CORPFIN 7019 - Advanced Funds Management (M)

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2023

This course provides an in-depth study of mutual funds, including the theory underpinning their construction techniques, and the asset classes employed in their management. The asset classes examined will primarily be equities and fixed income securities from the developed markets. However, non-core asset classes (e.g., commodities, real estate), equities and fixed income securities from developing markets, and alternative investments will also be examined. Course participants will revisit and enhance their knowledge of the theoretical foundations of asset pricing, market efficiency, and Modern Portfolio Theory (MPT). Students will then be exposed to the managed funds industry, and be required to apply their theoretical knowledge to understand the process of developing, managing, and evaluating these investment vehicles. Students will learn various strategies to evaluate a selection of Australian and US mutual funds, and understand the issues that impact fund performance in the context of achieving investment objectives.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code CORPFIN 7019
    Course Advanced Funds Management (M)
    Coordinating Unit Finance and Banking
    Term Semester 1
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites CORPFIN 7039 and CORPFIN 7040
    Assessment Exam/assignments/test/tutorial work as prescribed at first lecture
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Syed Zamin Ali

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    On successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

    1. Demonstrate understanding of the Modern Portfolio Theory and the Mean-Variance Framework.

    2. Analyse Core Asset classes (Australian Equities and Fixed Income Securities) based on their characteristics and performance over economic and business cycles.

    3. Compare and evaluate Active and Passive investment strategies, and associated issues, benefits and costs.

    4. Evaluate both quantitatively and qualitatively a selection of US Equity and Fixed Income Securities Mutual Funds

    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)

    Attribute 1: Deep discipline knowledge and intellectual breadth

    Graduates have comprehensive knowledge and understanding of their subject area, the ability to engage with different traditions of thought, and the ability to apply their knowledge in practice including in multi-disciplinary or multi-professional contexts.


    Attribute 2: Creative and critical thinking, and problem solving

    Graduates are effective problems-solvers, able to apply critical, creative and evidence-based thinking to conceive innovative responses to future challenges.

    2, 3 and 4

    Attribute 3: Teamwork and communication skills

    Graduates convey ideas and information effectively to a range of audiences for a variety of purposes and contribute in a positive and collaborative manner to achieving common goals.

    3 and 4

    Attribute 4: Professionalism and leadership readiness

    Graduates engage in professional behaviour and have the potential to be entrepreneurial and take leadership roles in their chosen occupations or careers and communities.

    3 and 4

    Attribute 5: Intercultural and ethical competency

    Graduates are responsible and effective global citizens whose personal values and practices are consistent with their roles as responsible members of society.


    Attribute 8: Self-awareness and emotional intelligence

    Graduates are self-aware and reflective; they are flexible and resilient and have the capacity to accept and give constructive feedback; they act with integrity and take responsibility for their actions.

  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources

    The course will use 
    Mutual Funds:Portfolio Structures, Analysis, Management and Stewardship 
    by John A. Haslem as the main textbook for the course. 
    The text is directly accessible through the course readings in MyUni
    Students are not required to buy this textbook as this textbook is available from the library in e format.

    The course will also use sections from:

    Multi-Asset Investing : A Practical Guide to Modern Portfolio Management
    by Yoram Lustig, Published by Harriman House. 
    The text is directly accessible through the course readings in MyUni
    Students are not required to buy this textbook as this textbook is available from the library in e format.

    Risk-Based Approaches to Asset Allocation: Concepts and Practical Applications
    by Maria Debora Braga
    Publisher: SpringerBriefs in Finance
    Date: 2016
    The text is directly accessible through the course readings in MyUni
    Students are not required to buy this textbook as this textbook is available from the library in e format.

    Other reference material will be provided.

    Recommended Resources
    Students are encouraged to stay abreast of global financial issues. The Australian Financial Review and finance commentary on the Morningstar, ABC Australia, Bloomberg and CNBC networks are excellent sources of current financial news and should be referred to on a regular basis. The internet is also abundantly populated with all aspects of this course, and should be used as well.

    Refinitive (previously Thomson Reuters) Eikon database and Morningstar (US version) will be used to access capital market data, including mutual funds' data.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    This course is an applied course where students will use theoretical concepts of the Modern Portfolio Theory (MPT) and apply it in a real world setting. Students will design multi-asset class and multi-market investment portfolio(s) for institutional investors, which will include Australian, and Northern American active and passive mutual funds.

    To achive the level of skill required a flip-classroom teaching style will be employed. Students will watch the pre-recorded lectures on every topic prior to attending the seminar. Seminar time will be dedicated to (i) taking a deep dive into the important aspects of the topic, (ii) demonstartions in Excel and Refinitiv, and (iii) working on workshop questions. The style of how the seminar is organised is to ensure students are able to discuss these ideas in further details. Students must note that seminars will not be recorded.

    Workshop questions are important to clarify aspects related to each topic and it is expected that students will work on workshop questions each week during the seminar. Solutions to quantitative workshop questions, or Excel bases exercises will be made available on Ech 360 at the end of each week. Students must attend seminars to get the solutions to each week's workshop questions. Students can also write out their answer on the discussion board OR discuss this during consultation time.

    Group project is an important aspect of the course to demonstrate the concepts and skills acquired during the semester. This is a sequential project (one section must be completed to progress to the next section) and will require teams to work cohesively together to be successful.

