ICM296-Alternative and Responsible Investments

Module Provider: ICMA Centre
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Level:7
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Pre-requisites:
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Co-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2014/5

Module Convenor: Dr Andreas Hoepner

Email: a.hoepner@icmacentre.ac.uk

Summary module description:
This module provides postgraduate students with an overview on alternative investment opportunities. It will critically engage students with the characteristics and issues of the main current alternatives investment opportunities being Commodities, Private Equity, and especially Hedge Funds. Beyond this, it will introduce students into newly emerging alternative investment markets, which include Carbon Finance, Microfinance, Islamic Investment and especially Responsible Investment. On this basis, the challenges of hand collecting original data and evaluating alternative investment portfolios’ performance are discussed.

Aims:
•To provide students with a profound knowledge about the underlying principles, the strategies and the professional practices of alternative investment approaches
•To equip students with analytical skills relevant to alternative investment approaches (e.g. the performance evaluation of hedge funds)
•To introduce students into the academic research literature on alternative investment approaches
•To equip students in the relevant research skills needed to investigate alternative investment approaches
•To equip students in the accurate and systematic collection of original data
•To guide students towards a critical assessment of current key concepts and practical applications within alternative investments
•To guide students towards the development of a small product within an alternative investment markets (e.g. an index)
•To foster students’ enthusiasm about alternative investments by encouraging them to pursue advanced personal analyses of the area beyond classroom requirements

Assessable learning outcomes:
On completion of this module students are expected to, inter alia, to:
•Have an in depth, critical understanding of hedge funds
•Possess the ability to develop and design an original dataset of hand collected data
•Possess the analytical skills to evaluate hedge funds
•Have an in depth, critical understanding of private equity
•Have an in depth, critical understanding of responsible investments
•Understand the relationships between responsibility, sustainability and financial markets
•Have an in depth, critical understanding of Islamic investment
•Have an in depth, critical understanding of carbon finance
•Understand the potential implications of climate change on financial markets
•Have an in depth, critical understanding of microfinance
•Be able to develop a small alternative investment product
•Be able to identify other alternative investment approaches

Additional outcomes:

Outline content:
Topic 1:Introduction into Alternative Investments
Topic 2: Hedge Funds
Topic 3: Performance Evaluation of absolute return hedge funds
Topic 4:Responsible Investment
Topic 5: Performance Evaluation of responsible mutual funds
Topic 6: Carbon Finance
Topic 7: Intangible Finance (i-finance)
Topic 8: Microfinance
Topic 9: Intermarket analysis
Topic 10: Further alternative investment

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
One 2-hour lecture and one 1-hour tutorial per week.
5 Industry visiting speakers of 1 hour each

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20
Tutorials 10
External visits 5
Guided independent study 165
       
Total hours by term 200.00
       
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 20
Report 50
Practical skills assessment 30

Other information on summative assessment:
20% - a 2,000 words plus alternative investment product idea including a detailed analysis of the literature in an alternative investment market of the students’ choice (including literature and research design tables)
50 % - a 3,000 words plus alternative investment report, in which the students develop a small alternative investment product and assess its financial performance
30% - an Excel Sheet accurately documenting the manual collecting of original, commercially relevant data on over 100 subjects in a relevant alternative investment field

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information: http://www.reading.ac.uk/internal/exams/student/exa-guidePG.aspx

Length of examination:

Requirements for a pass:
50%

Reassessment arrangements:

Last updated: 23 April 2014

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