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Finance, Markets and Organisations

School Of Business
MSc Accounting and Finance; MSc Management, Finance and Accounting

Module: Finance, Markets and Organisations (MN7365)

Assignment Questions
The module is 100% assessed through this assignment.
Use as a starting point for further research on the topic of Social Trading the microsite of the publication World Finance (http://www.social-trading.worldfinance.com).
Using what you find out from this microsite and your further reading and research, and drawing, where relevant – on the literature discussed in the module answer ALL two (2) of the assignment questions.
Answer each question separately as a stand-alone mini-essay of not more than 1500 words each, but use a common references list for both. Make sure your individual answers add-up to the overall word-count of 3000 words, excluding references.

  1. Explain in your own words, but referencing relevant readings, what MacKenzie (2008) means by “the politics of market design” in Chapter 2 of his book “Material Markets: How Economic Agents are constructed”. Using this concept, discuss which existing market agents in financial trading might gain and which might lose from a wider adoption of ‘social trading’, giving reasons for your position.

[50 marks]

  1. Discuss, referencing relevant literature, the similarities and differences in the social ties involved in the phenomenon of ‘social trading’ compared with the other market activities discussed in the module.
    [50 marks] Suggested readings
    A very important reading in terms of understanding the theories and concepts that underpin social studies of finance approaches is:
    MacKenzie, D. (2008) Material Markets: How Economic Agents are constructed Oxford University Press

Particularly important in this book is Chapter 2, which provides a very clear explanation of the 10 most central concepts/insights of social studies of finance. The subsequent chapters also provide examples of how these concepts have been used to analyse particular markets.
Other readings of relevance would include:
Oehler, A., Horn, M. and Wendt, S. (2016) Benefits from social trading? Empirical evidence for certificates on wikifolios. International Review of Financial Analysis, 46, pp.202-210.
Wohlgemuth, V., Berger, E. and Wenzel, M. (2016) More than just financial performance: Trusting investors in social trading. Journal of Business Research, 69(11), pp.4970-4974.
You also should use, where relevant, the readings suggested in the module outline. This would include the relevant lecture-by-lecture topic, particularly the readings for the lecture topics which relate to the assignment case and questions. Part of the aim of the assignment is to see how well you do in identifying which lecture topics the questions relate to and then using that lecture content to develop your argument/analysis.
There are also additional readings to those indicated for each lecture week in the module handbook that have been provided for you on Blackboard that can be used if judged relevant.

Assessment Criteria
The intended learning outcomes for this course are as follows:

• Outline the cross-disciplinary approach to the analysis of financial institutions and processes of valuation;

• Apply qualitative and/or quantitative methods in the analysis of financial institutions.

• Use the insights gained from the SSF approach and research methods to analyse real-life case studies.

Your mark and whether you pass will depend on how well you demonstrate your attainment in terms of these criteria.

The general description of the marking criteria for different grade categories can be found in Appendix 1 at the end of this assignment sheet.

Advice and Suggestions
The following points can help you in producing a good piece of work:

• You must address the questions asked and not try to re-define them or write about something else. ‘Not answering the question’ is among the most common reasons for often significant losses of marks.

• Your essay must be properly referenced:
o only sources cited in the text of your answer should be included in the bibliography;
o all sources (including those for any numeric examples used) should be acknowledged;
o there should be no citations in your answers to sources which are not in your references list at the end of your text; if you have not consulted the reference directly yourself you should indicate in the text of your answer the secondary source from which it comes. It is this secondary source which should be in your bibliography.
o Further instructions on referencing can be found at:

• While selective quoting within quotation marks is acceptable, listing a reference in the bibliography does not make it acceptable to copy large sections of a book or article into your answer. You must aim to summarise more extensive points in your own words.
• Plagiarism is regarded as a most serious instance of academic misconduct and is dealt with accordingly.
• Being asked to discuss something is not the same as being asked to list things. A discussion will consider alternative points of view and your own thinking and evaluation of these points should be central in the discussion of the topic.

