Structure

Learning outcomes

  • Acquire key financial skills on introductory modules covering finance and quantitative methods; ideal if you have no previous exposure to finance
  • Study specialist modules including hedge funds and fund management, computational finance, risk, shipping markets, and mergers and acquisitions. To enrol on these modules, you require some previous academic or practical exposure to finance.
  • Work with members of the Cass finance faculty, one of the largest and most respected in the world
  • Network with a diverse group of fellow students in one of the most dynamic and cosmopolitan cities in the world
  • Gain a short-form exposure to the types and styles of learning available to you at Cass business school.

Modules

Introduction to Finance

About the programme

This short summer programme is designed to give students exposure to the key issues in modern finance. It begins by introducing the language of finance, describing the structure of financial markets and detailing the roles played by financial intermediaries. The introductory finance course proceeds to analyse how companies make their financing choices (for example, how they decide which investment projects to undertake) before going on to discuss how financial securities (e.g. bonds and stocks) may be valued.

The course is intensive yet rewarding and the ideal introduction to finance for people from a wide range of professional experience or academic backgrounds.

The course will cover fundamental financial terminology as well as providing you with the skills to outline and discuss the basic concepts of financial security, financial markets and financial valuations.

Course Content

  • The fundamental terminology of finance
  • The essential structure of the financial system and the role of financial inter-mediation
  • The characteristics of different financial securities
  • The role and functioning of various financial markets

On successful completion of this module, you will be expected to be able to:

Knowledge & Understanding
  • Demonstrate the key considerations affecting the decisions of financial market participants.
  • Explain the structure and the institutions making up the financial markets.
  • Be equipped for further study of finance-related courses at postgraduate level.
Skills
  • Outline the role and functioning of financial intermediaries.
  • Discuss the role of financial market in processing and incorporating information into the prices of securities
  • Master the concept of the time value of money for making informed and carefully evaluated financial decisions
  • Outline basic concepts of valuation of securities and firms.
Values & Attitudes
  • Discuss the wider social context of financial markets
  • Demonstrate the importance of regulatory regimes on financial market participants

Module Leaders: Dr Aneel Keswani and Dr Sonia Falconieri

Prior to completing his PhD at London Business School, Aneel worked as an economist for a commodities research company. Aneel taught at both LSE and Lancaster University before coming to Cass, and has also consulted for various investment banks. His main research area is fund management and he is a Director of the Centre for Asset Management Research at Cass.

Dr Aneel Keswani's Online Profile

Sonia Falconieri joined the faculty of Finance at Cass in September 2009. Her research interests are in Corporate Finance; specifically she has been working on Initial Public Offerings, Takeovers and the financing side of Public Private Partnerships among others. Her articles have been published in some major journals such as the JEEA, the Review of Finance and Financial Management.

Dr Sonia Falconierei's Online Profile

Eligibility

The course is open to current undergraduates and recent graduates of any discipline. Students on this course are not expected to have previously studied finance at University level. It is recommended that students wishing to enrol on this course have mathematical skills to the equivalent of a UK A-level in Mathematics.

Students who have not studied a degree programme taught in English before are required to have an overall IELTS score of at least 6.5 (with a minimum of 6.5 in writing).

Introduction to Quantitative Methods

About the programme

Finance, both academic and practical, is a quantitative subject. Risk managers use data and statistical techniques to evaluate portfolios, investors must estimate the expected returns and risk contributions of potential investments and traders wish to forecast future movements in the levels of stock, bond and foreign exchange markets.

Understanding the fundamentals of statistics, mathematics and econometrics is thus vital to a successful career in finance and is also necessary for all students wishing to study for an MSc level award in finance.*

The Introduction to Quantitative Methods course is designed to equip students with essential statistical and mathematical tools. You will become familiar with the language of mathematics and statistics, and will cover important fields such as linear algebra, calculus, probability, inference and linear regression. The module is designed to enable you to understand the core language of mathematics and statistics, and to be able to apply the concepts to practical problems in business and finance. Thus this is not just a theory course; it also provides students with hands on experience of working with, manipulating and understanding financial data.

