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ifs University College Finance Investment and Risk

BSc (Hons) in Finance, Investment and Risk Details Page

Overview

UCAS Code N300

The BSc (Hons) in Finance, Investment and Risk is a programme designed for students who want a career in investment banking and related roles. It provides the opportunity to study for a directly relevant degree in a business-like environment that gives unique exposure to, and immersion in, the financial services industry.

The programme will enable you to develop knowledge and understanding of the core elements of investment, financial analysis, and risk management that underpin sound decision-making. It will provide you with opportunities to investigate and analyse a range of issues relating to financial markets and the financial services sector (particularly investment / corporate banking) and its national and international environment.

The programme will also develop your understanding of:

  • equity markets and investments;
  • security analysis;
  • asset classes;
  • bond and equity pricing;
  • portfolio management;
  • derivatives;
  • alternative investments.

Critically, the programme also provides you with the opportunity to evaluate the impact of changing regulatory and operating conditions; and to gain understanding of the local and global tensions in banking and financial services. Ethics and professional standards form a key component of the course and will be taught at each level of the programme.

View our full-time prospectus.

Professional Body Links

ifs University College is working with the CFA Society of the UK to offer events that are of interest to students on this programme and is currently pursuing recognition through the CFA Society of the UK 'IMC Advantage Scheme' which aims to award universities and business schools with recognised partner status.

Programme structure

The BSc (Hons) in Finance, Investment and Risk is studied via a series of core, compulsory and option modules, giving you essential understanding of the industry as a whole and the ability to tailor your learning to subjects of interest and your career aspirations.

Each module is taught through a variety of lectures and tutorials by our lecturers. Throughout the programme, senior industry practitioners will give guest lectures and seminars and provide insight on the latest developments in the industry.

View the programme specification.

Modules

First-year modules Read more...

Financial Markets and Risk (Core - 30 credits)

The module provides students with an overview of the monetary and financial system and its functions and looks at the importance of financial institutions, markets and instruments within this system. Included within this module are the processes of financial intermediation and disintermediation.

Assessing Financial Performance (Compulsory - 30 credits)

The module examines the uses of financial information and the qualitative characteristics of useful information. The module closely considers the accounting system and the financial statements which evolve from this in order to measure business performance, position and liquidity. The module reviews the budgetary process in organisations, recognising that operational performance targets are most commonly communicated and monitored via this process. This review explicitly acknowledges that while many budgets are expressed in financial terms it is equally important to have budgets/targets based on key operational measures and to regularly monitor actual levels of achievement against those targets. The module concludes with a review of the 'balanced scorecard' approach to measuring performance and the use of performance indicators in the non-financial elements of the balanced scorecard approach.

Introduction to Financial Market Instruments (Compulsory - 30 credits)

This module covers the main types of product used in the financial markets, including debt and equity instruments used in both retail and wholesale markets. It involves an initial familiarisation of the instrument types, before then proceeding to a full understanding of how the instruments are used and how one assesses them from a risk-reward perspective. The module develops a wide-ranging critical and theoretical approach to financing decisions and how the different financial instruments are employed to construct the full capital structure within the wider financial markets. The module also evaluates the risk-reward considerations of institutional investors and how these are met through the use of the different financial instrument types available.

Economics (Compulsory - 15 credits)

This module introduces students to the broad economic concepts within macro and micro economics including: supply and demand; allocation of resources; trade; markets; market failure; government policy; national income; unemployment; inflation; economic growth; macroeconomic models; spending and taxation; money; interest rates; and macroeconomic control of the economy.

Introduction to Quantitative Methods (Compulsory - 15 credits)

This module provides students with an understanding of the quantitative methods for finance and investment. This includes the ability to formulate problems into quantitative models, in order to aid the successful resolution of the problem. Students will learn how to apply statistical methods to analyse past data and infer future trends. Using output from mathematical and statistical models, students will learn to analyse, interpret and derive potential outcomes from quantitative information.

Second-year modules Read more...

Financial Services: The Commercial Environment (Core - 30 credits)

This module is concerned with the external environment in which financial services organisations operate. The module maintains a focus on the economic environment, financial markets and institutions, competition, regulation and other ethical and social considerations that can impact on an organisation's management and marketing strategies.

Interpretation of Financial Statements (Compulsory - 30 credits)

This module builds on previous studies to provide a more detailed insight into evaluating the fundamentals of a company and evaluating its performance by analysing financial statements. Although financial statements contain a myriad of financial information they also provide a valuable insight into organisations risk appetite and strategic direction along with other information such as director remuneration, director shareholdings, mission statements and also an organisation's commitment to sustainability. This module aims to synthesise all the information contained in a set of financial accounts to enable students to interpret company performance and form an investment decision.

Corporate Finance (Compulsory - 30 credits)

This module will consider the practical application, sources, use and management of finance to understand the key financial decisions made by companies. Students will learn about debt and equity valuation; asset pricing models and their application, company dividend policies as well as how companies structure portfolios for short-term and long-term investment and the risk management approaches adopted by companies.

