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BSc Finance (Investments)

A career in the financial markets, investment banking and securities is the first choice for many well-qualified graduates. This pathway gives you the knowledge and skills needed to make financial decisions and manage risk in a banking environment.

At a glance

  • New pathway for 2021/22
  • IMC Advantage partner
  • CFA Institute University Affiliation Program
  • Specialise in investment banking, financial markets and corporate finance
  • Taught by both academics and market practitioners in a variety of learning environments, including simulated trading sessions in our dealing rooms
Level
Undergraduate
Subject area(s)
Finance (ICMA Centre)
Award
BSc
Duration
3 years (4 years with placement year)
Attendance
Full-time
Locations
Whiteknights campus (Reading)
UCAS Code
N301/N310
Programme Director
Gitanjali Persand
Dr Gita Persand

By choosing the BSc Finance (Investments) pathway, you will focus your study to delve deeper into subjects such as hedging and trading and Foreign Exchange markets. You will develop specialised knowledge in asset classes, markets and institutions which comprise the world of modern finance, and gain the skills needed to prepare you to enter a wide range of career destinations.

In the first year you will study core modules introducing you to topics such as Securities and Markets, International Finance and Ethics in Investment Management. You will also take part in your first simulated trading session in our dealing rooms at the ICMA Centre.

In your second year you will build upon the fundamentals of finance and explore more comprehensive areas of Investment Finance such as Econometrics, Foreign Exchange and Debt markets.

In the third year you will have the option to apply for a one-year paid work placement. Placements are a great opportunity to enhance your CV, further develop your skills and apply your knowledge in a real work environment.

In your final year you will explore Investment Finance topics at a more advanced level. You will have the opportunity to choose from a wide of range of optional modules, allowing you to tailor your degree towards your own interests and career goals.

COVID-19 update

Year 1

Compulsory modules Credits

Introduces you to the key financial markets, types of money including cryptocurrencies, and sustainable finance focussed on the role of the finance industry in mitigating climate change impact, Exchange mechanisms and the investment banks and investment management houses that operate in these markets and their various functions.

Academic authors
Brian Scott Quinn
Emeritus Professor Brian Scott-Quinn
20

This module aims to provide the student with an overview of the financial system. This will include an overview of the role that the financial system plays in the economy, a discussion of some of the main players in the system, the instruments they trade, and the trading prices. Part of the module will focus on capital markets and the private and public financial institutions participating in these markets. The remainder of the module covers the time value of money, longer-term securities like bonds, risky securities like stocks, and the way in which returns and the values of real and financial assets relate to each other. The purpose of the trading simulation part of the module is to introduce students to computer simulation of securities dealing and spreadsheet modelling. Students are taught the relevant theory and will experience how this theory works in a virtual dealing environment.

Academic authors
Gitanjali Persand
Dr Gita Persand
20

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.

Academic authors
Carol Padgett
Professor Carol Padgett
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.

Academic authors
Antypas Nikolaos
Dr Nikolaos Antypas
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. It will examine the causes and consequences of both ethical and unethical behaviour, giving students the chance to see how individuals’ decisions affect trading partners, clients and the market as a whole.

Academic authors
Ioannis Oikonomou
Dr Ioannis Oikonomou
20
20

Year 2

Compulsory modules Credits

This module focuses on corporate value, considering how it is measured and how companies can create value through their strategies, financial decisions and governance practices. The module aims to offer students a good grounding in corporate finance theory and an appreciation of the related empirical evidence. There will be a focus on shareholder value maximisation and alternative corporate objectives, including a consideration of the impact of ownership and control on those objectives.

Academic authors
IMG 8782 1
Dr Indrajeet Mohite
20

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.

Academic authors
Antypas Nikolaos
Dr Nikolaos Antypas
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.
Academic authors
Gitanjali Persand
Dr Gita Persand
Schopohl Lisa 201
Dr Lisa Schopohl
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.

Academic authors
Schopohl Lisa 201
Dr Lisa Schopohl
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.

Academic authors
Gail Rolland
20
Optional modules Credits
20

The module introduces the students to Object Oriented Programming using Python as

the main programming language, for the purposes of data processing and applications in Finance. It covers the basics of programming, including using conditional statements and loops, process data from files, receive input and display relevant output. Students who complete this course should be able to write simple programming functions in Python, process data files including reading, and modifying and writing data to external files. Additionally, students will learn to read and write to Excel and CSV, connect to databases, obtain and process data from the Web, as well as use Python for Finance and Econometrics applications including developing event-based trading strategies and backtesting & optimising using historical data.