It is expected that you will primarily consult academic and professional journals. Textbooks tend not to be so up to date.

At the same time, indiscriminate referencing is no guarantee of a good assignment. Part of the assessment is to see how able you are to identify and use selectively the most relevant and reliable sources.

In addition to the above, the following points will also contribute to a better quality assignment:

• Evidence of a good understanding of key concepts and ideas
• An argument development that hangs together as a whole
• Inclusion of examples/illustrations where relevant
• Substantiated conclusions
• Last but not least, some creativity and originality

Word limit: 3,000 (+/- 10% excluding references)

Date/time for submission: 12th of April at 11:59 am (GMT) via Blackboard
Any assignments submitted after this deadline will be recorded as late and will incur the relevant late penalty.

Submission Instructions:

Please visit the Assessment section of Blackboard for further information and guidance on submitting your assignment electronically.

Only one file in the specified format can be submitted.

• Please insert the assignment question to your submission.
• Retain your electronic submission receipt.

If you have questions about the submission of your work please contact ulsb.pgsupport@le.ac.uk for assistance, before the deadline date.

Appendix 1 – Grade Descriptions

Mark Postgraduate Grade Descriptor
85-100% Scholarship: Excellent application of a rigorous and extensive knowledge of subject matter; perceptive; demonstrates a critical appreciation of subject and extensive and detailed critical analysis of the key issues; displays independence of thought and/ or a novel and relevant approach to the subject; reveals both breadth and depth of understanding, showing insight and appreciation of argument.
Independent learning: Work draws on a wide range of relevant literature and is not confined to reading lists, textbooks or lecture notes; arguments are well supported by a variety of means. Writing skills: Writing skills are excellent; writing is clear and precise; arguments are logical, wellstructured and sustained, and demonstrate thorough understanding; conclusions are reasoned and justified by evidence.
Analysis: Work demonstrates a robust approach to analysis that is evident of a deep understanding of relevant concepts, theories, principles and techniques. For quantitative modules analysis is complete and entirely relevant to the problem.
70-84% Scholarship: Very good application of a rigorous and extensive knowledge of subject matter; demonstrates a critical appreciation of subject; displays detailed thought and consideration of the subject; reveals very good breadth and depth of understanding.
Independent learning: Work draws on a range of relevant literature and is not confined to reading lists, textbooks or lecture notes.
Writing skills: Writing skills are well‐developed; writing is clear and precise; arguments are logical, well‐structured and demonstrate thorough understanding; conclusions are justified by evidence. Analysis: Analytical steps carried out carefully and correctly demonstrating that it is based on a sound understanding. Analysis is relevant to the problem and is complete and is placed in a clear context.
60-69% Scholarship: Good, broad‐based understanding of subject manner; makes effective use of understanding to provide an informative, balanced argument that is focussed on the topic; reveals some attempt at creative, independent thinking; main points well covered, displaying breadth or depth but not necessarily both; broadly complete and relevant argument;
Independent learning: Sources range beyond textbooks and lecture material and are used effectively to illustrate points and justify arguments.
Writing skills: Arguments are presented logically and coherently within a clear structure and are justified with appropriate supporting evidence; capably written with good use of English throughout; free from major errors; complex ideas are expressed clearly and fluently using specialist technical terminology where appropriate.
Analysis: Some minor slips in the steps of the analysis and some minor gaps in understanding of underlying principles. Analysis is relevant to the problem and mostly complete. A good interpretation which conveys most of its meaning.
50-59% Scholarship: Some but limited engagement with, and understanding of, relevant material but may lack focus, organisation, breadth, and/or depth; relatively straightforward ideas are expressed clearly and fluently though there may be little or no attempt to synthesise or evaluate more complex ideas; exhibits limited independent creative thought; adequate analysis but some key points only mentioned in passing; arguments satisfactory but some errors and perhaps lacking completeness and relevance in parts.
