MSc Advanced Financial Analysis

Heading for a career in investment management or financial analysis? Our one-year Advanced Financial Analysis MSc will give you the specialist knowledge and skills you need, and help you to acquire the prestigious Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Level II qualification.

About the course

Designed to develop desk-ready industry professionals in the areas of investment management and financial analysis, the programme sets out to give you the level of knowledge required for the CFA Level II examination. The modules we offer are therefore both more academically advanced and more practice-oriented than those you will find on a typical UK Masters programme in finance. 

To take you swiftly to the next stage in your career, the Advanced Financial Analysis MSc involves expert teaching from Lancaster’s Department of Accounting and Finance. Additionally, you will receive intensive  tutoring and support from leading global financial services training provider Fitch Learning for the CFA Level II and, where necessary, Level I examination.

For a list of modules you will study, please take a look at our course content section.

 

Key Facts


12-month course


Starts in October


Designed for recent graduates with quantitative backgrounds aiming to gain CFA Level II.

30-35

Average class size

CFA

Many modules contribute widely to CFA study.


Benefit from specific training by the experienced Fitch learning tutors.

Course Content

 

In your first term from October to December, you will take four modules including the top three below, and a choice of either Regulation and Compliance or Quantitative Methods for Finance. 

If you are accepted onto the course without CFA Level I, you will need to register for the CFA Level I exam in December before the start of the programme. You will study the "Topics in Professional Financial Analysis" module rather than Regulation and Compliance to prepare you for your CFA exam.

Running alongside these modules is a two-part module on Personal Development for Careers in Finance, looking at Communication and Client Management. You will also complete intensive non-assessed training on financial databases.

 

  • Fund Management

    The aim of the course is to provide a thorough understanding of the issues that are relevant to the asset management industry with special emphasis on understanding and measuring investment performance. Our discussions will focus on mutual funds, hedge funds and exchange traded funds with less emphasis given to other fund management vehicles. The course will not cover security analysis.

  • Financial Modelling and Analysis

    This module looks at the core tool set of the buy-side analyst, and emphasises that the key to adding value is in understanding where to find the ‘raw materials’ to include within the calculations, and the impact accounting policy choices have on the outcome. Estimation of intrinsic valuation is obtained by the application of valuation techniques. These techniques will determine the value based on assumptions of future performance and several other judgements. The base of these forecasts will be derived from the current financial position of a company. As what happened in the past is not necessarily what will happen in the future, an integrated financial model will allow research analysts to predict key indicators of performance and value by forecasting key financial drivers. It will further their ability to explore the potential developments of a company in the future. In addition to basic valuation techniques, insights are provided into how to use best practice to construct a good, professional model.

  • Programming and Databases for Financial Applications

    The module aims to equip students with a good background in software packages and programming languages commonly used in the finance industry, such as Excel/VBA and R. In addition, it will provide training in advanced features of Bloomberg to retrieve and manage financial data and create reports.

  • Regulation and Compliance

    The Regulation and Compliance online module is based on the syllabus of the Investment Management Certificate (IMC), a professional qualification administered by the CFA Society of the UK. In particular, it focuses on IMC Unit 1: The Investment Environment, which explores regulatory issues affecting investment professionals in the UK. The online module will prepare students for an assessed mock exam, based on the IMC Unit 1 syllabus. They are strongly encouraged to earn the qualification itself outside of the programme. In conjunction with CFA Level I, the IMC leads to compliance with the UK regulatory requirements for advising private clients.

  • Quantitative Methods for Finance

    To enable students to understand key concepts and methods from applied statistics that are used in several more advanced modules in accounting and finance.

  • Topics in Professional Financial Analysis

    This module aims to prepare students to take the CFA Level I examination.

  • Personal Development for Careers in Finance

    This module consists of three parts: communication, client management as well as leadership and development. It addresses concerns of the insufficient set of "soft skills", which is raised on various occasions by employers. Students will receive training and guidance on how to present themselves to employers, how to build rapport and make a lasting impression of themselves; receive training and guidance on how to interact with many different types of personalities and to achieve a positive outcome whilst remaining compliant and providing excellent client service; receive training and guidance on how to build awareness of their brand, to develop an understanding of others, to apply the correct level of assertiveness and to adapt their communication style to varying situations.

During your second term from January to March, you will take the below modules.