Debt and Equity Investments and Valuation (Compulsory - 30 credits)

This syllabus is designed to build upon students previous studies on this programme in developing a more detailed insight into analysing and valuing a variety of equity and debt securities. These largely quantitative methodologies will be evaluated in detail along with the results of such analysis and applied practically to a range of case studies. Key developments in financial markets and the economy will also be evaluated to demonstrate the wide number of considerations which must be taken into account during the valuation process.

Third-year modules Read more...

Fixed Income Markets (Compulsory - 30 credits)

This module is an in-depth review of the bond markets and fixed income instruments. Students will study the description and analysis of fixed income products from an investor risk-reward and from a trader risk management point of view. The syllabus provides an initial familiarisation of the instrument types, before then proceeding to a full understanding of how the instruments are used and how one assesses them from a risk-reward perspective. The module develops a wide-ranging critical and theoretical approach to debt financing decisions and how the different bond instruments are used by borrowers in the wholesale markets. The module also evaluates the risk-reward considerations of institutional investors and how these are met through the use of the different bond instrument types available.

Derivatives and Risk Management (Compulsory - 30 credits)

The regulation of derivatives is a constantly changing paradigm as regulators seek to put in place greater control over the way in which derivatives are used and reported. There has been, and continues to be, huge reforms in the way derivatives are regulated, such as those regulations laid out in the Dodd-Frank ACT and in the European Market Infrastructure Regulations. These changes and the increased scrutiny of derivatives is set to continue for a long time. The way in which derivatives are traded continues to evolve, largely influenced by global regulators. The use of derivatives exacerbated the impact of the 2007/2008 financial crisis with derivatives such as credit default swaps and OTC derivatives in general being singled out. The use of derivatives clearly has a wide ranging impact beyond just the financial sector and impacts a wide range of stakeholders.

Overall this module aims to investigate the pricing and use of a range of equity, foreign exchange, interest rate commodity and exotic derivatives along with developing students' ability to evaluate the systemic impact the risks associated with derivatives pose. Students will also investigate the main participants in the derivatives market and analyse the regulatory developments which are shaping the derivatives market today.

Research-based Dissertation (Core - 30 credits)

This module will enable students to undertake and complete a piece of independent work which involves the collection, interpretation, analysis and presentation of information and data. It will provide the opportunity to present key findings within an evaluative and balanced argument. It will enable the development of a critical approach to undertaking and using research methodology and the interpretation of the outcomes.

You will be required to choose one out of three option modules.

Advanced Work-based Learning (Option - 30 credits)

This module aims to provide an integrated approach to study and help students to enhance their subject-specific and generic skills through an iterative process of use and reflection as well as embed direct employment-related skills in the curriculum. Students will have opportunities to reflect upon their academic learning and gain relevant practical experience by applying this learning in a workplace setting, looking particularly at strategic issues and their impact upon the business environment.

Wealth Management (Option - 30 credits)

The module examines the core features of a typical wealth management division including investment services, brokerage and financial planning as well as international and private banking. Students will examine the various categories of client, identify and assess their needs, develop solutions and justify advice. Such advice will range from core financial planning (life cover / pension requirements), through to making investment recommendations from a range of financial products such as an equity/bond based portfolio, to hedge funds/private equity holdings. The module also provides relevant context by comparing alternative regulatory regimes an advisor could be working within, in particular this will focus on the details of what is required to become, and remain, authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) within the UK. In addition students will evaluate contemporary issues that impact upon the wealth management service.

Globalisation of Financial Markets (Option - 30 credits)

This module provides an analysis of the global financial system in tandem with specific components from the theory of finance. It encourages the student to make use of finance theory and history to draw / develop conclusions about the future direction of the global financial system in general and individual markets in particular.

Assessment

Our qualifications are assessed in a variety of different ways that are appropriate to the subject and learning outcomes within the programme to assess knowledge and understanding. A range of assessment tools will be used including written assessments, reports and projects, case studies and business proposals; and, in the final year, dissertation. In addition, formative assessment occurs throughout the course of study set by the individual lecturers and can take a variety of forms including written tasks, peer and small group discussion, and presentations. The Advanced Work-based Learning module is assessed by a final reflective report.

The world of investment

As a student studying our Finance, Investment and Risk programme you will be introduced to the practical elements of trading a variety of financial instruments within the contemporary market environment by Amplify Trading.

You will have the opportunity to attend 'real-life' trading simulation sessions in the City with investment experts. These sessions provide a crucial practical skill-set and many financial institutions now actively seek candidates that have benefited from the front desk experience delivered by them. Visit www.amplifytrading.com to find out more about the expert traders.

Experts will guide you on risk management protocols and the psychology of trading and its effect on the management of risk and will provide you with personalised 'trading reviews' of your performance.

