BSc Finance and Investment Banking

A career in the financial markets, investment banking and securities is the first choice for many well-qualified graduates. It’s not hard to see why when some starting salaries exceed £40,000.

What is finance?

Why study finance?

At a glance

  • CFA Institute University Affiliation Program
  • IMC Advantage partner
  • A practically oriented degree which specialises in investment banking, financial markets and corporate finance issues
  • Diverse learning in large scale lectures, small group seminars, workshops and trading simulations taught by academics and market practitioners
Level Undergraduate
Award BSc
Attendance Full-time
Location Whiteknights campus (Reading)
UCAS Code N302
Programme Director

A career in the financial markets, investment banking and securities is the first choice for many well-qualified graduates. It’s not hard to see why when some starting salaries exceed £40,000.

This course offers integrated theory and practice that will empower you to find your dream job in large corporations, working in investment banking, asset management, corporate finance and a wide range of other career destinations within the financial markets or the broader corporate world. Graduates will be equipped with specialised knowledge in asset classes, markets and institutions which comprise the world of modern finance, and gain a wide range of employable skills.

Our three dealing rooms are equipped by Thomson Reuters and use the latest high-frequency trading simulation software. You will experience the thrill of a live market – take positions, quote two-way prices and manage the risk of a $50-100-million trading book. This first-hand practical experience is a unique learning opportunity and will give you an advantage over other job applicants.

The BSc Finance and Investment Banking is an official Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Institute University Affiliation Program. This title certifies the academic rigor and practical relevance of the degree and recognises that the curriculum of the programme covers at least 70% of the CFA Level l candidate body of knowledge. It also comes with a series of benefits, including a number of annual scholarships for final-year students who want to sit the exam.

In the words of the CFA Institute itself:

“An Affiliated University signals to their students and to employers that their curriculum is closely tied to the practice of investment management and is helpful to students preparing for the CFA Program exams.”

Year 1

Compulsory modules Credits
Introduces you to the key financial markets, exchange mechanisms and the investment banks and investment management houses that operate in these markets and their various functions.
Teaching Staff

20

Provides you with a knowledge of the key concepts that underlie the valuation of financial assets, including an examination of the pricing of stocks, bonds and options. The module also provides an introduction to modern portfolio theory, a discussion of how to measure risk and return, and an analysis of whether financial markets are efficient. The trading simulation part of the module will introduce you to computer simulation of securities dealing and spreadsheet modelling. You will be taught the relevant theory and will experience how this theory works in a virtual dealing environment.
Teaching Staff

20

Examines the principal financial statements produced by companies. You will cover many areas including the concepts of profit and capital; the balance sheet and profit and loss account; company accounts; and cash flow statements which are all essential ingredients in corporate valuation.

10+10

An introduction to economics for students of business and finance. The module aims to provide an introduction to both microeconomics and macroeconomics sufficient to help students of business and finance understand the economic forces at play and economic framework that underpins their specific field.

20

This module introduces students to a range of quantitative techniques that are commonly applied in business, finance and management. The module will cover both introductory statistics and mathematical techniques that are necessary for a good understanding of financial theories and to be able to develop and understand the models used in business and finance.

20

To introduce students to the ethical difficulties encountered by investment professionals as they invest other people’s money. By the end of the course students will appreciate the ethical standards imposed by professional bodies and financial regulators. They will be able to identify the ethical dimension involved in the decision-making process, and be able to discuss the conflicts between economic efficiency and ethical behaviour.
Teaching Staff

20

Year 2

Compulsory 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.
Teaching Staff

20

This module examines the financial decisions made by companies from the point at which they enter the stock market. This includes decisions made regularly with respect to the management of assets and payments to shareholders, as well as strategic decisions about mergers, acquisitions and demergers. There is an emphasis on how these decisions affect the ownership and control of companies.

20

  • Financial Modelling: Provides a rapid introduction to using MS Excel to solve a variety of practical problems related to finance. Many careers in banking and finance now require candidates to possess a strong grounding in spreadsheet modelling and a working knowledge of Visual Basic for Applications (VBA).
  • Career Management Skills: Provides you with the opportunity to develop self-awareness in the context of career decision making, extends knowledge of the career opportunities that are available to you, and the skills to make effective applications.
Teaching Staff

20

There are two overall objectives to this module:
  1. To develop an appreciation of the “fixed income” market by exploring traditional and innovative debt instruments and methods of pricing.
  2. Moving to a portfolio context, you will explore how different financial institutions use portfolios of debt instruments to achieve stated objectives.
The module also extends and builds upon the computer simulation of securities dealing that was examined in the Part I module Introductory Finance/Trading Simulation I.
Teaching Staff
Gail Rolland Gail Rolland

20

This module introduces students to the econometric techniques that are used in the empirical finance literature. Building on Introductory Quantitative Techniques for Finance module, this module aims to give students a solid understanding of the econometric approaches that are commonly employed to test financial theories.
Teaching Staff

20

Optional modules Credits
This module aims to provide students with an understanding of how finance has evolved over time and where it may develop in the future. In the first half of the module, students will gain a broad understanding of financial history and study the linkages between innovations, bubbles and crises. In the second half of the module, invited guest speakers will lecture on topics of current interest and the students will be encouraged to place these within their wider social and historical context. Students will further develop their own independent study skills via coursework essays and their contribution to in-class discussions.

