Key Stage 5

Finance

In the Sixth Form we study an A-Level equivalent qualification offered by the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment (CISI), the largest professional body for the securities and investment industry in the UK. The Diploma for Finance, Risk and Investment (Dip.FRI) is a two-year course, comprising two certificates:

  • Certificate for Introduction to Securities and Investment (Cert.ISI)
  • Certificate for Finance, Risk and Decision-Making (Cert.FRD)

Students that pass both certificates are awarded the Dip.FRI. Each certificate attracts up to 60 UCAS points.

A pass in the Cert.ISI also gives students exemption from Part 1 of the CISI’s well-known professional qualification, the Investment Operations Certificate. Students are also given student membership of the CISI, giving them access to the CISI extensive careers advice service.

Year 12: Certificate for Introduction to Securities and Investment (Cert.ISI)

The Cert.ISI comprises two units:

Unit 1 – The Introduction to Securities and Investment (40% of overall marks)

Known informally as “The Knowledge”, this unit gives students a thorough foundation in the financial services industry and the main wholesale financial products. It also covers some elements of economics and retail financial products. It is tested by a 50-question, one-hour computer-based Multiple Choice Question examination (pass mark 50%).

Unit 2 – The Extended Project (60% of overall marks)

The Extended Project is an opportunity for students to plan, research and write a 4,000-word report on a title chosen from a list of 10 provided by the CISI. This work is completed over the course of seven months, and tests the students’ ability to work independently. The titles change each year; in the past, popular choices of title have included:

  • “I don’t need a pension my house will fund my retirement. Discuss”.
  • “Could certain types of investing be viewed as gambling?”
  • “Financial Services discriminate unfairly in favour of those with internet access. Discuss”.

Students are required to use academic-standard referencing and to write a 500-word Evaluation of their efforts.

Year 13: Certificate for Finance, Risk and Decision-Making (Cert.FRD)

The Cert.FRD comprises two equal units:

Investment, Decision-Making, Accounting and Governance (IDM):

IDM includes basic accounting techniques, with the students learning how to construct a balance sheet, income statement and cash-flow statement. They also learn the different ways of calculating returns on investment and how to value securities. Derivatives, asset-backed securities and the ethical issues of financial engineering are also covered, culminating with an in-depth look at ethics and governance.

Assessment is by a 1¾- hour written exam, comprising a data-response section based on a set of accounts and a substantial essay.

Money, Economics and Uncertainty (MEU):

MEU explores the nature of money within the context of a national economy. Students learn how governments seek to achieve their macro-economic objectives and come to understand how international economic developments influence countries.

Students also learn how to analyse and interpret data, including charts, and how to measure risk and uncertainty.

Assessment is by a 1¾- hour written exam, comprising a data-response section based on a set of accounts and a substantial essay.