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Introduction to Finance & Current Trends

This is a short modular introduction to key topics and current themes in finance. It provides an overview of the financial system and various asset classes; provides a guide to financial statements and the valuation of firms; explains the principle of arbitrage and asset pricing; discusses the role of financial intermediation in the economy and sources of fragility; examines systemic financial crises in a historical context and assesses the policy responses.

Who should attend? The course is ideal for economists and analysts working in the public and private sector who need a brief introduction to financial markets.

What is the format? The training will be delivered as a sequence of five self-contained half-day modules. Each module is interactive combining formal presentations (to introduce key ideas and principles) with group-work exercises and discussions (to clarify and reinforce understanding).

While it is possible to select individual modules, we encourage participants to consider the entire programme to fully understand the linkages in financial markets.

The course will next be run in late April 2018 (to be confirmed).


We have been running versions of this course for the Treasury and GES since 2008. Some feedback from participants at previous training courses:

  • "Excellent: clear, well-informed, engaging style"
  • "Really clear presentation of the ideas without too much algebra…. I enjoyed it very much!"
  • "Excellent – very clear and enthusiastic, also very knowledgeable"
  • "Excellent course and teaching style. Easy to understand for a non-expert."
  • "Pace and pitch were ideal – good refresher course of degree level finance."
  • "The teacher was very accessible and knowledgeable. The question and answer sessions in between really helped to understand the material."
  • "Great course, great tutors!"

The Trainers:

Prof Sandeep Kapur is responsible for the academic design of this training programme. He is currently a professor of economics at the University of London, and has previously taught at Cambridge and at Wharton among other places. His current research interests lie in design of regulation, especially financial regulation. Over the last two decades he has directed Birkbeck executive education programme and in that capacity provided training in economics for various Whitehall departments.

Prof Stephen Wright is a professor of economics at Birkbeck, University of London. He has taught extensively on our training programmes in economics and, at Birkbeck, he directs Birkbeck’s highly-reputed conversion programmes in economics and finance. Before moving to Birkbeck, he worked for the Bank of England and University of Cambridge.  His book, Valuing Wall Street (2000, with Smithers) was a widely-cited critique of the 1990s bull market.

Dr Arup Daripa is a lecturer in financial economics at Birkbeck, University of London. At Birkbeck, he is the Programme Director for our MSc programmes in Economics & Financial Economics. He has a PhD from Princeton and his current research interests span financial crises, banking and non-bank credit institutions.

Dr Ken Hori is a lecturer in economics at Birkbeck, University of London. He started his career in the early 1990s as a financial engineer for the Industrial Bank of Japan, but then returned to academia to complete a PhD. His current research interests are in the area of incentives in financial regulations, especially the design of CoCos and other bail-in arrangements.