for understanding the global financial system and financial markets, financial institutions, market players and the importance of liquidity and price efficiency. Participants will gain an understanding of the international stock and bond markets, ‘repo’ markets (for borrowing/ lending on a secured basis). The module also introduces foreign exchange, money markets and futures markets (which are developed in more detail in optional Part 2 modules) and also focuses on specific markets for commodity and energy.  
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The module covers the building blocks of econometrics and analytical techniques used in finance.  Via case studies and computer modelling exercises, students learn how to apply these techniques to real data. Emphasis is placed on practical applications of the techniques in the global financial markets.
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This module provides an overview of the key building blocks in modern finance theory and introduces techniques for analysing and valuing different classes of risky assets such as equities and derivatives contracts. It also develops ways of optimally selecting portfolios of such assets and develops models of how these portfolios can be priced in financial markets. The techniques introduced in this module are widely applied in other elements of the programme. The module includes simulated trading sessions in our state of the art dealing rooms, where participants are introduced to real world pricing and trading strategies (INVEST sessions).
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Fixed Income and Equity Investments deals with the valuation of fixed income and equity securities. The module focuses on the basic characteristics of these securities and the strategies used for estimating their fundamental value and assessing their risk. Its primary aim is to discuss how certain characteristics and relationships can affect the value of fixed income and equity securities and how can they be exploited to form optimal investment strategies or for the purpose of conducting financial analysis. The analytical techniques introduced in this module are widely applied in other elements of the programme.
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Compulsory modules

The purpose of the module is to provide an understanding of the latest developments in banking regulations that are the main driving force behind changes in our approaches to risk measurement. It focuses on the foundations of market risk analysis and the basic models for assessing market risk. Participants utilise market risk measurement techniques that are used daily in the front and middle offices of banks; particular emphasis is placed on the appraisal of the covariance matrices that are used to measure the market risk of portfolios. They also learn to build various Value-at-Risk (VaR) models for market risk for international portfolios of equities, FX, interest rate products, commodities, derivatives etc. The module has a significant practical component with computer-based workshops that are designed to support the lecture material.
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Having established the theoretical basis for security valuation in Part I, this module extends students’ understanding to the valuation of financial instruments and their applications. The module has a significant practical component with seminars that are designed to support the lecture material. Students will be introduced to all types of risks that are embedded in listed and OTC derivatives across all asset classes. They will become familiar with exotic equity options, understand their pay-offs and some simple analytic pricing approximations. They will value some of the most popular swap varieties, and understand how they may be used for managing risk. They will value caps, floors and swaptions, convertible bonds and understand the interplay between market and credit risk factors. They will outline the basic credit derivatives, including total return swaps, default swaps and collateralized debt obligations.
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This course introduces students to a set of newly developed techniques to measure and manage credit risk in bank portfolios. In recent years financial institutions have been looking at ways to quantify risk in their corporate loan and mortgage books. The lack of market prices for these types of illiquid assets implies that standard risk assessment procedures can not be employed. The course focuses on (1) default and recovery risk, (2) credit ratings and credit scoring models (3) how to measure portfolio credit risk using contingent claim and credit rating based approaches (4) credit risk management tools and (5) credit risk capital regulation (Basel 2).
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Optional modules

Students on the 9-month (12-month) programme can select 40 (20) credits from the following modules:

Advanced Financial Analysis builds upon the material covered in Part I of Fixed Income and Equity Investments. The module focuses on the main pillars of fundamental top-down equity analysis: the primary aim is to provide an in-depth analysis of how the choices presented by financial standards can impact reported company performance and thus investment decisions. The analytical techniques introduced in this module are widely used in equity analysis by financial analysts and fund managers/traders.
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The module aims to build on the techniques for portfolio selection that have been introduced in the Securities, Futures and Options module. The module examines the issues involved in understanding the investment market, constructing a competitive investment portfolio (of an active, passive or smart beta style), evaluating the performance of that portfolio, and adjusting its composition through time. It will also consider issues revolving around the management of risk. The compulsory, practical project of the course will provide students with hands-on experience in constructing and managing a realistic investment portfolio.
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Building on the material introduced in Quantitative Methods for Finance, this module covers a number of more advanced techniques that are relevant for financial applications, and in particular for modelling and forecasting financial time series. These include an introduction to maximum likelihood estimation and two-stage least squares, models of volatility, simulation techniques, and multivariate models. Case studies from the academic finance literature are employed to demonstrate potential uses of each approach. Extensive use is also made of financial econometrics software to demonstrate how the techniques are applied in practice.
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The aim of the research project is to allow students to define and execute a piece of research in finance on a topic of their choice, with direction from an academic supervisor and with assistance from a doctoral student support supervisor.
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Fixed Income Cash and Derivative Markets applies more advanced valuation and risk assessment methods that build on the knowledge introduced in the fixed income component of the first term Fixed Income and Equity Investments module: It describes the basic characteristics of fixed income derivatives, structured products and credit sensitive securities and develops practical strategies for valuation and risk assessment. It also considers how the markets for these securities are related and begins the task of showing how these relationships can be exploited for trading or investment. The module is designed not only for students wanting a more advanced knowledge of the fixed income markets, but also for students wishing to take the exam for the ICMA Fixed Income Certificate (ICMA FIC)
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The course is a natural extension to the modules currently taught on bond mathematics, credit risk and the pricing of derivative instruments. It aims to supplement quantitative skills with the knowledge of the economics of interest rates necessary to formulate trading strategy, utilising practical real-world examples. The main aims of the module are to identify the fundamental determinants of short- and long-term interest rates, learn how to monitor developments in interest rate markets and employ commonly used trading strategies. The course will be based around the work of a research department in an investment bank or asset manager when formulating interest rate strategy. The lectures will provide: (1) the fundamentals of market pricing, (2) practical examples of current market situations, and (3) identification of trading and portfolio strategies. Seminars will focus on market pricing conventions and worked examples.

