MSc Quantitative Finance / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Portfolio Investment

Course unit fact file
Unit code BMAN71171
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? No


This course covers:

  • Portfolio Theory
  • Portfolio Risk and Return Analysis
  • Diversification strategies
  • Equity valuation
  • Macro / Industry Analysis
  • Strategic and Tactical Asset Allocation
  • Portfolio optimization techniques
  • Passive Investment Strategies
  • Active Investment Strategies
  • VaR Analysis
  • Alternative Performance and Risk Measures, Tracking Error
  • Investment Style Analysis
  • Alternative asset classes
  • Social Responsibility: Environmental, Social and Governance investing
  • Ethics and Professional Standards in investment management.


BMAN71171 Programme Req: BMAN71171 is only available as a core unit to students on MSc Finance, and as an elective to students on MSc Accounting & Finance and MSc Quantitative Finance


This course unit provides an advanced coverage of the principles of investment analysis, and covers a wide- ranging set of topics in portfolio management. It aims to bring contemporary practices in the finance industry to the classroom, together with academic theory and research, and supplement them with recent practitioner developments in this area.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this unit successful students will have achieved the following learning outcomes:

  • Be able to formulate and apply the investment decision process, selecting assets matching investment objectives, and achieving portfolio diversification and risk-return optimization.
  • Be able to understand, apply and evaluate how factor models are used in portfolio selection and management, and how securities are selected based on intrinsic valuation, sector analysis, and market timing.
  • Be able to apply their understanding of issues related to investing globally and in emerging markets, in particular, with regard to the issues of diversification and alternative asset classes.
  • Be able to apply and evaluate the impact of Social Responsibility on Investment Management, with particular regard to Environmental, Social and Governance investing.
  • Be able to understand, apply and evaluate the key attributes of an equity portfolio, including: Tracking Error, Passive Strategies, Active Investing, and Active vs Passive Management.
  • Gain hands-on experience of portfolio risk analysis tools, and use them to create and evaluate equity portfolios throughout the course.
  • Be able to understand and apply ethical framework within which investment professionals must operate and the duty of care owed to their clients.

Assessment methods

Group project on portfolio management and evaluation: 40%

Written Examination: 60%

Feedback methods

Informal advice and discussion during the workshops or drop-in Group Project Sessions.

Responses to student emails and questions from a member of staff including feedback provided to a group via an online discussion forum.

Written and/or verbal comments on assessed or non-assessed coursework.

Generic feedback posted on Blackboard regarding overall examination performance.

Recommended reading

Some texts that you may need to consult (and for which directed reading will be suggested in classes) are listed on the library catalogue and are also stated on this course unit outline:

Main Textbooks:

Frank K. Reilly, Keith C. Brown (2015), Analysis of investments & management of portfolios, South-Western Cengage Learning, ISBN 1473704790 (pbk.);

12 copies of the 2015 version are on order for the library, and there will be 2 copies of the electronic version available on the Library website, accessible with University username and password. There are also numerous copies of the 9th edition of the same title, and the 6th edition (entitled Investment Analysis and Portfolio Management) available in the Precinct library. References in lectures are quoted for the 2015 edition, the 9th edition and the 6th edition.

Maginn J.L, Tuttle D.L, Pinto J.E, McLeavey D.W, (2007), Managing Investment Portfolios, 3rd Edition, Wiley Publishing. ISBN: 978-0-470-08014-6

Hard copies are available in the Precinct Library, and an electronic version is available on the Library website, accessible with University username and password.

Supplementary Textbooks:

Bodie Z., A. Kane , A. Marcus (2014), Investments and Portfolio Management, 10th edition, McGraw Hill, (BKM), ISBN-13: 9780077161149 ; Copies available in the Main Library high demand section and the Precinct Library.

Elton, J.E., (2011) Modern Portfolio Theory and Investment Analysis, 8th Edition, Wiley, (EGBG), ISBN-13:9780470505847;

Focardi, S., and Fabozzi, F.J. (2004) The Mathematics of Financial Modelling and Investment Management, Wiley, (FF); Hard copies are available in the Precinct Library, and an electronic version is available on the Library website, accessible with University username and password.

Various resources related to portfolio risk analysis systems will be posted on Blackboard.

The CFA Standards of Practice Handbook - there is a pdf version of the handbook on the following internet page: Summary:, full document at

Detailed reading suggestions will be given during the course. A wide variety of supplementary academic papers, research notes and spreadsheet models will be available through the course Blackboard.

The lectures will be recorded: the lecture audio feed is recorded live, and the video feed consists of the information projected on the screen. These recordings are available to download as podcasts shortly after the lecture, via a link from the course Blackboard, or via Additionally, most Visualiser slides drawn during the course of the lectures are subsequently scanned and posted to Blackboard.

Please note that there will be NO paper handouts. The course is intended to be paper-free and you must access all lecture and tutorial materials from Blackboard.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Assessment written exam 2
Lectures 33
Practical classes & workshops 8
Independent study hours
Independent study 111

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Yafei Zhang Unit coordinator

Additional notes

Informal Contact Methods

Office Hours

Online Learning Activities (blogs, discussions, self-assessment questions)

Additional Revision Sessions

Use of Blackboard Discussion Forum


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