Independent learning: Sources restricted to core lecture material with limited or no evidence of wider reading.
Writing skills: The question is addressed in a reasonably clear, coherent and structured manner but some sections may be poorly written making the essay difficult to follow, obscuring key points or leading to over‐generalisation; competently written with a good use of English throughout (few, if any, errors of spelling, grammar and punctuation). Answers that have merit class qualities may fall into this category if they are too short, unfinished or badly organised.
Analysis: Minor slips and occasional basic errors in analysis. Underlying principles are mostly understood, but clear gaps are apparent. Analysis falls short of completeness and is a little irrelevant in place but a reasonable interpretation which goes some way to convey its meaning
45-49% Minimum requirements have not been met.
Scholarship: Inadequate understanding of key issues and concepts; some material may be used inappropriately; uninspired and unoriginal; relies on limited knowledge; analysis poor or obscure, superficial or inconsistent in places; arguments incomplete, partly irrelevant or naive.
Mark Postgraduate Grade Descriptor
Independent learning: Restricted to a basic awareness of course material and textbooks; meagre use of material to support assertions.
Writing skills: Poor use of English exhibiting errors. Answer may be poorly focussed on the question, lack rigour and/or consist of a series of repetitive, poorly organised points or unsubstantiated assertions that do not relate well to one another or to the question, although some structure discernible.
Analysis: Inadequate knowledge of the analysis to be followed, with frequent errors. Some attention paid to underlying principles, but lacking in understanding and frequently irrelevant. Some interpretation is given, but it does not place the analysis in any real context
40-44% Scholarship: Poor knowledge of relevant material; omission of key ideas/material; significant parts may be irrelevant, superficial or factually incorrect; inappropriate use of some material; mere paraphrasing of course texts or lecture notes; key points barely mentioned; very weak grasp or complete misunderstanding of the issues; inclusion of irrelevant material; does not address the topic or question.
Independent learning: Restricted to a basic awareness or no awareness of course material and textbooks; very meagre use of supporting material or unsupported assertions; use of irrelevant or unconvincing material.
Writing skills: Unacceptable use of English (i.e. comprehension obscured by significant and intrusive errors of spelling, punctuation and grammar); poor and unclear, or totally incoherent, structure. Answers that ‘run out of time’ or miss the point of the question may fall into this (or a lower) class. Analysis: Erroneous analysis with mistakes. Very little attention paid to the underlying principles of the analysis. Far from complete with little relevance to the problem. Limited interpretation that reveals little, if anything, about the meaning
20-39% Scholarship: Displays a superficial appreciation of the demands and broad context of the question but is largely irrelevant, fundamentally flawed, or factually incorrect; inappropriate use of material; mere paraphrasing of course texts or lecture notes; key points barely mentioned; complete misunderstanding of the issues; inclusion of irrelevant material.
Independent learning: Restricted to a limited awareness of basic course material; unsupported assertions; use of irrelevant or unconvincing material.
Writing skills: Minimal structure, though may only list key themes or ideas with limited comment or explanation.
Analysis: Analysis has very significant omissions demonstrating little understanding of problem or underlying principles. Analysis may be ill suited to problem. Very little interpretation of meaning of the analysis.
0-19% Scholarship: No recognition of the demands or scope of the question and no serious attempt to answer it. Complete misunderstanding of the issues; inclusion of irrelevant material. May have simply failed to address the question/topic set.
Independent learning: No evidence that the most basic course material has been understood; unsupported assertions; use of irrelevant or unconvincing material.
Writing skills: Without structure; comprehension may be completely obscured by poor grammar, spelling, punctuation.
Analysis: Virtually complete failure to carry out analysis. No evidence of understanding of underlying principles and bears no relevance to the problem. No attempt to interpret or explain the meaning of the analysis.


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