Banking and financial services represents a highly competitive and rapidly changing sector in every modern economy. Changes in customer requirements, technology, competitive conditions and regulation create the need for managers, traders and analysts to make rapid and often far-reaching decisions about their short term operations and long term strategies. The MSc and MA in Banking and Finance degree courses at Bangor offer you a unique opportunity to study advanced theory and practice relating to financial services, and to develop an appreciation of the causes and significance of current developments in this vitally important and dynamic sector of the economy.
Issues you will tackle as part of your MSc or MA Banking and Finance degree programme include:
* Why are the banking systems in different countries (such as the UK, Germany, Japan and the US) so diverse?
* What determines the structure, performance and efficiency of banking and financial markets?
* Why do banks and financial intermediaries exist?
* What are the main theories of the banking firm?
* How relevant are financial intermediaries in a world of increasing securitization and with the evolution of virtual banking?
* How do banks optimally allocate capital?
* Does bank regulation increase or decrease risks?
* How do we measure the risks undertaken by banks?
* Can regulators reduce the likelihood of systemic (system-wide) risk?
* What are the relationships between risk and return governing investment in company shares and other derivative instruments?
* Can market risk be priced accurately? Can credit risk be priced accurately?
* How should institutional investors go about constructing a portfolio of assets to maximise returns on behalf of investors?
* How can we assess the investment performance of pension funds, insurance companies and unit trusts?
* How do banks use futures, options, derivatives and swaps to manage their balance sheet and off-balance sheet risks?
* What are the key principles of international portfolio management in a world of fast and unpredictable movements in exchange rates?
* How do banks manage their business so as to maintain customer relationships, improve operational efficiency and add shareholder value?
With these needs in mind, the MSc and MA Banking and Finance programmes at Bangor are designed to develop participants' existing skills through a scheme of specialist advanced study. An important objective is to provide participants with relevant analytical training, so that they are familiar with the latest theoretical and practical developments relating to banking, finance and capital markets. These programmes provide a coherent theoretical framework for the various subject areas, but the emphasis throughout is on advanced practical application of financial techniques in a real-world setting.
The availability of parallel MSc and MA degrees in Banking and Finance allows you to choose between registering for a more technical MSc degree (including a compulsory element in Financial Econometrics), and a less technical MA degree (for which Financial Econometrics is optional). The MSc degree may be more suitable for applicants with some previous background in mathematics, statistics or econometrics, while the MA degree is more suitable for applicants who prefer to adopt a predominantly non-quantitative approach to their studies. However, both degrees include a compulsory module in Research Methods, which includes coverage of both quantitative and non-quantitative research techniques. Provided you are registered for the correct modules for your chosen degree, it is normally possible to transfer between the MSc and MA degrees during the first few weeks following your initial registration.
The MSc and MA degrees in Banking and Finance are scheduled for a duration of 12 months. Each degree programme consists of two parts.
Part 1 is a wholly taught component, contributing 120 credits. Part 1 is taught during the two semesters which make up the academic year. Teaching during semester 1 normally runs from late-September to December, with examinations in January. Teaching during semester 2 normally runs from late-January to early-May, with examinations in May and June.
Part 2 is a supervised dissertation of around 10,000 words, contributing 60 credits. The dissertation provides you with the opportunity to critically review, and possibly (but not necessarily) produce an original contribution to, the literature in any part of the taught syllabus. Part 2 is completed during the summer months, from June to September. You are expected to submit your dissertation by the end of September in the calendar year following your initial registration for your MSc or MA degree programme.
Continuous assessment is an integral part of all of our taught modules. The weightings attaching to coursework and other forms of continuous assessment vary from module to module, from a minimum of 25% to a maximum of 50%.
The MA Banking and Finance is recognised by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) as the first year of a 1+3 PhD training programme.
MA Banking and Finance course structure
* Bank Financial Management
This module provides a grounding in the nature, strategic context and managerial functions of financial management in banks, and other financial services firms.
* International Financial Markets
This module provides an overview of financial instruments in a multi-currency world, taking account of insights from portfolio theory concerning the relationship between risk and return, the diversification of risk, and the pricing of assets.
* International Banking
This module examines the origins of international banking, the activities of international banks, the markets in which they participate, and the sources of risk.
* International Financial Management
In this module, the financial management of multinational companies, and the influence of the macroeconomic, fiscal, currency and political environments on business and financial decision-making are examined in an international and global context.
* Research Methods
This module equips students with knowledge of intermediate and advanced research methods, which they will encounter in other modules and in their dissertation.
Optional modules (choose 3):
* Financial Analysis
This module analyses the techniques that are used to evaluate a company’s financial position and performance.
* Bank Strategy and Performance
This module examines the main theoretical and practical issues concerning banking business.
* Financial Econometrics
This module provides advanced coverage of econometric methods and practices that are used to model financial and business data.
* Corporate Risk Management
This module provides an analysis of pure risk and its management.
Dissertation - approximately 10,000 words