Topic outline

  • News

    - 16/11 -

    Dear students,

    due to the request of a number of students, from today until its end this course's lectures will start at 13:15 and end at 14:45.


    - 29/9 -
    Dear students,

    a few colleagues of mine (from University Milano-Bicocca) are conducting a study on undergraduate and postgraduate students on their propensity on investing in pension funds. They are looking for a few minutes of your time in order to answer to an online anonymous questionnaire (there is one question asking for your student's ID, but that is limited only to students of Milano-Bicocca and does not apply to others).

    This is the link:

    Unfortunately the questionnaire is in Italian language only. Feel free to extend the questionnaire to other university students whatever is the course they are attending (in other words, this is not limited to students of Economics, Finance or similar).

    I thank you, on behalf of my colleagues, if you would be so kind and take the survey.



  • Syllabus

    A.Y. 2016-17 / First semester - 6CFU

    Course objective

    This course aims at introducing the functioning of financial markets and their economic role, by focusing on main financial institutions, as well as products and services that they provide. The course will adopt an international perspective, by focusing on US and European markets and by considering interactions between intermediaries and markets on a global scale.

    Participants will be able to understand the rationale for the existence of financial markets and related institutions, the prevailing limitations to their effective functioning as well as the overarching issues linked with their management and regulation, both on a qualitative and a quantitative basis.


    Part A: Financial Markets

    1. Overview of the financial system
    2. I nterest rates: economic and financial role, determinants and structure
    3. Efficiency of financial markets: evidence and economic consequences
    4. Money markets and money instruments
    5. Bond market and bond evaluation
    6. Stock market and stock evaluation
    7. An introduction on mortgage markets
    8. The foreign exchange market

    Part B: Financial Institutions

    1. The economic role of financial institutions
    2. The nature of financial crises and their effects on economy
    3. An introduction on central banking, monetary policy and the international financial system
    4. Banks: structure, role, performance and competition
    5. Mutual funds
    6. Insurance companies and pension funds
    7. The securities’ industry
    8. An introduction on risk management of financial institutions and hedging
    9. Overview of other financial intermediaries: cooperative/mutual banks, mutual guarantee credit institutions, finance companies
    10. An introduction on financial regulation


    Accounting is a mandatory prerequisite. To better understand the aforementioned topics, attendance of Macroeconomics and Financial Mathematics courses is strongly suggested.

    Teaching methods

    Front lessons and class discussions. Individual learning is encouraged by reviewing questions and exercises provided by the textbook and its online self-assessment materials. Keeping up-to-date on financial and economic news, as provided by specialised media (f.i. Financial Times, The Economist, etc.), is strongly suggested.


    Final exam, composed of two parts:

    • A short multiple choice test, with 20 questions and only one correct answer. Scoring is attributed as follows: 1 point per correct answer, 0 points per blank answer, -1 points for every mistake. The test is considered passed with a score greater or equal 10 points.
    • Students passing the test can access the oral exam, based on 3 questions that will start from a topic selected by each student. The final grade will be based on the oral exam only (i.e. the test itself does not matter).

    The evaluation process is mainly based on the following assessment:

    • lower grades are attributed to students that show a sufficient knowledge of this course's topics, as well as a satisfactory use of technical language
    • intermediate grades are attributed to students that show a higher degree of knowledge, in particular the ability to cross-reference different topics and their mutual relationships, as well as a good proficiency in the technical language
    • higher grades are attributed to students that, together with a deep knowledge of this course's topics and a distinguished proficiency in the technical language, can prove to be able to apply concepts and tools to real-world situations.


    Mishkin F.S. and Eakins S.G. (2015), Financial markets and institutions, Pearson, 8th Edition

    Online material provided by textbook

    Lecturer’s notes will be provided during the course.

    Further readings on specific topics can be suggested on demand.

    • Readings and teaching material

      This section provides the course's slides, additional readings and further references for individual learning.

    • Calendar

      Dates and times are potentially prone to changes, that will be promptly shared in class and updated in this section.

      Last update: 14/11/2016

      Room (unless differently stated): Via Tigor, Room "Mappe Antiche"

      27/9 13-15 Course introduction. Overview of the financial system. 2
      28/9 13-15 Overview of the financial system. 2
      4/10 13-15 NO LECTURE! 2
      5/10 13-15 Interest rates. 2
      11/10 13-15 Interest rates. 2
      12/10 13-15 Interest rates. 2
      18/10 13-15 Efficiency of financial markets. 2
      19/10 13-15 Money markets. 2
      25/10 13-15 Money markets. 2
      26/10 13-15 Bond market. 2
      2/11 13-15 OPEN LESSON
      Stock market
      8/11 13-15 Mortgage markets 2
      9/11 13-15 Foreign exchange market. 2
      15/11 13-15 Foreign exchange market. 2
      16/11 13-15 Economic role of financial institutions. 2
      22/11 13-15 OPEN LESSON
      Financial crisis
      23/11 13-15 OPEN LESSON
      Central banking, monetary and currency policies.
      29/11 13-15 Banks. 2
      30/11 13-15 Banks. 2
      6/12 13-15 Mutual funds. 2
      7/12 13-15 Insurance companies and pension funds. The securities' industry 2
      13/12 13-15 Risk management and hedging.  2
      14/12 13-15 SEMINAR (Paltrinieri - SWF/Islamic finance)
      20/12 13-15 Other financial intermediaries. Course summary         2

      The following are seminars offered to students of "Economia degli intermediari finanziari", the Italian equivalent of this course.

      Students interested in these topics are encouraged to attend (unfortunately, lectures will be in Italian).

      Room 1 (first floor) - 16-18.30

      7/12 16-19 SEMINARIO (Zorzi - Consulenza finanziaria) 3 3
      14/12 16-17.30 SEMINARIO (Kasperkovitz - Credito cooperativo) 3 3