GRA 6556 Ethics and Sustainability in Finance

GRA 6556 Ethics and Sustainability in Finance

Course code: 
GRA 6556
Department: 
Finance
Credits: 
6
Program of study: 
Master of Science in Finance
Course coordinator: 
Samuli Knüpfer
Product category: 
Master
Portfolio: 
MSc in Finance
Semester: 
2020 Spring
Active status: 
Active
Teaching language: 
English
Course type: 
One semester
Introduction

Is the finance industry serving the society well? This course aims to help students answer this question by introducing them to the ethical challenges and sustainability issues facing today’s financial industry. It argues that the industry’s ability to generate long-term sustainable returns depends on well-functioning and well-governed markets that correctly account for ethical issues and societal and environmental risks.

This course starts with a discussion of the purpose of the financial industry and outlines the conditions under which ethical and sustainability considerations may clash with purely financial goals. This discussion centers around the conflicts of interest between the industry and its clients. It also investigates the impact of short-termism on the industry’s behavior.

The course then asks why clients of the financial industry are increasingly demanding sustainable investment opportunities. These opportunities intend to offer competitive financial returns over the long term while also advancing sustainability goals through those investments. The course explains the strategies used to pursue sustainability goals including negative and positive screening, ESG integration, thematic investment, corporate engagement, and impact investing.

Learning outcomes - Knowledge

The student will become familiar with the institutional landscape of financial ethics and sustainable investing. She will understand the ethical challenges facing the financial industry and learn tools to manage those challenges. She will become familiar with the various strategies investors deploy to pursue sustainability goals. She will also develop an understanding of the reasons put forward for ethical and sustainable investing and will be able to critically evaluate the merits of this investment approach.

Learning outcomes - Skills

The student will learn a framework for approaching ethical challenges and sustainability goals in the financial industry. She will comprehend professional codes of conduct and is able to apply them in various settings. She will also acquire skills that are relevant for arguing for and against the sustainable investment approach. She will also develop an understanding of the sometimes confusing vocabulary of this new field.

General Competence

The course provides ample opportunities to gain general competence in understanding the purpose of the financial industry as a part of the wider societal and environmental context. This competence provides important insights into the student’s career plans and working methods in professional life.

Course content

The course will cover among others the following topics (content may vary from year to year):

  • Ethics and trust in the financial industry
  • Conflicts of interest and short-termism in finance
  • Professional codes of conduct
  • Investor demand for sustainability and the many facets of sustainable investing
  • Pricing of social, environmental, and governance risks
  • Can investors really do well by doing good?
Teaching and learning activities

Lectures and class discussions. Students are expected to prepare for the lecture by reading assigned materials and participate actively in the discussions. There will be various assignments throughout the course. Most learning will take place through student discussions of papers, cases, and other assignments.

Software tools
No specified computer-based tools are required.
Additional information

Please note that while attendance is not compulsory in all courses, it is the student’s own responsibility to obtain any information provided in class.

This is a course with continuous assessment (several exam components) and one final exam code. Each exam component is graded by using points on a scale from 0-100. The components will be weighted together according to the information in the course description in order to calculate the final letter grade for the examination code (course). Students who fail to participate in one/some/all exam elements will get a lower grade or may fail the course. You will find detailed information about the point system and the cut off points with reference to the letter grades when the course starts.

At resit, all exam components must, as a main rule, be retaken during next scheduled course.

Qualifications

All courses in the Masters programme will assume that students have fulfilled the admission requirements for the programme. In addition, courses in second, third and/or fourth semester can have specific prerequisites and will assume that students have followed normal study progression. For double degree and exchange students, please note that equivalent courses are accepted.

Exam categoryWeightInvigilationDurationSupport materialsGroupingComment exam
Exam category:
Activity
Form of assessment:
Class participation
Exam code:
GRA65561
Grading scale:
Point scale
Grading rules:
Internal examiner
Resit:
All components must, as a main rule, be retaken during next scheduled course
10No1 Semester(s)Individual .
Exam category:
Submission
Form of assessment:
Written submission
Exam code:
GRA65561
Grading scale:
Point scale
Grading rules:
Internal and external examiner
Resit:
All components must, as a main rule, be retaken during next scheduled course
60Yes2 Hour(s)
  • BI-approved exam calculator
  • Simple calculator
  • Bilingual dictionary
Individual Written examination under supervision
Exam category:
Submission
Form of assessment:
Written submission
Exam code:
GRA65561
Grading scale:
Point scale
Grading rules:
Internal examiner
Resit:
All components must, as a main rule, be retaken during next scheduled course
30No1 Semester(s)Group (3 - 4)Case write-ups and other group assignments
Exams:
Exam category:Activity
Form of assessment:Class participation
Weight:10
Invigilation:No
Grouping (size):Individual
Support materials:
Duration:1 Semester(s)
Comment:.
Exam code:GRA65561
Grading scale:Point scale
Resit:All components must, as a main rule, be retaken during next scheduled course
Exam category:Submission
Form of assessment:Written submission
Weight:60
Invigilation:Yes
Grouping (size):Individual
Support materials:
  • BI-approved exam calculator
  • Simple calculator
  • Bilingual dictionary
Duration:2 Hour(s)
Comment:Written examination under supervision
Exam code:GRA65561
Grading scale:Point scale
Resit:All components must, as a main rule, be retaken during next scheduled course
Exam category:Submission
Form of assessment:Written submission
Weight:30
Invigilation:No
Grouping (size):Group (3-4)
Support materials:
Duration:1 Semester(s)
Comment:Case write-ups and other group assignments
Exam code:GRA65561
Grading scale:Point scale
Resit:All components must, as a main rule, be retaken during next scheduled course
Type of Assessment: 
Continuous assessment
Grading scale: 
ECTS
Total weight: 
100
Sum workload: 
0

A course of 1 ECTS credit corresponds to a workload of 26-30 hours. Therefore a course of 6 ECTS credits corresponds to a workload of at least 160 hours.