Investments (FIN 321)

FIN 321-01

Fall 2013

Roosevelt University



Instructor:  Donald W. Swanton

Contact Information:  office Wabash 1112Z, telephone (312) 281-3278, fax (312) 281-3290, email, web site   My web site has information about office hours etc.  Google “Swanton Roosevelt” to find me most easily.

Time:  Tuesday-Thursday   12:30-1:45           

Location:  WB 1215

Text:  There is no required text.  I will be handing out my Notes on Investments (S) in class as the semester progresses.  Recommended are The Psychology of Investing 4th ed. By John R . Nofsinger Prentice Hall ISBN-13: 978-0-13-611703-2 and especially A Random Walk Down Wall Street  10th ed. 2012 by Burton Malkiel (M).  Get this one cheap in whatever format from  It’s a good read, and we will be discussing it and looking at some of the graphs.

Prerequisites:  ECON 101-102, MATH 116 or 121, ENG 101-102, ECON 234 or MATH 217, and FIN 311. 

Goals:  In this course students look at long-term investment situations, such as retirement planning, and we use the theoretical tools of modern finance to explore the trade-offs between risk and return.

Homework:   I will assign homework each week due the next Tuesday.  Much of Tuesday will be spent discussing the problems as assigned and then augmenting them.  I will collect but not grade homework assignments, but that does not mean that you can afford to not at least try them before Tuesday.  The problems will come back in modified form in the quizzes.  Finance is not a spectator sport.

Student Learning Objectives:  business discipline principles, quantitative techniques.

Grades:  Grades will be determined by an average of the best three out of the four quiz grades and the retirement planning project.  Quizzes and the project will receive the numerical version of letter grades, A = 4.00, A/B = 3.50, B = 3.00 B/C = 2.50, etc. I will send out sample quizzes the week before each quiz.

Attendance:  I do not take attendance, but see the homework point.

Plagiarism:  Please review Roosevelt’s policy on plagiarism.

Religious Holidays:  Roosevelt’s policy is to accommodate students who will be celebrating religious holidays.  Talk to me in the first couple of weeks, and we will work something out.


Notes:  My Notes on Investments currently consist of:

S1        Risk and Return

S2        Real and Nominal Returns

S3        Retirement Planning

S4        Efficient Markets

S5        Event Studies

S6        The Two Fund Separation Theorem

S7        Bond Risk and its Measurement:  Duration

S8        The Term Structure of Interest Rates

S9        Interest Rates and Bond Prices

S10      The Theory of Interest



As of December 2, 2013

Date                 Notes               Topics

Aug 27             S1, S9              Introduction, risk and return, interest rates and bond prices

Sep 3               S2                    Real and Nominal Returns

Sep 10             S2, S3              Real and nominal again, retirement planning

Sep 17             S4, M14           Retirement planning and life cycle investing

Sep 24*           M1-7                Efficient markets, technical and fundamental analysis

Oct 1                M8, M9            Modern Portfolio Theory intuitively

Oct 8                ///                      Review of probability and statistics, correlation

Oct 15*            S6                     The Capital Asset Pricing Model

Oct 22              S6                     More

Oct 29              S6                     More

Nov 5*             S6                     The birth and death(?) of beta

Nov 12             S7, S10             Interest rates and bonds, the theory of interest          

Nov 19              S10                   The theory of interest

Nov 26              ////                     Thanksgiving Vacation                      

Dec 3                S10                    More

                                                    Projects Due December 3, 2013

Dec 10*           ////                      Last Quiz Thursday Dec. 12

The asterisk * denotes a quiz that week.  This schedule is tentative.  We may get ahead of it at some points and will probably fall behind at others.  Revised schedules will always be on my web page.



First Choice Project

You are a financial planner.  You have clients who are just beginning to think about planning for retirement.  They are both thirty five years old and have $80,000 in a company retirement plan which they can roll over into their own plan.  They want to retire at 67 but are wondering what effect retiring a year or two earlier or later will have on their retirement.  Their combined income is $100,000 per year, and they want to finance the same income in retirement in real terms.  When they retire they can purchase a two-life annuity with an expected second death at age 87.  They need retirement and portfolio planning.

They have not taken any finance courses, and their last mathematics course was many years ago.  They will not understand equations, formulas, or finance jargon.  Large tables will make their eyes glaze over.  Charts and graphs may be helpful.  You must explain your recommendations to them in simple, ordinary language.  Prepare a plan with some alternative rates of return and retirement dates and explain what annual contributions they must make to the plan to make their retirement what they want.  Talk in depth about the trade-off between risk and high expected return.  Suggest some mutual fund portfolios for them.  Make your own assumptions about social security by the time they retire.



Alternative Retirement Project

Use yourself as the client, with your own present situation.  This client differs from the real you, because he/she has not taken any finance courses and does not know any more than the clients in the First Choice project.


General Information


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