Introduction to Quantitative methods is taught by Dr Lorenzo Trapani, a researcher in financial econometrics and the Associated Dean for Teaching and Learning at Cass, and by Professor Richard Payne, an empirical finance researcher with a background in quantitative research, both in academia and as a quantitative equity trader.

*Students who have taken this course would, for example, be fully prepared to undertake the quantitative elements of a finance-related MSc at Cass (and at other top UK universities). Thus an undergraduate who has completed a degree in a non-quantitative subject can use this course as a primer that would help them to switch to studying finance at MSc level.

Course Content

  • Key terms and notation used in financial applications of mathematics and statistics
  • The fundamentals of algebra and of calculus
  • Basic statistics - for example, the notations of random variable, expectation, estimation and testing
  • How to apply statistics, and mathematics, in the analysis of financial and accounting data.

On successful completion of this module, you will be expected to be able to:

Knowledge & Understanding
  • Use the basic mathematics required to undertake the fundamental types of calculation that will be required in the study of finance.
  • Demonstrate the principles of statistical analysis and their applications to financial data
  • Describe the different statistical methods which can be used to summarise and interpret financial data
  • Discuss the underlying assumptions in statistical modelling and the dangers of ignoring them.
Skills
  • Develop skills to enable statistical analysis of data.
  • Apply statistical methods to facilitate answers to real world problems in a variety of practical settings
  • Provide critical assessment of empirical research in the field.
  • Develop and interpret empirical models that capture the stylized behaviour of financial data
  • Develop and interpret empirical tests to assess the validity of finance theories.
Values & Attitudes
  • Learn from the data but at the same time be self-critical and aware of the limitations of empirical analyses
  • Support statements on the basis of empirical evidence

Module Leader: Professor Richard Payne

Richard holds a PhD in Economics from the London School of Economics and has worked at the LSE, the University of Bristol and Warwick Business School. He has also worked in the asset management industry and actively consults for industry clients.

Richard's research interests are in the areas of market microstructure, investment management, international finance and financial econometrics. He has worked on topics including the relationship between order flows and exchange rates, the effects of macroeconomic news on exchange rates and FX market activity and the operation of hybrid equity markets. At present he is working on topics including the impact of short-selling on stock markets and the effects of high-frequency trading on the quality of UK equity markets.

Eligibility

The course is open to current undergraduates and recent graduates of any discipline. Students on this course are not expected to have previously studied
econometrics to advanced undergraduate level. It is recommended that students wishing to enrol on this course have mathematical skills to the equivalent of a UK A-level in Mathematics.

Students who have not studied a degree programme taught in English before are required to have an overall IELTS score of at least 6.5 (with a minimum of 6.5 in writing).

Mergers and Acquisitions

About the programme

Mergers and acquisitions are major form of corporate activity with important and wide ranging implications for firm managers, employees, customers and investors. The M&A module will provide you with a detailed understanding of the financial issues surrounding M&A activity, within a strategic context and from an international perspective. Students will complete the module with not only an understanding of the blend of strategic and financial implications thrown up by M&A activity, but more importantly with a full recognition of the impact of corporate restructurings on organisations and people. The course will cover topics related to the motivation for deals, determinants of the success of deals, deal valuation and post-merge integration.

The M&A course is taught by Professor Scott Moeller, Director of the Cass Mergers and Acquisitions Research Centre and an ex M&A practitioner, together with other faculty from the business school.

Course Content

This course will provide you with a detailed understanding of the financial issues within a strategic context regarding mergers and acquisitions from an international perspective. At the end of the module you should have the ability to form your own views about M&A, and should be prepared to make your own creatively strategic and analytically supportable recommendations regarding potential M&A transactions.

