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Masters (MSc) in Finance

Learn the finance essentials; from derivatives and investments, to mergers and acquisitions and global markets.

This master's in finance enables you to work with our award-winning finance experts to build in-demand quantitative skills. You will gain the essential information needed to pursue a range of exciting finance careers at an international level.

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This course is ranked 7th in the UK and 22nd globally (QS Business Masters Rankings 2019)

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The MSc Finance course has both CFA Institute Affiliate status and Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) status which positions you to progress to a research degree. It is also linked to The Manchester Accounting and Finance Group – one of the leading accounting and finance units in Europe.

Find out more about studying Accounting and Finance at Alliance MBS >>

Read about other business Master's degree courses at Alliance MBS >>

MSc Finance / Course details

Year of entry: 2019

Course unit details:
Portfolio Investment

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
Offered by Alliance Manchester Business School
Available as a free choice unit? No


This course covers

Portfolio Theory

Portfolio Risk Analysis 

The problem of effective diversification

Equity valuation & Macro / Industry Analysis

Strategic and Tactical Asset Allocation

Portfolio optimization techniques, including Markowitz, Treynor-Black and Black-Litterman

Passive and Active Investment Strategies

VaR Analysis

Alternative Performance Measures, Risk Measures and Tracking Error 

Investment Style Analysis

Alternative asset classes

Behavioural Topics in Portfolio Investment and Professional Standards

Social Responsibility: Environmental, Social and Governance investing

Ethics and Professional Standards in investment management.



BMAN71171 Programme Req: BMAN71171 is only available as an elective to students on MSc A&F, MSc Finance and MSc QF


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 be able to evaluate the key foundations of 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, alternative asset classes, and behavioural finance.
  • 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 - 3000 words (40%) 

Written Examination - 2 hours (60%)

Feedback methods

Informal advice and discussion during the lecture, seminars, workshop 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 27
Practical classes & workshops 3
Independent study hours
Independent study 118

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Christopher Godfrey 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


Return to course details

Lala Jafarli, Azerbaijan, MSc Finance student

"Alliance MBS provides the opportunity to meet experts from your field of interest. You feel secure around the friendly environment and consistently feel the support of everybody. This year I lived everything to a maximum level; having fun with international friends and studying really hard. In a word, I would say that it was amazing!"

Lala Jafarli, Azerbaijan

MSc Finance, Class of 2015


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