  • Advanced Financial Markets and Investment Management

    The financial markets and the world of investment management has undergone significant change since the global financial crisis. Investment managers need to keep abreast of these developments and take advantage of such changes. This module introduces the key changes in market condition, including high frequency trading, dark pools and the move to bring off exchange instruments such as credit derivatives, on exchange. Within the world of investment management we look at developments in liability-driven investment, alternative investments and new approaches to diversification.

    The key objectives are to

    • Endow students with an understanding of today’s financial markets, trading processes and decision making (also on a high-frequency level)

    • Endow students with the concepts and ideas of advanced portfolio analysis

    • Endow students with an understanding of the subtleties of investment decisions and dealing with clients

    • Endow students with the relevant quantitative skills in this area for further advanced studies

  • Advanced Financial Reporting and Analysis

    The module aims to address advanced financial reporting issues from both conceptual and technical angles within the context of International Financial Reporting Standards and US GAAP. It assesses the impact of accounting theory in resolving major reporting issues and examines the importance of relevant academic research to the area. Additionally, it examines the importance of financial reporting for business analysis.

  • Advanced Investment Risk Management

    The failure of numerous financial institutions and the spectacular losses in the financial markets in recent years have had a profound and extremely significant impact on the thinking and innovations in risk management. In addition, the proliferation of new derivatives products has raised concerns, both in the management of financial institutions and in the regulatory authorities assessing and monitoring the risks.

    The lessons learnt from the fallout of the global financial crisis provides a contextual reminder for the urgent need to understand and evaluate the potential of the tools employed to monitor the inherent risks involved. This intensive course provides that understanding. It outlines, illustrates and demonstrates how to generate the types of measures that align with current regulatory recommendations.

    The module focuses on contemporary risk management procedures and processes within investment management. It begins with a review of the risk management process and then drills down into those key areas practitioners must understand. Investment, operational and execution risks are then reviewed. We will also review different type of risks (e.g., market risk, interest rate risk, operational risk, credit risk, liquidity risk, sovereign risk, and insolvency risk), discuss risk attribution, introduce the concept of Value at Risk, and discuss the role of stress tests.

    The module will use contemporary case studies to illustrate the topic and shed light on the key management issues.

  • Advanced Investment Research Methods

    The purpose of this module is to give students a very solid grounding in the quantitative empirical research skills that are necessary in producing high quality research, both in the academic as well as in the applied context, in the areas of empirical asset pricing and portfolio allocation.

The final module, Advanced Topics in Fund Management and Investment Analysis, includes both intensive training by Fitch Learning to prepare you for the CFA Level II exam in June, and a Capstone project that forms the basis of your Masters dissertation. This project enables you to look in depth at an area of investment management practice of your own choosing. The dissertation is linked to CFA Level II and you will have supervision from Lancaster faculty. Dissertations are submitted in September, and graduation takes place at Lancaster in early December. 

If you do not pass the CFA Level I exam in December, you will not study for CFA Level II and will take an alternative dissertation module instead of Advanced Topics in Fund Management and Investment Analysis.

  • Advanced Topics in Fund Management and Investment Analysis

    The first part of the module (CFA Level II training) aims to prepare students to take the CFA Level II examination.

    The second part of the module (capstone project) is aimed at providing the knowledge and skills necessary to conduct empirical investigation of key current financial issues. The main aims are to:

    • allow students to demonstrate critical thinking and analytical skills;
    • develop in students the ability to write an extended report based on empirical analysis;
    • prepare students for a career in particular specialist roles;
    • provide a sound basis for future professional development and/or qualifications;
    • relate cutting-edge research to recent and prospective developments in practice;
    • give students the ability to address applied financial problems using quantitative methods of analysis;
    • the ability to present written work, and to proceed to doctoral research.

  • Term 1

    In your first term from October to December, you will take four modules including the top three below, and a choice of either Regulation and Compliance or Quantitative Methods for Finance. 

    If you are accepted onto the course without CFA Level I, you will need to register for the CFA Level I exam in December before the start of the programme. You will study the "Topics in Professional Financial Analysis" module rather than Regulation and Compliance to prepare you for your CFA exam.

    Running alongside these modules is a two-part module on Personal Development for Careers in Finance, looking at Communication and Client Management. You will also complete intensive non-assessed training on financial databases.

     

    • Fund Management

      The aim of the course is to provide a thorough understanding of the issues that are relevant to the asset management industry with special emphasis on understanding and measuring investment performance. Our discussions will focus on mutual funds, hedge funds and exchange traded funds with less emphasis given to other fund management vehicles. The course will not cover security analysis.