  • Corporate motives for M&A
  • Strategic alternatives to a merger or acquisition
  • Why so many acquisitions fail; value creation and value destruction
  • Commonly used takeover defences and tactics
  • Deal valuation and financing
  • Due diligence
  • Role of outside advisors and company management
  • Regulators and regulatory and tax environment (focus on the UK)
  • Post merger integration and other impacts of the M&A process
  • Surviving an M&A deal

On successful completion of this module, you will be expected to be able to:

Knowledge & Understanding
  • Articulate your understanding of the role of M&A activity in its wider economic context
  • Illustrate relevant company valuation concepts
  • Assess strategic implications of M&A activity
Skills
  • Demonstrate team working skills
  • Understand the implications of current finance theories for practical M&A issues
  • Evaluate the value-creating potential of an M&A proposition
  • Evaluate complex M&A propositions
  • Apply understanding of the building blocks of M&A transactions (e.g. sources of finance, accounting implications)
  • Demonstrate presentation and report writing skills
Values & Attitudes
  • Demonstrate confidence in applying financial and strategic concepts to M&A
  • Demonstrate awareness of the wider business context of M&A activity

Module Leader: Professor Scott Moeller

Scott Moeller is the Director of the M&A Research Centre at Cass Business School. He teaches Mergers & Acquisitions on the MBA and MSc programmes at Cass.

During his six years at Deutsche Bank, Scott was Global Head of the bank’s corporate venture capital unit, Managing Director of the Investment Bank's Global eBusiness Division and Managing Director of the department responsible for world-wide strategy and new business acquisitions. Scott worked first at Booz Allen & Hamilton Management Consultants for over 5 years and then at Morgan Stanley for over 12 years in New York, Japan, and most recently as co-manager and then member of the board of Morgan Stanley Bank AG in Germany. Scott has held a number of other board seats throughout Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas and is currently a non-executive director on several boards.

Eligibility

The course is open to current undergraduates and recent graduates. Applicants must have studied finance as part of their undergraduate degree, with some coverage of corporate finance, or have a professional background in finance. It is recommended that students wishing to enrol on this course have mathematical skills to the equivalent of a UK A-level in Mathematics.

Students who have not studied a degree programme taught in English before are required to have an overall IELTS score of at least 6.5 (with a minimum of 6.5 in writing).

Shipping Markets and Finance

About the programme

Shipping is a very important sector of the world economy. The aim of the module is to provide an overview of the fundamentals of shipping markets and describe the operating and investment practices of modern shipping companies. The main aims are:

  • To examine in depth the fundamentals of shipping investment.
  • To equip students with the analytical tools and skills for making shipping investment and finance decisions.
  • Understand how revenue is earned by shipping companies.
  • Understand the importance of the industry's cost structure and the necessity for cost minimisation.
  • Understand the risks involved in a shipping project and how these can be managed

Course Content

At the end of the module you should be able to appreciate the specific details of operating and investing in shipping, to form your own views about shipping investment and to evaluate the potential of operating and investment in shipping:

  • The importance and position of the shipping industry in the world economy.
  • Analysis and features of various shipping sectors: dry-bulk; tanker; container and specialised sectors.
  • Analysis of the four shipping markets: freight; new-building; second-hand and demolition.
  • Supply and demand factors in shipping.
  • Market equilibrium and freight rate determination.
  • Contracting and cost and revenue responsibilities in different shipping contracts.
  • Stylized features of freight rates: analysis of volatility, term structure and seasonality.
  • Analysis of shipping risks; risk management of shipping revenues and costs.
  • Freight risks and the use of derivative contracts.
  • Project evaluation and cash flow analysis of a shipping project.
  • Financing a shipping project.
  • Sources of capital for shipping companies; bank loans; bonds; private and public equity

On successful completion of this module, you will be expected to be able to:

