Accounting & Statistics BSc

Financial Markets & Financial Institutions ACCFIN4012

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: Adam Smith Business School
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

The key aims of the course are to exploit the common conceptual framework outlined in the course (conventional finance and banking theory, plus theory of the firm, knowledge (IC), learning, and strategic choice about the SCA) to create the means for students to continue, during their careers, to be able to understand and analyse the modern financial institution and its business model in a changing world of technology, IC, and markets, and a world of changing values.


Lectures: 10 x 2-hour lectures (Semester 2, Tuesdays 9-11am)

Tutorials: 4 x 1-hour tutorial (tutorials are held at various times and can be selected on MyCampus)

Excluded Courses




Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable

For non Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

The overall aim of this course is to give students a comprehensive and up to date coverage of the modern theory and practice of financial institutions and their role in financial markets. The course has a strong international dimension.


This course aims to give students the opportunity to examine a number of different empirical models and theories of financial institutions in a financial market setting. The aim is to apply those theories in the analysis of various issues, events and crises in the world of finance.


Students will explore the empirical and theoretical foundations upon which financial institution practice in financial markets are based. They will examine the way in which decision making takes place within these financial institutions in a financial market setting. The course also aims to enable students to evaluate critically the role played by the finance and banking profession in maintaining high quality decisions relative to the needs of shareholders and other stakeholders in financial institution and financial market contexts.


The precise course content will vary from year to year to include a range of up-to-date models of financial institutions operating in a financial market setting but will consistently cover the following:


■ The examination of a range of empirical models of financial institution operating in varying financial market contexts.

■ Exploring the specific nature of retail, wholesale, investment, and corporate banks as independent banks and as constituent elements of a larger universal bank, and a range of other financial firms such as, inter alia, insurance, pension fund, unit and investment trust, venture capital and private equity and fund management firms.

■ Seeking to understand the common underlying finance and financial intermediation theory underpinning conventional understanding of all of these financial institutions.

■ Exploring the role of relevant managerial theory in this institutional setting. Thus, concepts of intellectual capital (IC), the theory of the learning organisation, the theory of the knowledge creating firm  and the resource based theory of the (financial) firm and 'performativity' are employed to develop novel insights into the nature and function of financial institutions.

■ Exploiting the common conceptual framework outlined in the course (finance theory and managerial theory) to create the means for students to continue, during their careers, to be able to understand and analyse the modern financial institution in a changing world of technology, IC and markets.

■ Identification of various issues, events, crises facing specific financial institutions in financial market contexts.

■ Using a range of 'orthodox finance theory and 'management theory' to jointly explain and explore the above.

■ Consideration of the factors that may influence high quality decision-making in financial institutions relative to the needs of shareholders and other stakeholders.

■ The analysis of a range of contemporary issues in financial institutions with an emphasis on issues that are currently being debated within the finance and banking profession and business.

■ The critique of examples of research within the field of financial institutions and markets .


The course makes extensive use of recent experiences, problems and crises in international banks and other financial institutions to analyse many of the difficult questions in this area.


Students will develop critical skills in assessing the relevance of the principles of finance, financial intermediation, learning and the knowledge creating firm, strategic choice about SCA, to real-world situations. The emphasis throughout is on understanding and being able to articulate the fundamental issues involved rather than on developing computational expertise in applying the principles, although some computational ability will be needed to demonstrate this understanding.


Students are expected to make full use of the reading lists provided and to demonstrate a wide reading of the academic literature in their essay and exam questions.  Students are expected to use their own scholarship skills and own reading of the literature to expand their understanding of banks and financial institutions.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

1. Evaluate critically a range of theories relevant to financial institutions and markets and apply these theories in the analysis of issues related to these institution and market area

2. Explain and discuss the empirical foundations upon which practices in financial institutions and markets are based and the factors that influence decision making within these contexts.

3. Analyse a range of topical issues drawn from financial institutions and markets contexts from a variety of empirical and theoretical perspectives, identifying the key issues emerging and applying theory.

4. Evaluate critically the role played by the finance and banking profession in maintaining high quality decisions and ethical behaviour in financial institution and market contexts.

5. Work collaboratively in a group to produce a combined piece of coursework.


Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits