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UK Financial Institutions and Markets


  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 4
  • Convenor: George Alexandrou
  • Assessment: coursework (20%) and a three-hour-15-minute examination (80%)

Module description

The aim of this course is to provide a general introduction to financial institutions and markets. The UK financial system is used as an illustration in the discussion of the institutional structure of a financial system, but major aspects of other markets and economies are also covered. The coverage of all aspects of every developed market economy is not exhaustive but major commonalities and differences are discussed.

The course deals with basic economic principles; the role of savings and investments in the economy; the function of banks and other financial intermediaries in lending and borrowing; types of traded securities and different types of banks and banking activities. Finally, we examine the role of the central bank and government and the legal and regulatory framework.

Indicative module syllabus

  • The value of the financial system
  • Monetary policy - central banking
  • Retail and corporate banking
  • Security Markets and security trading
  • Equities and equity markets
  • Bonds and bond markets
  • Insurance, pensions and collective investments
  • Money markets
  • Foreign Exchange Market
  • The regulation of the financial markets

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you should have a broad understanding of:

  • the UK financial system and its role in mobilising saving and investment
  • the differing requirements of the principal types of end user of the financial system in the personal, corporate and public sectors
  • the roles of the principal types of financial institutions in the retail, wholesale and international banking, building society and finance house sectors
  • the principal investment institutions: general insurance and life assurance organisations, pension funds, unit trusts, investment trusts and open-ended investment companies
  • the structure and operation of the principal UK financial markets: equity, bond, money, foreign exchange markets
  • the relationship between the UK and European financial markets
  • the major issues involved in the regulation of financial markets and the role of the state and the central bank.

Recommended reading

  • Pilbeam, K., Finance and Financial Markets (Palgrave, 2005).