Knowledge & Understanding
  • Understand the fundamental principles of shipping markets.
  • Comprehend the economics of shipping and its inter-related markets, including freight, new-building, second hand and demolition.
  • Comprehend the key parameters involved in shipping investment decisions and the tools used in a shipping investment feasibility study.
  • Assess and evaluate the major financial risks involved in a shipping project.
Skills
  • Undertake a shipping feasibility study.
  • Carry out a cash-flow analysis for a shipping project and critically evaluate a shipping investment appraisal.
  • Understand and assess different sources of funding for a shipping project.
  • Identify different sources of risk in shipping operations and measure exposure to such risks.
  • Measure and compare the effectiveness of different derivatives instruments in the management of financial risks in shipping.
Values & Attitudes
  • Demonstrate confidence in applying financial concepts for shipping projects.
  • Demonstrate the use of judgement in the comparison and evaluation of projects and clarity and unbiased-ness in describing the relative merits of investments to others.

Module Leaders: Professor Nikos Nomikos and Dr Nikos C. Papapostolou

Nikos Nomikos is Professor of Shipping Risk Management at Cass Business School. He commenced his career at the Baltic Exchange as Senior Market Analyst where he was responsible for the development of the shipping indices that are currently used in the market as pricing benchmarks. For the last 10 years he has been with the Faculty of Finance at Cass Business School, where he is also the Director of the MSc course in Shipping, Trade and Finance. His area of expertise is Ship Finance and Risk Management. As such, he particularly enjoys lecturing on the topics of shipping economics, ship finance and shipping risk management as well as quantitative finance and risk management in financial and commodity markets.

Nikos Papapostolou is a Senior Lecturer in Shipping Finance at the Costas Grammenos Centre for Shipping, Trade and Finance. He holds a BSc in Money, Banking and Finance from the University of Birmingham, an MSc in Shipping, Trade and Finance and a PhD in Finance from City, University of London. He is involved in Shipping Finance Executive training in collaboration with the Baltic Exchange and acts as a consultant to industry clients.

His research interests are in the field of shipping investment and finance, with a focus on capital markets as a source of finance for shipping companies, investors’ sentiment and behavior in the shipping industry, freight options pricing and vessel valuation, technical analysis trading rules, and commodity derivatives.

Eligibility

The course is open to current undergraduates and recent graduates of any discipline. Students on this course are not expected to have previously studied finance at University level. It is recommended that students wishing to enrol on this course have mathematical skills to the equivalent of a UK A-level in Mathematics.

Students who have not studied a degree programme taught in English before are required to have an overall IELTS score of at least 6.5 (with a minimum of 6.5 in writing).

Computational Finance and Financial Modelling

About the programme

Financial modelling is a skill that helps you build a finance career. This module will equip you with an understanding of the most important methods in computational finance and, in particular, their implementation using Excel. These include optimal portfolio construction, calculation of the efficient frontier, dynamic portfolio management, asset price modelling, optimised volatility and correlation estimation, risk measurement and forecasting, Monte Carlo simulation and scenario generation, and pricing of financial derivatives. You will gain an insight into financial data, processing them by means of instructor-led demonstrations and Excel-based exercises for the participants, interpreting results, and performing model validation.

The course is suitable for students with some prior finance knowledge, basic mathematical skills and some familiarity with probability distributions. Basic understanding of Excel is also recommended. Building on these, you will learn how to implement various financial models and become competent in using Excel to this end. The module is well-suited for prospective entrants to the finance industry in areas such as quantitative analysis, investment analysis, financial and real asset research, portfolio construction and management, credit risk research, but also students with an interest in further studies (at Cass or other top UK universities) in quantitative finance, financial engineering and mathematical finance.

Computational Finance and Financial Modelling is co-delivered by Dr Ioannis Kyriakou, a researcher with interest in stochastic asset modelling and numerical methods in finance, and Dr Panos Pouliasis, who will share with you his expertise in energy/commodities finance.

