IC101-Introductory Securities and Markets

Module Provider: ICMA Centre
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2021/2

Module Convenor: Prof Brian Scott-Quinn
Email: b.scott-quinn@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

This module is delivered at the University of Reading and the University of Reading Malaysia

The module is in two halves. In the first half (first five weeks of term), we cover financial institutions, credit risk, maturity transformation and liquidity. We also cover the economics of banking and types of money including cryptocurrencies and central bank digital currencies. In the second five weeks, we focus on sustainable finance and its important contribution to achieving Net-Zero by 2050. Thus this second part focussed on the role of the finance industry in mitigating climate change impact and also covers social issues relevant to corporates and financial companies such as diversity, equality of pay for equal work, salary and bonus differentials etc.


To provide an economic, accounting, business and management framework for understanding financial institutions, market players, financial markets, and the importance of financial intermediation. Participants will gain an understanding of commercial and investment banks, the international credit, bond and other markets. Developments in financial technology in the financial services industry and in particular in relation to the question “what is money”  will help prepare you for interviews and a career in finance, accounting or business management. A key part of the module is on ‘sustainable finance’ which involves understanding the science of climate change and how this can be translated to developing ratings for companies depending on how environmentally friendly they are. This is then widened to ratings of companies on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues including diversity on boards and in senior management, equality of opportunity and pay, avoidance of child labour in developing countries etc., modern slavery etc. 

Assessable learning outcomes:

Explaining the role of financial intermediation in society including the provision of liquidity and a means of transferring resources over time 

Discussing and describing the role of different types of financial intermediaries 

Assessing credit and liquidity risk 

Explaining ‘what is money’ and how countries are converting to electronic money and cryptocurrencies 

Be able to talk co nfidently about how the banking industry is changing and about environmental, social and governance issues and in particular about how the finance industry can mitigate climate change impact

Additional outcomes:

As the final (May) exam essay question is distributed well in advance, this enables students to start to learn the meaning of researching a topic in depth, remember what they have learned from their research when they sit down to write the exam in the examination hall, being able to condense understanding into a concise essay to be written to a deadline.

Outline content:

  • Financial intermediation 

  • The role of banks and investment banks 

  • Credit risk and liquidity provision and liquidity risk 

  • The meaning of ‘money’ including electronic and cryptocurrencies 

  • Climate and environmental risks and how  they impact companies, banks  and investors 

  • Social and governance factors in investment and lending decisions. 


Global context:

Finance is a global industry. This module covers theory of banking which is applicable in any country and then uses examples from a number of countries to exemplify particular topics which it is important for a student to understand.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Lectures are designed to be interactive with students being asked at regular intervals to recall previous lecture material and current lecture to answer questions posed in the lecture. The student is also expected to apply understanding from other modules (Economics, Accounting) to the banking industry. 

Each week there is a multiple choice quiz on BB for the students to work on and each week in lectures, individual students are asked to give their answer to a qu estion. After doing so, the correct answer is shown on the screen and the lecturer goes through each possible answer to explain why it is either correct, or wrong. 

Further time is devoted to direct interaction with students in the break time and also after lecture time to answer questions on issues which a student is not fully understanding.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20
Seminars 8
Guided independent study:      
    Wider reading (independent) 25
    Wider reading (directed) 50
    Exam revision/preparation 10 34
    Preparation for seminars 21
    Completion of formative assessment tasks 12
    Reflection 20
Total hours by term 166 0 34
Total hours for module 200

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 60
Class test administered by School 40

Summative assessment- Examinations:

One final exam. Two hours.

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

The in-class test takes place after the mid-term break with a student expected to undertake the appropriate revision of the first five weeks of the module prior to the test. There will be 100 questions to come completed in one hour, this being the pace which is expected in professional examinations and which has also enabled almost all students in previous years to complete the test satisfactorily. 

Formative assessment methods:

As noted above, the feedback is through the time spent in lectures on going through the multiple choice answers to quiz questions to explain why particular answers were wrong and why one was correct.

Penalties for late submission:

The Support Centres will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.
The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

Assessment requirements for a pass:


Reassessment arrangements:

By exam only. Essay question plus multiple choice questions. 

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

Commercial and Investment Banking and the International Credit and Capital Markets by Brian Scott-Quinn (provided to you without charge.)

Achieving Net Zero in the Finance Industry by Brian Scott-Quinn (available on the Blackboard site for this module)


Last updated: 8 April 2021


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