20

Choose from a variety of foreign languages (from beginner through to advanced). For more information please visit IWLP(Institute Wide Language Programme).

Year 3

Compulsory modules Credits
Designed to combine the theoretical and practical approaches to derivatives pricing and trading. You will gain an overview of derivative securities and markets and a thorough understanding of derivatives pricing and trading. You will also be guided on the use of derivatives data and shown how to apply theoretical models and strategies presented in class through a number of case simulations in the dealing room. The trading cases involve both discrete and continuous time models and will require you to both trade and build hedging portfolios using put and call options.
Teaching Staff

20

Introduces you to current techniques for measuring and managing risk in financial institutions. This module will help you to develop critical risk management skills that are now considered indispensable for anyone wanting to undertake a career in the financial sector. Topics include: types of financial risks, bank capital regulation, value-at-risk and expected shortfall, back-testing, variance forecasting, VaR decomposition and minimisation, credit rating systems and credit risk modelling.

20

For the remaining modules you may choose four of the following:

Optional modules Credits

This module seeks to introduce students to Fintech as well as cryptocurrencies and blockchain. The module offers students the opportunity to gain an understanding of how and why firms are implementing blockchain technology in their day-to-day business as well as the challenges they face. The module also covers cryptocurrencies, their governance and properties behind the most popular cryptocurrencies.

Teaching Staff

20

Designed to combine theoretical and practical approaches to exotic derivatives in different markets: equity, FX, interest rates and credit. The objectives of the module include providing you with an overview of the exotic products in different markets, familiarising you with the different pricing approaches and models, highlighting the importance of engineering and innovations in financial products and showing how to apply the theoretical models and engineering strategies presented in class through a number of assignments.
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

Introduces the characteristics of private equity as an alternative asset class and the different strategies for establishing a private equity or venture capital fund. Students will learn how to prepare a business plan for the purpose of raising finance and to appraise it as an investment executive. Topics include selecting and approaching private equity and venture capital firms; venture capital and the venture capital investment process; management buyouts; the due diligence process; different strategies for investment; exit routes, including IPOs and trade sales.
Teaching Staff

20

This dynamic and interactive module aims to inspire students and provide them with the entrepreneurial skills and confidence needed to put plans into action. Students will learn from the experience of successful entrepreneurs and are given a solid understanding of the realities of a business start-up. Topics include entrepreneurial forms and behaviour, creativity and innovation, idea development and feasibility testing, understanding market dynamics and satisfying customers, raising finance, intellectual property, networking, writing a business plan and pitching to investors.

20

Choose from a variety of foreign languages (from beginner through to advanced). For more information please visit IWLP(Institute Wide Language Programme).

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.

Teaching Staff

20

The course is designed to give students a basic practical working knowledge of the hedging and trading of derivative securities, and in particular options. Most textbooks on the subject are either too mathematical/theoretical or too practitioner oriented, and this module attempts to bridge the gap between the two. By the end of the course students should be able to “speak the language” of the derivatives market whilst at the same time have an intuitive grasp of the subject. Whilst option theory is of obvious importance, the emphasis of this course is on practical application – in particular, we will look at the time/risk dynamics of options in a trading environment. The derivatives industry impacts on all sectors of investment banking, and whether or not students choose a career in derivatives trading/sales/research, they will find this course extremely useful. The overriding philosophy of the course is: “learning by doing”.

Teaching Staff

20

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 trading strategies, funding liquidity management 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..
Teaching Staff

20

Please note that you cannot choose both a Language and the Practice of Entrepreneurship.

Careers

Here at the ICMA Centre, we recognise the importance of career development and have integrated specialist career management into the programme, thereby providing our students with a tool kit to help them achieve their career aspirations. Our graduates enter the market with knowledge and skills to enable them to gain excellent careers in areas such as sales and trading, asset management, operations and risk management. Our statistics show that typically more than 90% of graduates are in employment or further study within 6 months of graduating

Internships

Through the duration of this course, students are expected to undertake an eight to ten week working internship throughout the summer vacation between the second and third year. This invaluable experience can provide students with excellent experience and skills to add to their CV, as well as the opportunity to network. The ICMA Centre provides assistance in identifying and applying for internships with CV grounding and honing interview techniques.

Accreditations

CFA Institute

The ICMA Centre is part of the CFA Institute University Affiliation Program. This partnership signals to potential students, employers, and the marketplace that the university curriculum is closely linked with professional practice and is well-suited to preparing students to sit for the three levels of CFA exams.

The CFA recognises that MSc Investment Management students cover more than 75% of the CFA level 1 curriculum over the course of their degree. Participants of this programme also have the chance to study for the CFA exam alongside their studies and sit for the CFA level 1 exam in June. Tuition fees of MSc IM include registration, tuition and support for the CFA level 1 exams. For more information regarding the CFA institute, visit www.cfainstitute.org/

CFA Institute

“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 University of Reading and the triple-accredited Henley Business School, 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.

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