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
The investment management and financial analysis sectors require industry professionals with advanced technical knowledge, plus practical experience with databases and programming languages. This one-year MSc is designed to equip you with these skills, as well as helping you acquire your Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Level II professional qualification.
You will be part of a select cohort of students with strong finance backgrounds. This means you are able to study more technical and practice-oriented modules than those offered by many other UK Masters programmes in finance. Our Accounting and Finance specialists also combine with expert tutors from leading global financial services training provider Fitch Learning to prepare you to complete CFA Level II.
For a list of modules you will study, please take a look at our course content section.
Many modules contribute widely to CFA study, and you will benefit from specific training from Fitch tutors.
Designed for recent graduates with quantitative backgrounds aiming to gain CFA Level II.
In your first term from October to December, you will take four modules. 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.
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. Participants are advised to use Windows 10 laptops for this course. Apple Macs are not supported in this class.
There are many other online resources which introduce VBA programming
Advanced Modelling in Finance using Excel an VBA (Wiley, authors, Mary Jackson & Mike Staunton)
Modelling Financial Market with Excel and VBA (Ben Van Vliet)
R in Action – Robert Kabacoff, Manning Publishing
There are many online resources for SQL
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Our programme-specific scholarships for 2020 entry are 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