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Topics in Finance

  • Teacher(s):   G.Ballocchi (AR)  
  • Course given in: English
  • ECTS Credits: 3 credits
  • Schedule: Autumn Semester 2019-2020, 2.0h. course (weekly average)
  •  sessions
  • site web du cours course website
  • Related programmes:
    Master of Science (MSc) in Actuarial Science

    Master of Science (MSc) in Finance : Financial Entrepreneurship and Data Science

    Master of Science (MSc) in Finance, Orientation Corporate Finance

    Master of Science (MSc) in Finance, Orientation Asset and Risk Management

    Master of Law (MLaw) in Law and Economics

 

Objectives

This objective of this course is to serve as a bridge between the theory and the practice of finance, thus providing them with concrete tools to build their careers in the fast changing world of finance. The course answers requests formulated by currently employed MScF students about career orientation.

At the end of the course students are expected to have significantly broadened their understanding of the practice of finance and better situate and apply their academic knowledge in the job context, being able to:

1a. Discuss current trends in finance, e.g. in fields such as private banking and investment management, pension fund management, financial intermediation, commodities trading, including the impact of fintech.

1b. Critique the applications of theoretical concepts, and the limitations thereof, to the above fields, in the light of lessons from financial history and practice.

2a. Explain in practical terms how to use available market instruments to enter into, or hedge exposures, particularly for Foreign Exchange.

2b. Explain how to execute simple investment strategies in the market, in the light of costs and market frictions.

3a. Perform a gap analysis between their current skills and the competences required for their chosen job objective.

3b. Formulate a plan with actions to acquire those competences.

A detailed list of Learning Outcome Statements will be provided during the course.

Contents

a) Leading practitioners, from a broad range of financial institutions and backgrounds, visit the class to present the issues to share their perspective, providing students with a unique opportunity to obtain straight information about different financial careers.

b) The course includes formal lectures on cutting edge topics with practical relevance, such as human capital and lifetime wealth management, using derivatives in portfolio management and a detailed, down-to-earth explanation of the foreign exchange market.

c) Students are asked to read in their own time three books and a few articles that give them background information on the historical development of financial markets and on financial crises. Only a general knowledge of these readings is required for the exam.

The books are:

  1. "When Genius Failed", Roger Lowenstein, Random House, 2000
  2. "This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly”, Carmen Reinhart & Kenneth Rogoff, Princeton University Press (selected chapters)
  3. "Financial Market History- Reflections on the Past for Investors today", Edited by David Chambers and Elroy Dimson, CFA Institute Research Foundation (selected chapters)

For the first two books, get cheap paperbacks, e.g. on Amazon (all editions are the same for the purpose of the exam). The third book is available for free in electronic form at http://www.cfapubs.org/doi/pdf/10.2470/rf.v2016.n3.1 Moreover, the CFA Institute Research Foundation will make hard copies of the third book available for free.

The detailed list of required readings will be provided in the course.

Students get advice on how to bridge the gap between their current skill set and what is required to pursue their career objectives. Material about soft skills is made available on the course Moodle site.

The interaction with the leading practitioners who visit the course, the lectures, the suggested readings and the exam format are designed to build up practical skills and abilities.

Pre-requisites

None, although first year MScF courses are recommended. If you have additional questions please contact giuseppe.ballocchi@unil.ch

Evaluation

First attempt

Exam:
Written 2h00 hours
Documentation:
Not allowed
Calculator:
Allowed with restrictions
Evaluation:

The final grade is given as an average between assignments (30%) and the final exam (70%). The final exam consists of multiple choice questions and open questions.

The final exam is based on the detailed Learning Outcome Statements that will be provided in the course.

Only non-programmable calculators are allowed during the exam.

Retake

Exam:
Written 2h00 hours
Documentation:
Not allowed
Calculator:
Allowed with restrictions
Evaluation:

The retake exam lasts 2 hours. The final grade is based on the retake exam only and not on assignments.



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