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Financial markets and the financing of organisations

This module provides a grounding in the core areas of finance. You'll learn how to quantify risk and rewards associated with investments, as well as operationalise investment appraisal and construct portfolios of assets. An overview of different asset classes such as stocks, bonds, currencies, and derivative instruments will be provided. You'll also explore different sources of funding available to organisations and consider the factors that determine the cost of funds. Finally, you'll examine financial statements and utilise them to measure the financial performance and assess the structure of organisations.

Vocational relevance

This module will be of particular interest to you if you're working, or planning to work, in the finance division of a company or public sector/not-for-profit organisation. The knowledge acquired may be also useful to individuals who wish to work in the banking sector, mutual funds, or pension funds. The topics covered will help you in making investment decisions, should you wish to invest your own or other’s people money. Finally, if you work outside of the finance industry, but wish to expand your knowledge and skills, may also benefit by increasing your future opportunities.

Qualifications

B815 is a compulsory module in our:

Excluded combinations

Sometimes you will not be able to count a module towards a qualification if you have already taken another module with similar content. To check any excluded combinations relating to this module, visit our excluded combination finder or check with an adviser before registering.

Module

Module code
B815
Credits

Credits

  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
30
Study level
Across the UK, there are two parallel frameworks for higher education qualifications, the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Northern Ireland and Wales (FHEQ) and the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF). These define a hierarchy of levels and describe the achievement expected at each level. The information provided shows how OU postgraduate modules correspond to these frameworks.
OU Postgraduate
SCQF 11
FHEQ 7
Study method
Distance learning
Find out more in Why the OU?
Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements

Find out more about entry requirements.

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What you will study

This module will equip you with the necessary theoretical, applied, and critical skills to navigate financial markets, understand financial instruments, take responsible investment decisions, and understand the methods through which companies can raise finance.

The first part of the module (Units 1 and 2) explores the concept of time value of money, which is critical to astute financial decision making. Building on this knowledge, investment appraisal tools are introduced and applied. Important dimensions of risk and return will be considered, and the trade-off between them will be analysed within the theoretical frameworks of portfolio theory and the Capital Asset Pricing Model. The relevance of the weighted average cost of capital (WACC), in the context of project appraisal and discounting cash flows, will be emphasised.

The second part (Unit 3) provides an overview of the financial markets and instruments with the focus on stocks, bonds, and foreign currencies. More complex financial tools, such as derivatives, will also be considered including financial options, as well as forward and futures contracts. Underlying the technical description of those financial assets is a reflection on what drives their price formation process. Do prices accurately reflect the fundamental information that is available, or do they instead reflect the behavioural tendencies of traders?

The third part (Units 4 and 5) elucidates the processes through which companies can mobilise the funds required to finance their operations and investments. Equity capital could be raised in a multitude of ways. Traditional approaches typically involved offering of shares on the stock exchange or securing funds from venture capitalists or business angels. More recently, novel methods have emerged including crowdfunding, initial coin offering or fintech. In terms of raising debt finance, you'll analyse the possibilities afforded by bank loans, bonds, money markets, as well as leasing.

In the final unit of the module (Unit 6), you'll acquire skills to understand the financial and other qualitative information provided in the Annual Reports of companies, which are a major source of information for investment analysts, investors, and other stakeholders in an organisation. You'll use financial analysis tools to investigate, interpret, and manage organisational activities and processes. These represent essential skills to be able to assess the financial structure and performance of organisations.

You will learn

By completing this module, you will be able to:

  • quantify rewards and risks of investments
  • appraise investment projects
  • understand how assets interact in an investment portfolio
  • apply various methods to estimate the cost of equity, cost of debt and the weighted average cost of capital
  • describe and analyse different asset classes including bonds, stocks, currencies, and derivative instruments
  • characterise different ways in which organisations could raise debt and equity capital
  • understand and interpret financial statements
  • analyse company performance
  • collate and analyse data relevant to investment decision-making
  • use Excel to solve problems related to investing and financial analysis.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

Your tutor will help you with the study material, mark and comment on your assignments and provide advice and guidance. You'll be able to contact your tutor by email, telephone or via your tutor group forum on the module website.

Contact us if you want to know more about studying with The Open University before you register.

Assessment

The assessment details can be found in the facts box above.

You must use the online eTMA system to submit your TMAs and exam paper.

Course work includes

2 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
Examination
No residential school

Future availability

Financial markets and the financing of organisations starts once a year, in November. This page describes the module that will start in November 2022. We expect it to start for the last time in November 2029.

Regulations

As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the academic regulations which are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website.

    Entry requirements

    All entrants to must hold a BA/BSc degree awarded by a recognised university, or equivalent.

    Various higher education and professional qualifications are considered equivalent to a degree. If you hold a qualification that you believe is an equivalent level to a UK degree you should contact us. The Open University Business School Masters Programme Committee is responsible for judging whether applicants' qualifications meet the requirements for admission.

    It is strongly recommended that you are comfortable with the use of numerical methods and use of spreadsheets. If you're unsure about these skills, we suggest you familiarise yourself with illustrative numerical skills and methods prior to study.

    You will also need an appropriate ability in English language, sufficient to be able to work effectively at postgraduate level; generally this means capability equivalent to an International English Language Test System (IELTS) score of 6.5. To assess your English language skills in relation to your proposed studies you can visit the IELTS website. If you are unsure whether your skill level in English is adequate you may find it helpful to look at our Skills for OU Study site.

    If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser.

    Register

    Start End Fee Register
    05 Nov 2022 Apr 2023 Not yet available

    Registration closes 13/10/22 (places subject to availability)

    Register
    This module is expected to start for the last time in November 2029.

    Future availability

    Financial markets and the financing of organisations starts once a year, in November. This page describes the module that will start in November 2022. We expect it to start for the last time in November 2029.

    Additional costs

    Study costs

    There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as set books, a computer and internet access.

    Ways to pay for this module

    We know there’s a lot to think about when choosing to study, not least how much it’s going to cost and how you can pay.

    That’s why we keep our fees as low as possible and offer a range of flexible payment and funding options, including a postgraduate loan, if you study this module as part of an eligible qualification. To find out more, see Fees and funding.

    Study materials

    What's included

    You'll be provided with a printed module book and have access to a module website, which includes:

    • a week-by-week study planner
    • course-specific module materials
    • audio and video content
    • assignment details and submission section
    • online tutorial access
    • published articles
    • access to The Open University library.

    Computing requirements

    You'll need a desktop or laptop computer with an up-to-date version of 64-bit Windows 10 (note that Windows 7 is no longer supported) or macOS and broadband internet access.

    To join in spoken conversations in tutorials we recommend a wired headset (headphones/earphones with a built-in microphone).

    Our module websites comply with web standards and any modern browser is suitable for most activities.

    Our OU Study mobile App will operate on all current, supported, versions of Android and iOS. It's not available on Kindle.

    It's also possible to access some module materials on a mobile phone, tablet device or Chromebook, however, as you may be asked to install additional software or use certain applications, you'll also require a desktop or laptop as described above.

    If you have a disability

    Alternatives formats of the study materials will be provided, and you will be able to request printed versions of module materials through Academic Services. Any video or podcast resources will be accompanied with transcripts and closed captions.

    Alternatives will also be prepared if you're unable to engage with the tutor group forums. If you use assistive technology or have a hearing or speech impairment and have concerns about accessing this type of virtual environment you can visit the system provider's website for information and contact The Open University to discuss it further before registering.

    If you have particular study requirements please tell us as soon as possible, as some of our support services may take several weeks to arrange. Visit our Disability support website to find more about what we offer.