Course Content

  • Practical portfolio analysis: efficient frontier calculation techniques, optimal risky portfolios and optimization using different risk measures.
  • Asset price and volatility modelling: definitions, stylized facts and distributional properties.
  • Volatility and correlation: estimation, forecasting implementations and interpretation.
  • Density and tail forecasting, management of adverse price movements, dynamic portfolio management. Examples of these techniques in Excel.
  • One-dimensional and multi-dimensional models. Analysis of price trajectories: tranquillity and / or existence of jumps.
  • Inverse problems: model calibration and implied volatility profiles based on basic financial contracts.
  • Numerical implementation in Excel.
  • Monte Carlo simulation. Applications in Excel in asset price path generation, investments, pricing of one-asset and multi-asset contracts, expected exposure for defaultable contracts.

On successful completion of this module, you will be expected to be able to:

Knowledge & Understanding
  • Formulate financial and investment objectives mathematically and apply analytical skills to evaluate portfolio construction and solve portfolio management problems
  • Investigate different types of market price data and their observed properties
  • Select appropriate asset price and volatility models, estimate and validate them using relevant techniques in Excel
  • Understand the principles of Monte Carlo methods and their application in price generation, investments, portfolio management and valuation of financial contracts
  • Make decisions via relevant practical case studies: e.g., the amount of assets required for construction of well-diversified portfolios, estimation of loss from investing in a portfolio over a given time horizon, study of the impact of uncertainty on the investment decision
Skills
  • Build on theory, formulate and understand different financial models and methods, as opposed to simply treating them as black boxes
  • Develop an understanding of the model building process
  • Implement and calibrate models using real data
  • Provide assessment of empirical results
  • Develop important applied software skills in financial modelling for use in a quantitative finance professional environment or further related studies
Values & Attitudes
  • Demonstrate awareness of the assumptions and ideas underlying different financial models
  • Demonstrate an appreciation of the strength and limitation of financial models and methods
  • Learn from the data and support statements on the basis of empirical evidence
  • Have an attitude of careful documentation and communication of analysis results

Module Leaders: Dr Ioannis Kyriakou and Dr Panos Pouliasis

Ioannis Kyriakou is a Senior Lecturer at Cass. He holds a PhD in Finance. Previously he worked for Lloyd’s Treasury and Investment Management on Lloyd’s Investment Risk Model for measuring the market and credit risks under the Solvency II Directive. His teaching duties relate to Numerical Methods in Finance, Financial Derivatives, and Probability and Statistics. His research agenda encompasses stochastic asset modelling and development of efficient methodologies for valuation of exotic derivatives in freight and commodity markets.

Dr Ioannis Kyriakou’s Online Profile

Panos Pouliasis is a Senior Lecturer in Energy/Commodities and Finance at Cass. He holds a PhD in Finance. He joined Cass originally as a researcher at The Costas Grammenos International Centre for Shipping, Trade and Finance. Currently, he is in the Faculty of Finance where he lectures on Finance, International Business and Financial Markets, Quantitative Methods, Commodity Derivatives and Structured Equity/Energy Derivatives. His research interests relate to commodity and shipping risk management, volatility-correlation modelling and forecasting, and financial econometrics.

Dr Panos Pouliasis’s Online Profile

Eligibility

The course is open to current undergraduates and recent graduates with some prior finance knowledge, basic mathematical skills and some familiarity with probability distributions. Basic understanding of Excel is also recommended. Building on these, you will learn how to implement various financial models and become competent in using Excel to this end. The module is well-suited for prospective entrants to the finance industry in areas such as quantitative analysis, investment analysis, financial and real asset research, portfolio construction and management, credit risk research, but also students with an interest in further studies in quantitative finance, financial engineering and mathematical finance.

Students who have not studied a degree programme taught in English before are required to have an overall IELTS score of at least 6.5 (with a minimum of 6.5 in writing).

