What you will study
The module is taught through three broad themes aimed at helping you understand the concepts that underpin investment planning.
The first theme looks at risk and return. The main building blocks of investment are savings (cash), bonds, shares and property. All of them – even cash which is particularly vulnerable to inflation – involve risks. You will be shown how to build a portfolio, using financial and economic modelling (such as the Capital Asset Pricing Model), that manages and spreads risk while pursuing higher returns. You will explore and critique how economic theories have shaped the investment funds on offer to the public, and learn how to interpret published information about these funds.
The second theme looks at uncertainty and change. Some events that have a critical impact on investments cannot be predicted. Socio-economic changes can increase the uncertainty that surrounds investment decisions. This theme explores the importance to personal investment of economic forces, government policies, ageing populations, and unforeseen events.
The third theme looks at regulation and ethics. Investors need to be assured that financial institutions and the wider financial system are safe. They also need to be confident that providers and sellers of financial products are behaving in an ethical way. But, as with most things, there is a cost to regulation. How much regulation is enough? Does regulation deliver enough benefits to justify its cost?
The module is delivered using a textbook and the module website. The website, which accounts for roughly half of the study materials has:
exciting audio-visual trigger topics that relate the study material to important economic events such as bank crashes, stock market bubbles and pension crises
stimulating interactive online activities to consolidate your learning
an Investment Tool that performs most of the required numerical analysis for you.
However you will be introduced to a small amount of straightforward arithmetic that will help you understand the underlying mechanisms and assumptions underpinning investment theories.
Taken together, the knowledge and understanding you gain from studying Personal investment in an uncertain world will deliver two types of crucial skills: skills that are highly practical and relevant in your everyday life, and key practical and professional skills that are essential for a career in the financial services industry.
Although you will acquire knowledge and skills that may help you in your own investment planning, you should be aware, however, that this module does not give personal investment advice.
This module is appropriate if you wish to understand or manage your own investments. However, it also has particular relevance if you are working in, or aiming to work in, the financial services industry. It teaches crucial knowledge and skills supporting investment planning, and encourages a thoughtful and ethical approach to their application.