Open courses focus on the principles of fund management

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The International Faculty of Finance (IFF), a provider of specialist financial training courses, has launched several courses on how fund management works and how it is changing.

The Fundamentals of Fund Management, an intensive three-day training course that first ran in April, aims to explain the entire spectrum of the investment management process, including the principles of fund management and some of the more complex jargon used by fund managers.

'It is not necessarily aimed at fund managers, but at those around them marketing and sales people who need to understand more about exactly what fund management aims to do,' says Laura Sengani, a course producer for IFF who works on investment products. IFF's research suggests that individuals wanted to learn the fundamentals without necessarily putting the time in for exam-related courses, she adds.

The course, due to run again in September, offers an understanding of the different types of fund management, the various investment products and respective markets, asset allocation, benchmarking and risk control, and investment performance measurement and verification. It also looks at the legal framework, regulatory bodies and developments in EC directives. There is a section on when to use derivatives in fund management.

Although this is not a course building up to a qualification, IFF offers the option of delegates taking a multiple-choice exam to assess their understanding at the end of the three days. The cost of the course is 1,899 + VAT.

The fund management course is partly driven by the growing demand by investors for transparency in investment decisions.

Lack of understanding or ambiguity in advising clients can jeopardise key investment accounts, 'now that clients are more demanding, knowledgeable, less prone to passively wait for the quarterly report and increasingly open to outsourcing', according to the IFF.

Last month it launched another new course aimed at those working for fund managers, entitled Fundamentals of Performance Measurement. The two-day course, starting again in September, offers instruction in the latest methodologies, how to create benchmarks and composites for tracking errors, attribution analysis and effective measurement of the risk of the portfolio. It also has a section on the recent developments towards the globalisation of standards.

The course leaders are Carl Bacon, director of risk control and performance at Foreign & Colonial, and Gary Hildrup, head of performance at F&C. Attendance charges are 1,799 + VAT.

Hyperion, one of the largest financial training companies, continues to provide in-house training for fund managers, but says that many houses prefer to have very specific tailored training that follows their own individual strategies. At the moment it has no plans to offer open courses in fund management. PP, the other leading provider of open courses in financial training, points out that fund managers do attend a wide variety of its courses, particularly its treasury and investment courses. But it does not offer open courses specifically targeted at fund management.

Increased demand in this area, however, has prompted BG Training, a market leader for in-house training for investment banks, to combine its traditional in-house role with an open-course formulation by grouping its clients together.

It is introducing a three-week tailored training programme for some leading players in the fund management market to train their new entrants. BG Training has drawn up an intensive programme that takes in the basic economics, maths and accounting of fund management during the first week of the new course and strategic analysis, ratio analysis, cost of capital and discounting in the second week. A third week starts with topics such as shareholder value and derivatives for fund management, then allows junior analysts a chance to study forecasting while fund managers concentrate on market analysis, modern portfolio theory and portfolio performance.

Peter Wisher of BG Training says the pooling of experience is an advantage of grouped tailored training, in addition to that of cost.

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