    • Financial Modelling and Analysis

      This module looks at the core tool set of the buy-side analyst, and emphasises that the key to adding value is in understanding where to find the ‘raw materials’ to include within the calculations, and the impact accounting policy choices have on the outcome. Estimation of intrinsic valuation is obtained by the application of valuation techniques. These techniques will determine the value based on assumptions of future performance and several other judgements. The base of these forecasts will be derived from the current financial position of a company. As what happened in the past is not necessarily what will happen in the future, an integrated financial model will allow research analysts to predict key indicators of performance and value by forecasting key financial drivers. It will further their ability to explore the potential developments of a company in the future. In addition to basic valuation techniques, insights are provided into how to use best practice to construct a good, professional model.

    • Programming and Databases for Financial Applications

      The module aims to equip students with a good background in software packages and programming languages commonly used in the finance industry, such as Excel/VBA and R. In addition, it will provide training in advanced features of Bloomberg to retrieve and manage financial data and create reports.

    • Regulation and Compliance

      The Regulation and Compliance online module is based on the syllabus of the Investment Management Certificate (IMC), a professional qualification administered by the CFA Society of the UK. In particular, it focuses on IMC Unit 1: The Investment Environment, which explores regulatory issues affecting investment professionals in the UK. The online module will prepare students for an assessed mock exam, based on the IMC Unit 1 syllabus. They are strongly encouraged to earn the qualification itself outside of the programme. In conjunction with CFA Level I, the IMC leads to compliance with the UK regulatory requirements for advising private clients.

    • Quantitative Methods for Finance

      To enable students to understand key concepts and methods from applied statistics that are used in several more advanced modules in accounting and finance.

    • Topics in Professional Financial Analysis

      This module aims to prepare students to take the CFA Level I examination.

    • Personal Development for Careers in Finance

      This module consists of three parts: communication, client management as well as leadership and development. It addresses concerns of the insufficient set of "soft skills", which is raised on various occasions by employers. Students will receive training and guidance on how to present themselves to employers, how to build rapport and make a lasting impression of themselves; receive training and guidance on how to interact with many different types of personalities and to achieve a positive outcome whilst remaining compliant and providing excellent client service; receive training and guidance on how to build awareness of their brand, to develop an understanding of others, to apply the correct level of assertiveness and to adapt their communication style to varying situations.

  • Term 2

    During your second term from January to March, you will take the below modules.

    • Advanced Financial Markets and Investment Management

      The financial markets and the world of investment management has undergone significant change since the global financial crisis. Investment managers need to keep abreast of these developments and take advantage of such changes. This module introduces the key changes in market condition, including high frequency trading, dark pools and the move to bring off exchange instruments such as credit derivatives, on exchange. Within the world of investment management we look at developments in liability-driven investment, alternative investments and new approaches to diversification.

      The key objectives are to

      • Endow students with an understanding of today’s financial markets, trading processes and decision making (also on a high-frequency level)

      • Endow students with the concepts and ideas of advanced portfolio analysis

      • Endow students with an understanding of the subtleties of investment decisions and dealing with clients

      • Endow students with the relevant quantitative skills in this area for further advanced studies

    • Advanced Financial Reporting and Analysis

      The module aims to address advanced financial reporting issues from both conceptual and technical angles within the context of International Financial Reporting Standards and US GAAP. It assesses the impact of accounting theory in resolving major reporting issues and examines the importance of relevant academic research to the area. Additionally, it examines the importance of financial reporting for business analysis.

    • Advanced Investment Risk Management

      The failure of numerous financial institutions and the spectacular losses in the financial markets in recent years have had a profound and extremely significant impact on the thinking and innovations in risk management. In addition, the proliferation of new derivatives products has raised concerns, both in the management of financial institutions and in the regulatory authorities assessing and monitoring the risks.

      The lessons learnt from the fallout of the global financial crisis provides a contextual reminder for the urgent need to understand and evaluate the potential of the tools employed to monitor the inherent risks involved. This intensive course provides that understanding. It outlines, illustrates and demonstrates how to generate the types of measures that align with current regulatory recommendations.

      The module focuses on contemporary risk management procedures and processes within investment management. It begins with a review of the risk management process and then drills down into those key areas practitioners must understand. Investment, operational and execution risks are then reviewed. We will also review different type of risks (e.g., market risk, interest rate risk, operational risk, credit risk, liquidity risk, sovereign risk, and insolvency risk), discuss risk attribution, introduce the concept of Value at Risk, and discuss the role of stress tests.