20

This module covers the basics of Sustainable Finance, covering applications in financing and

investment activities. The Environmental, Social and Governance factors are covered, and the

relevant policies and international regulations are discussed.

20

This module has two broad parts: The first part covers the basics of climate science, including CO2

reduction targets, national and international-level commitments and international agreements.

The relevant environmental issues are discussed separately for different sectors of Finance, and

their importance is emphasized. The second part of the module deals with Climate Change. In this

contexts, its impacts are discussed, as well as channels of adaptation to and mitigation of Climate

Change. Finally, the related Risk Management techniques are covered.

20

Work Placement

Optional modules Credits

This module provides insight into the practical application of Accountancy, Business Management and/or Finance Skills.

This modules Aims:

1. To gain relevant work experience in order to provide a practical context for the academic material studied in the first, second and final year.

2. To enhance employability through being able to demonstrate 12 months relevant work experience.

3. To extend knowledge and learning of degree discipline modules, to help identify future career path(s).

4. To further develop ‘soft skills’ (team-work, communication, time management, planning, leadership skills etc)

120

Year 3

Compulsory modules Credits

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.

Academic authors
Sangiorgi Ivan 204
Dr Ivan Sangiorgi
20

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.

Academic authors
Michael smith
Dr Michael Smith
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. Additionally, the module will help students develop mentoring and coaching skills, personal effectiveness, action planning and career decision-making skills.

Academic authors
Sangiorgi Ivan 204
Dr Ivan Sangiorgi
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”.

Academic authors
Michael smith
Dr Michael Smith
20

Year 3

Optional modules Credits

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.

Academic authors
Miriam Marra
Dr Miriam Marra
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.

Academic authors
Charles Sutcliffe
Professor Charles Sutcliffe
20

The objective of the Private Equity and Venture Capital module is to develop students’ appreciation of the practical aspects of investing by private equity and venture capital firms, understanding the dynamics between the venture capital investor and the entrepreneur, and also the practicalities of raising PE&VC funds from institutional investors. The focus of the module is on venture capital and high-growth ventures from the viewpoints of both the entrepreneur or management team and of the investing institution (general partner), although private equity as a whole is covered (including management buyout transactions) as well as the relationship between the private equity or venture capital firm and its own investors (limited partner institutions). This is a highly practical module; extensive use will be made of case studies and a group project in addition to guest lectures from invited experienced practitioners or entrepreneurs.

Academic authors
Keith Arundale
Dr Keith Arundale
20

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. This module aims to provide students with an understanding of the major areas of FinTech, the ability to understand blockchain technology and why so many firms are implementing the technology, as well to reflect on the history, behaviour and impact cryptocurrencies have had on the financial sector. Students will gain a broad appreciation of recent develops in FinTech, including money and payment, digital finance, alternative finance and importantly FinTech regulation.

Academic authors
Andrew U
Dr Andrew Urquhart
20

The module or course content descriptions set out on this page are correct for those being taught in the current academic year. Modules or course content marked as optional are indicative and may be subject to change.

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 BSc Finance (Investments) 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.

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.

Find out more about:

Our pathways have been designed to allow you to focus your degree even further and tailor it to your specific interests. Here is a guide to help you understand them.

In year one of your studies you will focus on gaining core knowledge in Finance and the financial services industry. The content of the first year will be the same for all pathways as well as the general BSc Finance degree. At the end year one you will be able to transfer to a pathway of your choice or continue general programme. You are not tied to a specific pathway at this point.

Year of study % weight of modules
Year 1 100% compulsory modules (all pathways)

In year two you will gain a more in-depth understanding of Finance. You will now start to focus your degree further with modules that are specific to the pathway of your choice, as well as choose optional modules. At the end of the second year, you will not be able to choose a different pathway again, although you will have the opportunity to transfer back to the general programme.

Year of study % weight of modules
Year 2 50% compulsory modules (all pathways)
50% mix of compulsory and/or optional modules (pathway dependent)

Between your second and final year you will have the option to do a work placement or study abroad year. Opting for the year can be beneficial for your career prospects and considerably enhance your CV, setting you on the right path for a successful career.

Year of study
Study Abroad/Placement Year

In your final year you will consolidate your knowledge, ready for you entering the world of work. You will have more flexibility with optional modules, with compulsory modules still relevant to the pathway you have chosen.

Year of study % weight of modules
Final year 33.3% compulsory modules (all pathways)
66.6% mix of compulsory and/or optional modules (pathway dependent)

The thing which sets ICMA apart: the uncontested access to practical study facilities. Having three separate dealing rooms and access to Bloomberg and Reuters terminals has enriched my learning experience here more than I could have imagined.

Ellis Murley BSc Finance and Investment Banking

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