IC207-Trends in Finance

Module Provider: ICMA Centre
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2022/3

Module Convenor: Dr Antony Moore
Email: t.moore@icmacentre.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

This module encourages students to contextualise current issues and debates in finance by placing them within the historical evolution of finance, and to develop and express their own ideas through coursework essays and in-class discussions.


This module aims to provide students with an understanding of how finance has evolved over time and where it may develop in the future. In the first half of the module, students will gain a broad understanding of financial history and study the linkages between innovations, bubbles and crises. In the second half of the module, invited guest speakers will lecture on topics of current interest and the students will be encouraged to place these within their wider social and historical context. Students will further develop their own independent study skills via coursework essays and their contribution to in-class discussions.

Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of the module, it is expected that the student will be able to:  

  • Identify and explain key issues and events in the historical development of finance  

  • Discuss the significance of current events and potential future developments in finance by placing them within their wider context 

  • Evaluate the impact on society of historical financial innovations and the potential costs and benefits of current innovations  

  • Demonstrate their independent research and critical thinking skills by identifying relevant information from academic and professional/journalistic sources, critically appraising primary sources and secondary studies, and articulating arguments effectively, both in writing and orally. 

Additional outcomes:

The module also encourages students to develop their own independent ideas and the confidence to present these to their peers. It includes workshops on research and essay-writing skills, which will enhance the students’ ability to write cogently and clearly.

Outline content:

The first half of the module will present an outline of financial history from its origins up to the Global Financial Crisis and examine case studies of connections between financial innovations, bubbles and crises. The second half of the module will focus on current developments in finance. The exact topics to be covered may change depending on which issues are considered most relevant and the availability of speakers. Potential subjects include: Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies; Regulation sinc e the Global Financial Crisis; Brexit and the future of British finance; Ethics in banking; Socially Responsible Investing; Alternative investments. 

1. The Origins of Money and Finance 

2. The Expansion of Financial Markets 

3. The History of Financial Innovations 

4. The History of Financial Bubbles 

5. The History of Financial Crises  

6 -10. Classes led by expert speakers on topics of current interest (depending on availability) 

There will also be three two-hour seminars held during the first five weeks of term on essay writing (what makes a good essay, research and conducting a literature review, and how to plan and write an essay). There will be two two-hour seminars in the second half of term, including an interactive workshop on one of the lecture topics and formative presentations by students on their chosen topics for the second coursework essay.

Global context:

The module does not specifically focus on global issues. However, international aspects of the history of finance or current events will be covered. 

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Each session will be led by ICMA Centre faculty or suitable external speakers and will be a combination of lecture-based delivery followed by classroom debate. Reading materials and preparation activities on potential topics for class discussion will be provided in advance. Pre- and post-class discussion boards will be hosted on the VLE. It is important that students engage with these in order to participate effectively in the class discussions. If st udents are unable to attend a class, they should inform the module convenor in advance.


Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20
Seminars 10
Guided independent study:      
    Wider reading (independent) 50
    Advance preparation for classes 30
    Preparation for seminars 20
    Essay preparation 50
    Reflection 20
Total hours by term 0 200 0
Total hours for module 200

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 90
Oral assessment and presentation 10

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

One essay (2,000 words maximum) on a set question based on material covered in weeks 1-5 of the spring term. The submission deadline will be in week 7 of spring term. This will be weighted at 40% of the final mark. 

One essay (3,000 words maximum) on a topic of the students’ choice (subject to approval by the module convenor). The submission deadline will be weeks 1 or 2 of the summer term. This will be weighted at 50% of the final mark. 

It is essential that students participate fully in discussion and debate, both in and out of class. 10% of the overall mark will be awarded for engaging in lectures and seminars and making relevant contributions to out-of-class discussion boards and quizzes on the VLE. If the student has a valid reason for not attending a class, they must notify the module convenor as soon as possible and preferably in advance. 

Formative assessment methods:

Students will receive feedback on their participation in class discussions and on their contribution to discussion boards and quizzes on the VLE.

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: https://www.reading.ac.uk/cqsd/-/media/project/functions/cqsd/documents/cqsd-old-site-documents/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:

A minimum mark of 40%.

Reassessment arrangements:

Resubmission of the second coursework essay.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

Last updated: 22 September 2022


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