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This module aims to provide students with a detailed knowledge of the commodity derivatives markets. It examines the aspects of pricing and trading physical derivatives, with emphasis on the energy and shipping (freight) sectors. The course is designed using real-life trading examples, stimulating students, who wish to follow a sales and trading career,  to approach derivatives pricing from first principles.
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This is an applied course with little quantitative content. It deals with one of the most important groups of institutional investors - pension schemes, focussing on occupational pension schemes. Pensions are in a state of crisis and change, and have become the subject of popular debate and controversy. They employ fund managers to invest many £trillions on their behalf. Developing countries, such as China and India, have the potential for an enormous expansion of their pension schemes. Therefore the assets under management of pension schemes globally are likely to increase considerably. The investment of pension funds requires an understanding of how pension schemes work, which is hard to acquire as it has not been taught by educational establishments. This module will provide a detailed knowledge of a major group of institutional investors (pension schemes) and the real would problems they face.
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This module provides an overview of the purpose and operation of financial regulation, and the consequences of financial sector reform for different markets, including those of the students’ home country. The module aims to deliver a broad insight into the key challenges for financial regulation particularly in the light of changes to the financial architecture in the aftermath of the global financial crisis of 2007.
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The evolution of algorithmic trading, the proliferation of alternative trading platforms for trading the same security and the development of new products and assets with limited liquidity have contributed to raising the awareness of academics and traders on the importance of understanding and properly managing liquidity and execution risks. The objective of this course is to give students an introduction to the concepts of market and asset liquidity, trade execution risk and an overview of the methods for managing these types of liquidity risk. This module will not discuss about funding liquidity and managing liquidity in a bank. The issues discussed in this course are important when developing trading strategies, valuing portfolios, liquidating large positions and transitioning assets to new investments.
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Financial theories have traditionally assumed that rational, risk-averse investors trade in efficient and free-flowing asset markets. Academic research and practitioner experience have cast doubt on this paradigm, instead proposing that investors may not be utility maximisers, and that there may be impediments to the functioning of markets. This module will describe recent developments in the application of principles drawn from psychology to financial issues.
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The module is less quantitative option open to all MSc students that builds on the coverage of futures contracts from term 1. By the end of the module it is expected that students will be aware of the different ways of constructing stock market indices and the implications of these differences, how futures contracts are traded and the identity of some of the close substitutes for trading index futures, how futures can be priced using an arbitrage relationship, how futures can be used for hedging the price risk of the underlying, and the various uses that fund managers make of these instruments.
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The objective is to introduce the students to programming and its usage for data processing and finance. It deals with how to write programming code, process files, receive input and provide output. Students who complete this course will be able to write programming code in Python, process files, input, output and manage data. Furthermore, students will be able to read and write to Excel and CSV files, connect to databases, obtain and process data from the Web, as well as use Python for Finance and Econometrics applications.
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Optional modules

Students on the 12-months programme should take 20 credits from the following:

This module provides postgraduate students with an overview on alternative investment opportunities. It will critically engage students with the characteristics and issues of the main current alternatives investment opportunities being Commodities, Private Equity, and especially Hedge Funds. Beyond this, it will introduce students into newly emerging alternative investment markets, which include Carbon Finance, Microfinance, Islamic Investment and especially Responsible Investment. On this basis, the challenges of hand collecting original data and evaluating alternative investment portfolios’ performance are discussed.
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This module aims to provide students with an understanding of financial decision making in the context of the energy industry. The course will combine theoretical models with practical applications. It focuses on energy markets (products, companies, production and consumption), capital budgeting in energy companies, financing of energy companies, energy derivatives and trading in energy markets. A number of case studies in energy finances are utilised.
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This module is designed for advanced Master’s students and doctoral students. It has a very high technical content. It aims to equip the students with the foundations of theoretical asset pricing and with the relevant skills for performing empirical tests. Additionally, a few important corporate finance topics will be covered in the format of student presentations. The objective of the module is to prepare students to become independent and quality researchers.
 

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