Western University EconomicsWestern Social Science


Western MFE is a 16 month, course based interdisciplinary program. Students complete nine required courses and three electives offered through MFE program partners - Department of Economics, Department of Statistical and Actuarial Sciences, Ivey Business School and Faculty of Law. Courses are completed across three academic terms (terms I, II and IV) with a summer internship in term III. 

August (before Term I)

Refresher/Background Knowledge Course

A two week review course in mathematics, statistics as well as intermediate macroeconomics and microeconomics will be held in late August. The objective of this review session is to help fill in some of the 'gaps' in educational background across students (i.e. provide BSc students with an introduction to intermediate economics concepts, provide Econ/BA students with a refresher in quantitative methods). Students will also be required to complete a finance and accounting primer.

Term I (September-December)

Microeconomics (ECON9501)

This course covers the most important topics and results in modern microeconomics, with emphasis on those that apply most directly to financial economics. These include decision making under uncertainty, including portfolio choice; asset pricing; market failure; market incompleteness; theory of incentives, including moral hazard; and imperfect information, including adverse selection. Course outline

Econometrics (ECON9505)

This course deals with the necessary and appropriate econometric techniques used in the analysis of financial data. The first focus of the course is on time series methods, like autoregressive (AR), moving average (MA), integrated processes (unit root), and in combination (ARMA and ARIMA). The second focus is on models that estimate stock returns volatility, including ARCH, GARCH, SV and RV models. Other topics of the course include: forecasting, forecast evaluation, factor models, and the capital asset pricing model. Econometric software packages (i.e. R, Matlab, or STATA) are a large component of empirical applications that use current Bloomberg data. Course outline

Introduction to Financial Markets and Quantitative Finance (FM9522)

This course will teach students about financial products and financial markets. The course relies on financial mathematics to build simulation models. All of the models in this course will be built using Excel. Sample simulation models will be posted throughout the term. The course is designed to ground the student in the real world. Weekly “market updates” will be presented to show how the simulation models in the course relate to the financial markets.

Financial Options (FM9578 taken in Term I or Term IV)

This course is on modern financial mathematics -- the study of making financial decisions under uncertainty. Such decisions are shaped by three main drivers – the balance between future and present, quantified by the interest rate; the role of uncertainty, often quantified in terms of the volatility, and investors attitudes toward risk. Several products are available to trade and manage risk: stocks and bonds at a basic level; forwards, futures, and options at a more advanced level. This course will develop theories for pricing and hedging individual derivative securities using both the simple binomial tree model for options prices and at least the intution behind some continuous time models. Material covered includes the Black- Scholes-Merton theory of options pricing, how to price and hedge a variety of stock options and a briefly discussion of the challenges involved in extending this pricing technology to options on other underlying assets. Mathematics used includes multivariate calculus, basic stochastic calculus and linear difference and differential equations. However, the mathematics will always be taught as a means to a goal and not as the goal itself – explanations will be in simple, financially motivated terms as much as possible. Course outline

+ One Elective if completing FM9578 in Term IV

Examples of electives include Financial Risk Management, Applied Financial Econometrics, and Investment Portfolio Management. See Recommended Electives below.

Term II (January- April)

Macroeconomics (ECON9503)

This course is a theoretical, empirical, and policy-oriented treatment of the determination of output, employment, interest rates, and the rate of inflation. The course builds on the stochastic neoclassical growth model, and introduces dynamic optimization tools required to characterize solutions. The growth model is used as an organizing framework to examine the empirical properties of long term economic growth and business cycles. Another core topic is an introduction to monetary economics, with a discussion of money-in-the utility function and cash-in-advance models. This is used to provide an introduction to the role of nominal rigidities in business cycles. The course also provides an introduction to asset pricing and the equity premium puzzle. Course outline

Financial Economics (ECON9536)

This course is an introduction to financial economics, and focuses on the pricing of financial assets. Topics include market efficiency, portfolio choice, derivative securities, and the term structure of interest rates, the Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM), arbitrage pricing and the Arbitrage Pricing Theory (APT). It begins with an examination of individual choices under uncertainty, including expected utility theory, risk aversion, stochastic dominance, and two-period consumption-portfolio problems. These tools will be used as the foundation in the subsequent courses to develop more advanced asset pricing models and examine the role of asymmetric information in corporate finance. Course outline

Corporate Finance (BUS9821)

The goal of the course is to provide the most important and updated knowledge in all the areas in corporate finance. Topics to be covered include capital structure decisions, agency conflicts in the firm, dividend policy, security design, optimal financial contracting, the theory of the firm, the market for corporate control, and banking and financial intermediation, among others. The course also trains you to be a qualified financial analyst, as well as an efficient financial database user and SAS programmer. These skills are extremely important in finance industry. We then apply these skills in generating useful information from financial data and solving specific problems in corporate finance.

+ One Elective

Examples of electives include Financial Risk Management, Applied Financial Econometrics, and Investment Portfolio Management. See Recommended Electives below.

