FINA512-18A (HAM)

Investments and Portfolios

30 Points

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Waikato Management School
Te Raupapa
School of Accounting, Finance and Economics


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Paper Description

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This paper deals with current issues and research in the area of investments and portfolio management. The material covers core areas such as asset pricing theories, predictability in asset returns, and fund management. A special feature is the presentation of academic papers and a preparation of a research proposal in a relevant area.
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Paper Structure

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This paper will be taught through student-led seminars.
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Learning Outcomes

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Students who successfully complete the course should be able to:

  • 1. Lead or participate in a discussion on two papers in investments and portfolio management.
    Linked to the following assessments:
  • 2. Discuss current issues and controversies in the broad area of investments and portfolio management.
    Linked to the following assessments:
  • 3. Evaluate and critique research papers on asset pricing theories.
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  • 4. Evaluate and critique research papers on return predictability and fund management.
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  • 5. Demonstrate an ability to initiate research in the broad area of investments and portfolio management.
    Linked to the following assessments:
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Present to the class a detailed description (and analysis) of selected papers from the reading list published in highly recognized academic journals. You are expected to prepare presentation slides and to make a one-hour presentation as scheduled in the first week. Guidelines will be provided.

This activity is designed to help you gain an in-depth knowledge of a specific area in investments and portfolios which could be used to delve deeper into your topic for your research proposal. This part will be assessed based on your understanding of the assigned paper, the design of the presentation slides and your presentation skills. You are required to send the presentation slides to the lecturer via email before the class.

This assessment related to Learning Outcomes 1 to 4.


Write a summary for the papers not presented by yourself in the reading list and submit it to the lecturer in hard copy before each class. This activity is designed for you to gain the ability to summarize complex work in your own words, to determine the important points, as well as critically analyse the paper. The grade for this activity is based on the number of completions. Summaries will NOT be counted as completed if you are not in the class for the entire class session to discuss the assigned papers.

A summary should be no longer than 500 words. Since it is short, each of the items included will necessarily be brief. It should be written in your own words and if applicable should include:

  • The motivation for the paper.
  • How the paper fits into the overall context of relevant literature.
  • The data and methodology used by the paper.
  • The meaning of the results in your own words.
  • Contribution of the paper to the literature.

Note: Plagiarism is considered serious and might impact your marks.

This assessment relates to Learning Outcomes 2, 3, and 4.


Of the above summaries you submitted, THREE of these will be chosen at random and graded.

This assessment relates to Learning Outcomes 2, 3, and 4.


You are encouraged to attend every seminar presentation. During and after each presentation, you are also welcome to actively ask questions to the speaker and make comments on other student presentations. A student are expected to contribute questions and comments actively in TEN other seminar presentations in addition to your own.

This activity is graded based on the number of completions.

This activity is designed to broaden your knowledge of the literature and to learn presentation skills by observing others.

This assessment relates to Learning Outcomes 1 to 4.


The class will be divided into a few groups depending on the number of students enrolled, in the first week. Each group is required to prepare for a research proposal with up to five pages and an additional reference list. The proposal should include the following items:

1. Literature and backgrounds that motivate your research. This should reference what others in the literature have said on your selected topic. A brief review of what they said and how it motivate your research should be discussed.

2. Develop models and some hypothesis. What is your research specifically intending to show or test. Remember this is expanded later as initial results are known. You are encouraged to present your theories and/or ideas using formulas when necessary. This could recall what others have said so that you can show how the theories were tested.

3. Empirical evidence. Show some initial evidence based on empirical analysis. To complete this part, you are likely to collect relevant data from reliable sources.

4. The potential contribution. The research should be able to contribute something which has not previously been said (something new) in the literature. This could mean any of the following:

a. confirming an existing theory by testing it further empirically on a unique data set with unique characteristics, or

b. refuting an existing hypothesis of someone else by showing how your empirical results contribute to doubt, or

c. developing a new theoretical idea to a different level. This is often (but not always) accompanied by ideas as to how this idea can be tested.

5. Each group is expected to do a brief presentation to the class in the end of the semester.

This assessment relates to Learning Outcome 1 to 5.

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Assessment Components

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The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0. There is no final exam. The final exam makes up 0% of the overall mark.

The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0 or 0:0, whichever is more favourable for the student. The final exam makes up either 0% or 0% of the overall mark.

Component DescriptionDue Date TimePercentage of overall markSubmission MethodCompulsory
1. Seminar Presentations
  • In Class: In Lecture
2. Summaries
  • Hand-in: In Lecture
3. Graded Summaries
4. Comments and Questions
5. Research Proposal
4 Jun 2018
5:00 PM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
Assessment Total:     100    
Failing to complete a compulsory assessment component of a paper will result in an IC grade
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Required and Recommended Readings

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Required Readings

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Introduction to Investment and Portfolio Research

Campbell, John Y. (2014). “Empirical Asset Pricing: Eugene Fama, Lars Peter Hansen, and Robert Shiller.” Working Paper, Department of Economics, Harvard University.

McLean, R. David, and Jeffrey Pontiff. (2016). "Does academic research destroy stock return predictability?" The Journal of Finance 71.1 5-32.

Chen, H., Jegadeesh, N., & Wermers, R. (2000). The Value of Active Mutual Fund Management: An Examination of the Stockholdings and Trades of Fund Managers. Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis,35(3), 343-368.

Asset Pricing Theories

Predictability in Asset Returns

Fund Management

Other Topics

Note: The full reading list of papers can be accessed via the library.

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Online Support

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The course has approximately 44 contact hours. The rest of the 300-hour expected workload in this 30-point paper can be distributed as follows (actual distribution depends on individual preference): 125 hours for course readings and preparation of summaries; 50 hours for seminar preparation; 26 hours to prepare comments and questions for other students' seminars; 55 hours for the research proposal.

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Linkages to Other Papers

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Note any linkages to other papers where the linkage is of importance.
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Prerequisite papers: FINA312 or equivalent




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