Business and management studies

Financial Institutions and Markets

Module code: N1554
Level 5
15 credits in autumn semester
Teaching method: Lecture, Seminar
Assessment modes: Coursework

This module introduces the various types of financial institutions and their role in society including banks, insurance companies and investment managers. It then provides an overview of the major financial markets and products and how these are related to each other and to the institutions introduced earlier. Finally, behaviour of financial institutions and ethical principles of finance are discussed. A provisional outline of lectures, including one revision lecture at the end, is as follows:

  1. Introduction and purpose of module: overview of lectures, textbook, interplay with other courses, finance as an occupation, philanthropy and origins of finance
  2. Commercial banks: origins, adverse selection and moral hazard, operational risks, capital adequacy, regulation, deposit insurance and Sharia/Islamic finance
  3. Investment banks: importance in markets and society, secret of high profit, divisional analysis, shadow finance and leasing
  4. Insurance: origins, life and health, principal-agent problem, AIG blow-up and regulations
  5. Investment managers: 40 Act, mutual funds, hedge funds, private equity and venture capital
  6. Debt markets: term structure, leverage cycle, rating agencies, usury and consumer finance protection
  7. Equity markets: corporations, stock exchanges and capital raising
  8. Real estate:REITs, mortgages, securitisation, boom and bust cycles and specialty finance
  9. Derivatives:options, forwards, futures, arbitrage and hedging risks
  10. Crises and regulation: recent financial crisis, historical perspectives and attempts at regulatory reform
  11. Capitalism and ethics: morality of finance, 'doing God's work' and different political frameworks
  12. Revision

Module learning outcomes

  • Discuss the major types of institutions active in modern financial markets, their relationships and their important roles in society
  • Describe and analyze the primary assets classes and markets, and the innovations in product development
  • Explain conflicts of interest, human foibles, misbehaviour and regulation, including the use of examples from history
  • Understand the connection between the profit motive and inequality, and different political frameworks.