    Weekly online quizzes will start in week 4 and occur every second week (4, 6, 8, 10 and 12). Quizzes are designed for buildup skills required to complete the assignment project and to develop a test of understanding the concepts in each topic. Students will have 5 days (Monday to Friday) to complete the quizz and are able to discuss the question on the diuscussion board.

    This course has two one hour tests in week 5 and 9 to ensure that students have understood the required concepts.

    Final/Replacement examination is an assessment of how well students have uderstood the concepts and are able to apply them in an exmination setting.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    The University expects full-time students (i.e. those taking 12 units per semester) to devote a total of 48 hours per week to their studies. This means that you are expected to commit approximately 9 hours for a three-unit course of private study outside of your regular classes.

    Students in this course are expected to attend all lectures throughout the semester plus one tutorial class each week. If a student is unable to attend a lecture, it is the student's responsibility to watch the lecture recording prior to attending the tutorial. The student must allocate at least 2 hours for this activity on a weekly basis.
    Learning Activities Summary
    Week 1: How Financial Markets Work (Haslem Chapter 5) + Active vs Passive Investing (Haslem Chapter 6) + Demo of Active vs Passive Equity funds

    Week 2: Efficient Markets and Mutual Fund Investing: The Advantage of Index Funds (Haslem Chapter 7) + Equity Investment Strategies (Value, Growth, LC, SC).

    Week 3: Market signals and Bond Investment Strategies – Passive vs Active

    Week 4: (Portfolio creation week) + Modern Portfolio Theory and Asset Allocation (Haslem Chapters 8, Bragga Chapter 2, Lustig Chapter 10, Wagner and Edwards) + BL framework

    Week 5: (Test 1 week) + Risk Parity Portfolios (Bragga Chapter 3) + Constructing an Active Fund (Lustig Chapter 30 and 31) + Core-Satellite and Core–Plus

    Week 6: The Morningstar Approach to Mutual Fund Analysis - Part 1 (Haslem Chapter 9)

    Week 7: The Morningstar Approach to Mutual Fund Analysis - Part 2 (Haslem Chapter 10) + Portfolio Attribution Analysis (Lustig Chapters 30 and 31)

    Week 8: Building a Portfolio of Mutual Funds (Haslem Chapter 11)

    Week 9: (Test 2 Week) + Mutual Funds: Nature, Regulations and Costs – Part 1 (Haslem Chapters 1 and 2

    Week 10: Mutual Funds: Nature, Regulations and Costs – Part 2 (Haslem Chapters 3 and 4) + Liquidity and Trading costs

    Week 11: (Assignment submission week) + Alternative Investments (Wilcox and Fabozzi Appendix A)

    Week 12: Review of Course and Examination Details
    Specific Course Requirements
    This course is offered in a 3-hour seminar mode, and students are either enrolled as in-person or as on-line. Students are not able to access both structures in the same semester.

    This course draws upon previous knowledge from three courses: Equity Valuation Analysis (M), Fixed Income Securities (M) and Quantitative Methods (M). Students may need to review these courses if they have scored only a "Pass" in any one of these courses.

    This course has also a specific Embedded Research component. The postgraduate Finance coursework program requires the inclusion of an Embedded Research component, a piece of research that the student works on over 4 courses. Equity Valuation (M) and Fixed Income Securities (M) research will lead to a research project for this course. Embedded reseach will be part of a group assignments that will be completed in groups of 3 students (fewer than 3 students can form a group but there will be no concessions in the scope of the assignment), and no groups can have more than 3 students. Group assignments allow students to be able to create a solution to an assigned problem and test their solution using quantitative and qualitative methodologies. It is expected that each member of a group will be able to leverage of their own particular expertise as well as that of the other members in the group. Groups will be created by the students themselves and groups may discuss their assignment by making appointment with the lecturer-in-charge.

    This course is a single pass course. Successful completion of this course will require students to keep up to date with the assigned material. This means that students should have had browsed the assigned chapter and the PowerPoint presentation for that topic (details of each topic are avilable in MyUni) prior to attending the seminar. Students should review the lecture recordings and get better understanding by reading the assigned chapter after the seminar. It is expected that students will work on workshop questions duriung the seminar.

    Finally, this course will include students to be able to access historical capital market data using Refinitive (previously Thomson Reuters) database for their assignment.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task Task Type Due Weighting Learning Outcome
    5x Quizzes Individual

    Weeks 4-12

    2% each = 10% 1-4
    2x Test Individual Week 5 & 9 (during lecture time) 15% each = 30% 1-4
    Group Assignment Group Week 10 30% 2-4
    Final Examination Individual Exam Period 30% 3 and 4
    Total 100%

    Assessment Related Requirements
    The approach in this course is to first establish the theoretical foundations and then to build upon these to understand portfolio construction, implementation and management for a group of investors. This will be done through seminars, demonstrations, workshop questions,quizzes tests, a group assignment, and a final examination. Final/Replacement examination will be closed book (no reference material allowed). Assessments from previous semester(s) cannot be redeemed.

    This course will feature a group assignment based on the Embedded Research, and will require the ability to access the Refinitive Databse.
    Assessment Detail
    The assessment components are as follows:

    • (30%) Test 1 and Test 2: 1 hour Test during lecture time.

    • (30%) Assignment: Group assignment.

    • (10%) Quizzes [weeks 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12]

    • (30%) Final/Replacement Exam:

    No information currently available.

    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.