      The module will use contemporary case studies to illustrate the topic and shed light on the key management issues.

    • Advanced Investment Research Methods

      The purpose of this module is to give students a very solid grounding in the quantitative empirical research skills that are necessary in producing high quality research, both in the academic as well as in the applied context, in the areas of empirical asset pricing and portfolio allocation.

  • Term 3

    The final module, Advanced Topics in Fund Management and Investment Analysis, includes both intensive training by Fitch Learning to prepare you for the CFA Level II exam in June, and a Capstone project that forms the basis of your Masters dissertation. This project enables you to look in depth at an area of investment management practice of your own choosing. The dissertation is linked to CFA Level II and you will have supervision from Lancaster faculty. Dissertations are submitted in September, and graduation takes place at Lancaster in early December. 

    If you do not pass the CFA Level I exam in December, you will not study for CFA Level II and will take an alternative dissertation module instead of Advanced Topics in Fund Management and Investment Analysis.

    • Advanced Topics in Fund Management and Investment Analysis

      The first part of the module (CFA Level II training) aims to prepare students to take the CFA Level II examination.

      The second part of the module (capstone project) is aimed at providing the knowledge and skills necessary to conduct empirical investigation of key current financial issues. The main aims are to:

      • allow students to demonstrate critical thinking and analytical skills;
      • develop in students the ability to write an extended report based on empirical analysis;
      • prepare students for a career in particular specialist roles;
      • provide a sound basis for future professional development and/or qualifications;
      • relate cutting-edge research to recent and prospective developments in practice;
      • give students the ability to address applied financial problems using quantitative methods of analysis;
      • the ability to present written work, and to proceed to doctoral research.

Assessment Methods

Many modules use a mix of coursework, projects and formal exams, so that you can demonstrate your abilities in various ways. You will be given specific training by the experienced Fitch learning tutors to prepare you for the CFA examinations and the online learning portal gives you access to a bank of practice questions and other learning resources too.

Scholarships

Our programme-specific scholarship for 2018 entry include the Academic Excellence, UK-EU and International scholarships aimed at high-achieving students with a strong academic or personal profile. We'll automatically consider you for these scholarships when you apply and if you are shortlisted we'll be in touch with the next steps, so it's best to apply as soon as possible. We also offer LUMS Alumni scholarships - visit our Apply For Masters page to find out more.

Apply for Masters

Careers

For many students, the desire to boost their career prospects and move more quickly into senior roles is a key reason for acquiring a Masters degree. That's why we integrate careers support into our MSc programmes, and offer a range of facilities to help you in your career development and job search process.

Like all of the School’s Masters students, you will have access to guidance and support from the LUMS careers team. But to give you extra industry-specific job-hunting skills, we have partnered up with a financial markets specialist who has worked for several leading investment banks and also financial technology institutions. As a financial careers coach still working in the financial markets, his role is to make you aware of many different opportunities that exist within the sector, giving you a clear picture of the particular skills required – and, crucially, an insider view on what employers will be looking for.

To help you differentiate yourself in a fiercely competitive market, he provides guidance on writing CVs and cover letters for the financial market, interview skills, and performing well at assessment centres.

 

Employer Events

You will also be able to take part in the many workshops and other employer events provided throughout the year by the careers team at LUMS. Many of the workshops are run by major companies, allowing you to find out what companies look for when recruiting at this level, and to improve skills which employers regard as essential in good candidates.  

Where do our graduates go?

Our MSc graduates go on to work for many different kinds of organisations, in roles such as financial analysts, investment managers, regulators and policymakers, treasury managers, or consultants, etc. Some have used their finance expertise to set up their own companies, and other have gone on to accounting- or finance-related academic careers. 

Companies have recruited our Masters graduates in recent years include: Arthur D. Little, Bacon & Woodrow, Bank of Cyprus, Bank of New York, Bank of Thailand, BankOne, Barclays Capital, China Asset Management, Citibank, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Deloitte, Deutsche Bank, EY, Goldman Sachs, Grant Thornton, HSBC, KPMG, Lazard, Lloyds TSB, Mazars, Nestlé, N M Rothschild, Norwich Union, PwC, Piraeus Bank, State Street Global Advisors, Standard Chartered Bank and Towers Perrin.

Graduates

Student Profiles