ICM138-Strategic Approaches to the Business of Finance

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: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Dr Lisa Schopohl

Email: l.schopohl@icmacentre.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

This module enables students to develop a nuanced, advanced understanding of the topical challenges associated with the development of the financial sector including the evolution of complex structures, instruments, markets and enhanced consumer choice. It will then evaluate the challenges posed to regulators by changes to industry structure, business strategy and risk appetite.


This module aims to develop regulatory insights into overarching and strategic challenges that regulated financial entities are exposed to and examines the consequences that strategic developments in the financial services industry have for the financial regulator.

Assessable learning outcomes:

This module is intended to develop students’ ability to demonstrate an advanced understanding of a business strategy and different strategic perspectives and approaches as well as the interplay between strategy and business models, particularly in the context of the financial services industry. By the end of this module students will also be able to engage with new or overarching developments in financial sector practice and to reflect on the role that financial regulators should play in overseeing firm strategies.

Additional outcomes:

Students will gain experience in handling case studies and in debating with their peers.

Outline content:

In the wake of the global financial crisis (2007), it has become increasingly clear that regulators must have an incisive and wide-ranging understanding of financial firms’ business models and their overarching strategic choices in the context of governance arrangements and the risk transmission mechanisms across the economy. There is also a need to develop regulatory foresight as the problems of the past are not necessarily repeated in the same format in future crises although there are often common themes that may recur. This module enables students to develop a nuanced, advanced understanding of the topical challenges associated with the development of the financial sector and how actors in the finance industry respond to these strategic challenges. We will examine different strategic perspectives and approaches and how they translate into business models. Based on this conceptual basis, we will explore specific strategic challenges in respect of changes to industry structure, business strategy and risk appetite which together help to understand the complex sources of strategic change in the finance industry. We will also examine the consequences that strategic developments in the financial industry have for the financial regulator.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Taught content for this module will primarily be delivered through lectures and syndicated learning, which will take place at FCA premises (weekly) and at Henley Business School (Greenlands Campus, Henley over the residential weekend).  Where appropriate materials and learning will also be shared through the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) that is intended to facilitate and aid your learning journey within the MSc Programme.

Students are also encouraged to make extensive use of the facilities at the University of Reading library (Whiteknights campus) and the Academic Resource Centre (ARC) Online.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20
Seminars 8
Guided independent study 172
Total hours by term 200.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 80
Project output other than dissertation 20

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Group project and presentation, worth 20%, results to be presented during Week 11.

Students will be allocated into groups of 4 to 5 and will be asked to develop a scenario plan for a particular strategic challenge of their choice. The scenario plan shall be informed by individual interviews that students conduct with subject experts. The students present their results of the group work to the class during the final lecture. The summative assessment will be in the form of a mark awarded to the entire group.

Individual written assignment of a maximum of 3,000 words, worth 80%, to be submitted during Week 15.

The assignment is an individual reflective essay on the student’s experience of designing a strategic plan relating to the chosen strategic challenge and of working in a group setting. Students are asked to link their discussion to relevant academic literature and real-world examples as well as evidence based on their conducted interview. Students will have to submit a signed consent form for their interview together with the essay.

Formative assessment methods:
Henley weekend as per programme specification.

Penalties for late submission:

In accordance with university policy.

Assessment requirements for a pass:
50% weighted average mark.

Reassessment arrangements:

Individual assignment to be submitted in August/September

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

Last updated: 20 April 2018


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