Hedge Funds and the Asset Management Industry

About the programme

The last two decades has seen a dramatic increase in investor interest in alternative investments and chief amongst these have been hedge funds. The purpose of this module is to provide an in-depth study of the the hedge fund industry structure of the hedge fund industry and the strategies that funds use to generate returns. We will begin with issues of industrial structure, ultimately investigating why the hedge fund industry has come to look the way it does. Then the coverage will proceed through an exhaustive study of the 10 major hedge fund strategies paying particular attention to the risks underlying these strategies. You will be introduced to the key issues involved in constructing portfolios of hedge funds as well as issues that one faces when incorporating hedge funds into a traditional portfolio. For all topics you will be provided with both the academic and practitioner perspectives.

The Hedge Funds and the Asset Management Industry course is taught by Dr Nick Motson, who does research on portfolio management issues and, specifically, on hedge fund performance. Dr Motson spent many years working as a trader in the City of London and still actively consults on trading and asset management issues.

Course Content

  • An overview of the hedge fund industry, history, organisation, issues and current trends
  • A Review of the 10 major hedge fund strategies
  • Analysis of hedge fund performance, performance metrics and factor models
  • Hedge fund data, availability, biases and statistical properties
  • Case studies of five major hedge fund failures

On successful completion of this module, you will be expected to be able to:

Knowledge & Understanding
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the global market for hedge funds
  • Explain the structure of hedge funds
  • Describe and compare the investment strategies of hedge funds
  • Demonstrate an understanding of hedge fund diversification and what to expect when investing in portfolios of hedge funds or funds of funds
  • Assess the shortcomings of standard performance measurement tools such as the
  • Sharpe ratio and Mean-Variance analysis when applied to hedge funds
Skills
  • Appraise the global market for hedge funds
  • Assess the risk of hedge fund investments
  • Compare the drivers of return of the 10 major hedge fund strategies
  • Assess the pros and cons of investing in funds of hedge funds
  • Articulate the shortcomings of standard performance measurement tools such as the Sharpe ratio and Mean-Variance analysis when applied to hedge funds
Values & Attitudes
  • Show awareness of the ever changing landscape of the financial services industry and of emerging trend
  • Explain how pursuing the wrong strategy can lead to failure

Module Leader: Dr Nick Motson

Dr Nick Motson joined the faculty of finance at Cass in 2008 following a 13 year career as a proprietary trader of interest rate derivatives in the City of London for various banks including First National Bank of Chicago, Industrial Bank of Japan and Wachovia Bank.

Nick's research interests include asset management, particularly hedge funds, alternative assets and structured products. In 2009 he was awarded the Sciens Capital Award for Best Academic Article, in The Journal of Alternative Investments for his paper Locking in the Profits or Putting It All on Black? An Empirical Investigation into the Risk-Taking Behaviour of Hedge Fund Managers.

Nick teaches extensively at masters level on alternative investments, derivatives and structured products and in recognition of the quality of his teaching he was nominated for the Economist Intelligence Unit Business Professor of the Year Award in 2012.

As well as teaching and researching at Cass, Nick actively consults for numerous banks and hedge funds and has provided research or training clients including ABN Amro, Aon Hewitt, Barclays Wealth, BNP Paribas, FM Capital Partners, NewEdge, Societe Generale and Rosbank.

Eligibility

The course is open to current undergraduates and recent graduates. Applicants must have studied finance as part of their undergraduate degree, with some coverage of financial markets and portfolio theory, or have a professional background in finance. It is recommended that students wishing to enroll on this course have mathematical skills to the equivalent of a UK A-level in Mathematics.

Students who have not studied a degree programme taught in English before are required to have an overall IELTS score of at least 6.5 (with a minimum of 6.5 in writing).

Assessment methods

Sessions will comprise:

  • formal lectures
  • illustrative examples
  • exercises
  • mini case studies
  • group discussion.

Students will also be expected to engage in a number of hours of independent learning which will be supported through our Moodle Virtual Learning Environment.  These sessions are demanding but highly rewarding.