Alternative Investments

Module description


Alternative investment strategies became increasingly popular among investors to achieve better returns.  This module looks beyond the traditional investments such as shares and bonds. It covers a range of topics that introduce the world of alternative investment strategies; in particular hedge funds, private equity and real estate investment trusts. Lectures are followed by in-depth practical examples using statistical packages, discussions and tools that show the real world implications.

Additional Information:


The course explains differences of funds with respect to risk, regulation and organizational structure around the world. These differences are crucial to understanding the impact it has on the fund performance persistence and an ability to raise funds.


This course is addressed to students interested in pursuing a career within corporations, institutional investors, investment funds or other similar investment or consulting organizations. Students develop necessary understanding of alternative investment class to work within the industry as entrepreneurs seeking for financing from such investors, as lenders to firms, as money managers looking for alternative investments assets, as investment bankers advising on going public transactions or on mergers and acquisitions.

Full module specification

Module title:Alternative Investments
Module code:BEAM054
Module level:M
Academic year:2020/1
Module lecturers:
  • Dr Monika Tarsalewska - Convenor
Module credit:15
ECTS value:






Duration of module: Duration (weeks) - term 2:


Module aims

The course provides an advanced analysis of major issues associated with alternative investment strategies. In particular, we will discuss structure and governance of alternative investment funds, differences between private equity and hedge funds, fundraising, financial contracts and performance assessment. We will discuss the other types of alternative investments such as REITs. The international differences of funds across various countries will be also addressed.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. comprehensively understand the objectives of alternative investment strategies
  • 2. deeply understand the value creation of alternative investment
  • 3. comprehend the governance mechanism of investment fund
  • 4. undertake a range of financial and statistical calculations
  • 5. effectively demonstrate familiarity with public policy towards alternative investments across the world

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 6. independently interpret and understand the characteristics of financial data
  • 7. understand related academic publications, and how to implement them in developing investment strategies
  • 8. understand the principles of portfolio performance in terms of risk and return analysis
  • 9. undertake the valuation of companies

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 10. develop writing skills, presentation and critical analysis
  • 11. work in teams
  • 12. solve applied problems

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching22 (11 x 2 hour lectures)Lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching9 (9 x 1 hour class room discussions)Tutorials

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Individually written reportMax. 250 wordsFeedback during practical classes and suggested solutions provided on ELE

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Group presentation and written report (including peer assessment) 30Max. 1500 words1-12Standard feedback sheet
Final written exam701.5 hours1-10Qualitative and quantitative feedback

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Group presentation, written report and examFinal Written Exam (100%) 1.5 hours1-10Aug/Sep

Syllabus plan

  • Alternative versus Traditional Investments
  • Hedge Funds Introduction: Risk, Regulation, and Organizational Structure
  • Hedge Fund Strategies and Performance
  • Empirical Methods to Study Hedge Funds
  • Private Equity Fund: Fundraising, Agency Problems, Limited Partnership Agreements and Compensation Contracts, Management fees, J-curve and Returns
  • Venture Capital: Valuation of Investments, Performance and Exit Strategies
  • LBOs: Classic LBO Model
  • Debt as Private Equity
  • The Economics of Private Equity: Distribution of returns and international comparison
  • REITs and Real Estate

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Part of the course is covered in the following textbooks:

Hedge Fund Structure, Regulation and Performance around the World, by Cumming, D., Dai, N. and S. Johan, Oxford University Press (2013)

Venture Capital and Private Equity Contracting: An International Perspective, by Cumming, D. and S. Johan, Elsevier (2014)

An introduction to investment banks, hedge funds, and private equity, by Stowell D., Elsevier (2010)

Module has an active ELE page?


Indicative learning resources - Other resources

to be advised during the course

Origin date


Last revision date