In Year 1 you will have two half day sessions with Amplify Trading to build on the theory learnt in the module 'Introduction to Financial Market Instruments'. This will include a tour of their trading floor and the opportunity to spend a four hour session trading across a selection of stock indices, currency and commodity futures using a state-of-the-art trading desk with live market price action. You will receive feedback on how well you managed your positions and are encouraged to reflect on behaviour factors that may have affected your decision making process.

In Year 2 you will have four half day practical sessions designed to develop the key theoretical aspects covered in the module 'Debt and Equity Investment and Valuation'. This practical programme in investment management addresses key themes of constructing an investment portfolio using debt and equity instruments. You will be taught how to analyse investment opportunities and will be given specific investment goals for your portfolios to achieve. Performance will be assessed on investment decisions made given the changing macroeconomic environment and your ability to manage your risk exposure.

In Year 3 you will again have four half day practical sessions that will cover the key aspects learned during the 'Derivatives and Risk Management' and 'Fixed Income' modules. You will have access to a full trading desk with live access to multiple asset classes to enable a unique practical experience to bring in key concepts from both modules in order to enhance your learning experience. You will learn how to develop risk management protocols to ensure control over your investment decisions and understand more about the psychology of trading and its effect on the management of risk.

Entry criteria

Applying for September 2016 >>


A levels AAB/ABB (excluding General Studies, Critical Thinking, Extended Projects and Citizenship Studies)
BTEC's Only accepted when accompanied by other relevant subject qualifications (please see below asterix)
International Baccalaureate 32 points

* Offers vary depending on the relevance of subjects studied at AS/A2 level, or equivalent. Ideal applicants will have studied one of the following 'A' levels: Mathematics, Further Mathematics, Economics, Statistics or Physics.

Applicants must have GCSE Mathematics at minimum grade B (or equivalent) and GCSE English Language at minimum grade C (or equivalent) or an IELTS score of 6.0 or above with no element below 5.5

Applicants for a full-time BSc (Hons) programme may be interviewed and will be required to submit a piece of written work (personal statement) as part of their UCAS application to enable an assessment to be made of their suitability for the programme.

Applying for September 2017 >>


We normally make offers of AAB/ABB at 'A' level (this excludes General Studies, Critical Thinking, Extended Projects and Citizenship Studies). We accept the BTEC Extended Diploma at D*DD and the Diploma and Subsidiary Diploma are accepted along with other qualifications. The International Baccalaureate is also accepted (30 – 32 points). Offers vary depending on the relevance of subjects studied at AS/A2 level, or equivalent. Ideal applicants will have studied one of the following 'A' levels: Mathematics, Further Mathematics, Economics, Statistics or Physics.

All applicants are usually required to hold a minimum of GCSE Maths grade B and English Language grade C or equivalent.

Summer Maths Programme

Applicants are invited to register for our Summer Maths Programme which runs before teaching starts. The programme focuses on the fundamental math skills that you will come across during your studies at ifs University College. It's a great opportunity to boost your numerical skills, get a head start on your studies and begin your first year with confidence.

Certificate and Diploma in Financial Studies

If you are studying our CeFS and DipFS qualifications, remember that these qualifications can contribute to our entry requirements, helping you to stand out from other applicants.

AAT/ACCA

If you hold the AAT Level 3 and / or Level 4 Diploma or the ACCA 'Fundamentals' papers F1-F6 (or part thereof), you may be eligible for entry / exemption to ifs University College undergraduate programmes.

Student membership

All students are required to join ifs University College as a student member when they enroll on an ifs University College Higher Education programme.

Mature applicants

We are happy to consider applications from mature students.

Mature students who do not meet the entry requirements will be required to submit a CV supported by a 500 to 600 word statement indicating why they have chosen to undertake the programme and how it will support their career plans. If invited to progress, an interview may be held and a numeracy and deductive reasoning assessment may need to be passed.

All students are required to hold:

  • GCSE Mathematics at minimum grade B (or equivalent) and
  • GCSE English Language at minimum grade C (or equivalent) or an IELTS score of 6.0 or above with no element below 5.5

If you do not meet the entry requirements or you require any further information please contact Full-time Programmes on +44 (0) 207 337 6293/4 or email us.

Applications & fees

All applications must be made via UCAS:

BSc (Hons) in Finance, Investment and Risk UCAS Code N300.

For more information on how to apply, visit UCAS

For more information on applying to study at ifs University College and to view our admissions policy please visit our admissions page.

Fees

Home/EU tuition fees for 2016/17 are £6,000 per annum. International student fees are listed on the International student page.

Visit our Fees & Funding page for more information and learn about our scholarships.

Careers

Graduates of this course are likely to go on to careers in a wide range of investment banking roles as traders, fund and asset managers, analysts and brokers. Students will be supported throughout their studies to gain summer internships to give their career a head start. The programme is also designed to be an excellent foundation for the CFA Institute's globally recognised CFA award or further specialist studies in Finance at Masters Level.