Master's in Finance

Formerly known as the Master's in International Securities, Investment and Banking. World-ranked for Masters in Finance by the Financial Times, this degree is widely regarded as one of the leading applied finance programmes in Europe

Find out what it's like to experience finance in action

At a glance

Level Master's
Award MSc
Duration 9 months / 12 months
Attendance Full-time
Location Whiteknights campus (Reading)
Programme Director

FT 2018

World-ranked for Masters in Finance by the Financial Times, this degree is widely regarded as one of the leading applied finance programmes in Europe. It has been specially designed with the support of industry practitioners to equip you with the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in the challenging field of international securities and investment banking. It enables our graduates to acquire the practical skills and knowledge sought by employers in the sector through a unique combination of interactive, technically advanced teaching and hands-on training.

It is our longest established programme with over 2,500 alumni around the world. It is also the most flexible finance programme with a choice of over 20 elective modules, providing a broad expertise to equip those who have yet to settle on a specialism, and who look to a wider choice of potential career paths. You will benefit from exposure to advanced analysis tools and resources valued by the financial markets that aim to enhance your practical skills and market awareness. As part of the programme, you will gain an in-depth understanding of the operations of financial markets, securities trading, corporate transactions, valuation, investment strategies and quantitative techniques.

Part 1

Compulsory modules Credits

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.

Teaching Staff

20

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.

Teaching Staff

20

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).

Teaching Staff

20

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.

Teaching Staff
Christos Mavis Christos Mavis

20

Part 2

There are no compulsory modules in part 2 of this course. Students on the 9-month (12-month) programme can select 100 (80) credits from the following modules:

Optional modules Credits

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.

20

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.

Teaching Staff

20

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.

20

The module objective is to give students a practical working knowledge of the pricing, hedging and trading of derivative securities, in particular options, via the use of trading simulations and pricing case studies/software. The emphasis of the module is on practical application and it is expected that by the end of the module students will understand and be able to analyse the time/risk dynamics of derivatives in a trading environment. Trading sessions are delivered in our state-of-the-art dealing rooms and utilising our bespoke trading simulation software ICTrader, offering exposure into real trading environment and the price formation process. Students will learn how to “think on their feet”, an essential skill in the investment banking industry.

Teaching Staff

20

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.

Teaching Staff

20

The main aim of the module is to provide a rigorous grounding of the theory and practice of corporate finance and more specifically the long-term financial management decisions of the firm pertaining to investments, financing and payout and how they affect its value. It deals with how corporations are governed, their financing structures, payout policies, the processes involved in the issuance of public and private equity, as well growing through inorganic investment (mergers and acquisitions). The module also extensively deals with advanced financial analysis and enterprise valuation methods employed by financial advisors/investment banks as part of advising corporations. Students on this module take part in a bespoke investment banking pitch-book simulation challenge whereby they have to work with their team and produce a real life pitch-book including financial analysis on a real transaction as part of assessing the company’s strategic alternatives.

Teaching Staff

20

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.

Teaching Staff

10

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.

Teaching Staff

20

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.

Teaching Staff

20

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.

Teaching Staff

20

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)

Teaching Staff
Gail Rolland Gail Rolland

20

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.

10

Bond and Money Markets explores the economic drivers and relationships between bond, money markets and central bank monetary policies. The module offers students the opportunity to gain an understanding of how these connections affect funding liquidity management, trading strategies and the challenges faced by practitioners as well as regulators/policy makers. The course also covers the overall functions, structure and operation of the money market.

The main aims of the module are to provide the tools for understanding the functioning of money markets, their connection with bond markets and central bank interventions, the fundamental determinants of interest rate markets and the commonly used trading strategies.

Teaching Staff

20

Part 3 (12-month only)

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

Optional modules Credits

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.

Teaching Staff

20

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.

