In this course, you will start by reviewing the fundamentals of investments, including the trading off of return and risk when forming a portfolio, asset pricing models such as the Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM) and the 3-Factor Model, and the efficient market hypothesis. You will be introduced to the two components of stock returns – dividends and capital gains – and will learn how each are taxed and the incentives provided to investors from a realization-based capital gains tax. You will examine the investment decisions (and behavioral biases) of participants in defined-contribution (DC) pension plans like 401(k) plans in the U.S. and will learn about the evidence regarding the performance of individual investors in their stock portfolios. The course concludes by discussing the evidence regarding the performance of actively-managed mutual funds. You will learn about the fees charged to investors by mutual funds and the evidence regarding the relation between fees charged and fund performance. Segments of the portfolios of mutual funds that may be more likely to outperform and examples of strategies designed to “earn alpha” will also be introduced.
Learners are welcome to take this course even if they have not completed "Investments I: Fundamentals of Performance Evaluation," as the first module contain a review of investment fundamentals and regression analysis to get everyone up to speed. Also, the course contains several innovative features, including creative out-of-the-studio introductions followed by quick-hitting "Module in 60" countdowns that highlight what will be covered in each module, four "Faculty Focus" interview episodes with leading professors in finance, and a summary of each module done with the help of animations!
This course is part of the iMBA offered by the University of Illinois, a flexible, fully-accredited online MBA at an incredibly competitive price. For more information, please see the Resource page in this course and onlinemba.illinois.edu.
Course Orientation You will become familiar with the course, your classmates, and our learning environment.
Module 1: Fundamentals and Composition of Returns In Module 1, we will briefly review the fundamentals of investments, including the trading off of return and risk when forming a portfolio, asset pricing models such as the Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM) and the 3-Factor Model, and the efficient market hypothesis. We will also discuss the two components of stock returns – dividends (cash received) and capital gains (changes in price since purchase).
Module 2: Investment Decisions in DC Pension Plans In Module 2, we discuss the investment decisions of participants in defined-contribution (DC) pension plans like 401(k) plans in the U.S. Not falling prey to common behavioral biases is key to sound financial decision-making in these retirement plans, so we will discuss common behavioral biases of DC pension plan participants.
Module 3: Performance of Individual Investors In Module 3, we will learn about the evidence regarding the performance of individual investors in their stock portfolios. A few key behavioral biases that affect many individuals will be highlighted, and the potential information embedded in some parts of individual investors’ stock portfolios will be discussed.
Module 4: Performance of Mutual Funds and Search for Alpha In Module 4, we will learn about the evidence regarding the performance of actively-managed mutual funds. We will also discuss a few examples of portfolio strategies designed to “earn alpha” (i.e., yield positive risk-adjusted returns).
Course Conclusion It's now time to say goodbye to the Investments II course! Key takeaways from the course are reviewed. Don't forget to answer the survey question regarding how was Scott's sequel that is located at the end of the Conclusion to Investments II: Lessons and Applications for Investors!
Benjamincompleted this course, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.
This class was enjoyable and entertaining. It did not have as much material as the first class in the series and I think it covered the material in a more shallow manner. There were only a few recommended readings but in the lecture notes some of the papers referenced are really very interesting.