Term III (May-August)

Summer Internship or Directed Research Project

During the summer term (May-August), students have the opportunity to engage in internships. The MFE Director shall make every effort to ensure that students are placed in high-quality learning opportunities for their summer internships. Students are expected to actively look for positions and to regularly liaise with the MFE Coordinator about the status of the search. Students who do not match with an approved internship position must complete a directed research project during the summer. Completing either a summer internship or research project is required to graduate from the program.

Term IV (September-December)

Securities Regulation (LAW9560)

Financial industry regulation is extensive, affects business decision-making and can even spur financial product and process innovation. Finance professionals need an intelligent understanding of financial regulation to avoid pitfalls and help identify issues requiring expert advice from counsel. This course will canvass the theoretical foundations of securities regulation and many fundamental doctrinal securities law issues, focusing primarily on Ontario. Topics may include: foundational securities law concepts; Canadian securities regulators and regulatory instruments; registration and prospectus requirements; the exempt market; insider trading; continuous disclosure; take-over bids; and enforcement. Comparisons may be drawn to securities regulation in other jurisdictions, such as federal U.S. securities regulation. The evolution of recent proposals to create a national regulator (or Common Cooperative Capital Markets Regulator) in Canada will also be surveyed. Course Outline

Business 9811 Empirical Asset Pricing

Empirical Asset Pricing (BUS9811)

This course presents a study of some of the most significant empirical (and theoretical) work in the field of asset pricing. We examine topics such as: the Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM), multi-factor asset pricing models, conditional and unconditional asset pricing models, international asset pricing models, and asset pricing in a behavioural finance context.  We discuss how research can be used in practice, how to develop interesting research questions, and how to develop practical applications for existing research. Course outline

Senior Seminar (ECON9599)

This seminar-based course features seminars on practical challenges of integrating theory with risk management and regulation in practice. The seminar series will consist of lectures given by practitioners from the private and public sectors.

+ Two Electives

Examples of electives include Financial Risk Management, Applied Financial Econometrics, and Investment Portfolio Management. Note, FM9578 Financial Options is required in Term IV if not completed in Term I. See Recommended Electives below.

Recommended Electives

Applied Financial Econometrics (ECON9547)

This course covers the theoretical and empirical methods necessary to undertake empirical analysis of financial data. Commonly used econometric techniques for analyzing cross sectional and time series data are examined. Topics include methods for testing asset pricing theories, parametric and non-parametric volatility models, and models that use high-frequency data. Empirical applications of the techniques will be done using Canadian and/or international financial markets data with econometric packages such as Matlab, R, Stata or SAS.

Cash Flow Analysis & Investments (ECON9545)

Investors, regulators and more generally stakeholders depend on the accuracy of company financial statements.  Using a series of case studies, this course explores how GAAP corporate accounts can systematically result in inaccurate decision making.  By challenging accounting labels and financial conventions and by understanding corporate performance as a series of cash flows, class participants will be better equipped to monitor, control and reward how scarce capital resources are allocated. Course outline  

Financial Innovation and Crises in Historical Perspective (ECON9538) 

This course examines the historical evolution of the financial and monetary system as well as several important financial crises episodes (e.g., banking panics, sovereign defaults). Economic theory is employed to analyze financial crises and the economic forces driving financial innovation. Insights from historical experiences and economic theory are used to evaluate the trade-offs associated with policies to mitigate the economic impact of crises and manage systemic risk.

Financial Risk Management (ECON9587)

This course examines Risk Management concepts and quantitative applications in the financial industry. Commonly used quantitative measures of key risks (e.g., credit, liquidity, operational risk) are examined, as well as their practical advantages and disadvantages as risk management tools.  Key elements of the regulatory (e.g., Basel capital and liquidity regulation, stress testing) and organizational environment which constrain the practice of risk management are discussed. Course outline

Financial Modelling II (FM9521)

Options Pricing in continuous time. A gentle introduction to stochastic processes including what is meant by information filtrations, the Ito integral, Ito’s lemma, and the Ito isometry. Continuous time delta hedging and the Black Scholes PDE. Equivalent Martingale Measures. Options Pricing and Hedging. Hedging one option with another option and the market price of risk. An introduction to interest rate models – affine term structure models of the yield curve. (Prereq – SS3521b or AM9578b or equivalent/permission of the instructor)

Investment Portfolio Management (FM9523)

This case based financial modeling course will develop the conceptual and practical framework for building a securities portfolio of stocks, bonds and derivatives. The process will start with the client (individual or institution), then develop an investment policy identifying the specific risk and return characteristics of the client. Building on the clients needs, we will develop risk return forecasts for various classes of securities.

Additional Elective Options

Students are welcome to enroll in courses offered by other faculties including the Department of Statistical and Actuarial Sciences and Ivey Business School. Enrollment is on a special permission basis subject to students having the required background and course availability.