Teaching Staff

20

This module gives students the opportunity to pursue a work placement with an external organisation broadly related to the general sphere of their degree studies. The aim of the module is to allow participants to gain work experience in a career path of interest, develop a wide range of employability skills, build their network and enhance market awareness. The maximum duration of the placement is 3 months and it takes place during the summer vacation period (June-August). The placement is available only to students on the 12-month version of MSc International Securities, Investment and Banking and MSc International Shipping and Finance. Placements should be secured by students independently. The Centre’s career development office can support students in their search and application process. Placements secured by students are subject to the approval of the module convenor. The module is assessed by a 3,000-word project based on the work experience gained.

Teaching Staff

20

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.

Teaching Staff

20

This module is available as an elective to MSc ISIB students as part of a 1-month study-abroad trip during the summer at ALBA Graduate Business School at the American College of Greece, in Athens, Greece. The study fees are covered by the ICMA Centre but the candidates are responsible for their travel, accommodation and subsistence expenses. Student accommodation can be arranged via the American college of Greece at student prices.

The principle aim of the module is to provide the students with practical and theoretical understanding of how the financial services industry has been transformed through the adoption and use of digital innovation and information technologies as well as the abundance of data. The module takes both an external perspective on technological and market developments, as well as an internal perspective on organizational transformation and new ways of working for innovation and agility.

20

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

Careers

Those who graduate in ISIB will leave us well equipped to pursue a wide range of careers in financial services. Many join investment banks to train as financial markets professionals in trading, sales and research, whilst others specialise in complex derivative products and others join brokers and commodity bankers. In addition, many graduates follow other career paths including consultancy, accountancy, operations, IT, and higher education and doctoral research.

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

Professional Accreditation

Chartered Institute of Securities & Investment (CISI)

The ICMA Centre is an accredited Centre of Excellence of the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment (CISI), and only one of eight Universities in the UK to hold this status. 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 on MSc Capital Markets, Regulation and Compliance, MSc Corporate Finance, MSc Finance (formerly known as the MSc in International Securities, Investment and Banking), MSc Financial Risk Management and MSc Investment Management 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).

Chartered Institute of Securities & Investment (CISI)

ICMA Fixed Income Certificate

To obtain the requisite knowledge to pass the rigorous FIC exam, students are required to take the ICMA Centre Fixed Income Cash and Derivatives Markets module at Part 2. In order to receive the FIC certificate, students will need to register and pass the FIC exam through ICMA.

ICMA Fixed Income Certificate

The ICMA Centre is among the pioneers in finance education and renowned for its strong links with the financial services industry. The Centre was ranked in 2018 among the UK’s top 10 for its Masters programmes (Financial Times Masters in Finance Ranking). It is also part of Henley Business School – among an elite group of 75 business schools in the world to hold triple-accredited status from the leading UK, European and US accrediting bodies: AMBA, EQUIS and AACSB.

The Centre’s unique practice centred approach includes a number of finance education innovations aiming to provide students with a solid grounding for a career in the industry and a skill set that sets them apart from graduates of other finance programmes. Our student employability track record is also bolstered by an in-house comprehensive career development programme as well Reading’s close proximity to the world’s top financial centre (25 mins from London Paddington). Several leading professional bodies including the CFA, CISI, GARP and ICS validate our programmes and offer exam exemptions to our students.

Being part of one of the top schools of finance in Europe, students benefit from state-of-the-art facilities and the latest technology and are taught by world-renowned faculty and industry experts. Our innovative teaching and learning environment, including trading and financial analysis simulations, the latest financial data and programming software and three dealing rooms –one of the largest facilities of its kind in the world – provides an ideal setting for understanding how businesses and markets function in practice.

Our students’ learning experience is a top priority for academic faculty and administrative staff at the ICMA Centre, reflected in the latest student satisfaction rates in the PTES and NSS student surveys.

“The support from the staff is invaluable. No problem is too big or small, the staff endeavour to give the best support to students, everyone from the lecturers, admin staff to the careers staff.”
Nick Pilkington, BSc Finance and Investment Banking

Contact us

For any questions of academic nature about this programme you are welcome to contact directly the Programme Director, Dr Michael Smith at m.j.smith@icmacentre.ac.uk

Admissions

If you have any questions about admissions, please don't hesitate to contact us.

Email: admissions@icmacentre.ac.uk
Telephone: +44 (0)118 378 6497

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