In this course, you will gain an understanding of the theory underlying optimal portfolio construction, the different ways portfolios are actually built in practice and how to measure and manage the risk of such portfolios.
In this course, you will start by reviewing the fundamentals of investments, including the trading off of return and risk when forming a portfolio, asset pricing models such as the Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM) and the 3-Factor Model, and the efficient market hypothesis.
You will be introduced to the two components of stock returns – dividends and capital gains – and will learn how each are taxed and the incentives provided to investors from a realization-based capital gains tax. You will examine the investment decisions (and behavioral biases) of participants in defined-contribution (DC) pension plans like 401(k) plans in the U.S. and will learn about the evidence regarding the performance of individual investors in their stock portfolios. The course concludes by discussing the evidence regarding the performance of actively-managed mutual funds. You will learn about the fees charged to investors by mutual funds and the evidence regarding the relation between fees charged and fund performance. Segments of the portfolios of mutual funds that may be more likely to outperform and examples of strategies designed to “earn alpha” will also be introduced.
Learners are welcome to take this course even if they have not completed "Investments I: Fundamentals of Performance Evaluation," as the first module contain a review of investment fundamentals and regression analysis to get everyone up to speed. Also, the course contains several innovative features, including creative out-of-the-studio introductions followed by quick-hitting "Module in 60" countdowns that highlight what will be covered in each module, four "Faculty Focus" interview episodes with leading professors in finance, and a summary of each module done with the help of animations!
Course 4 of 7 in the Financial Management Specialization.
You will become familiar with the course, your classmates, and our learning environment.
Module 1: Fundamentals and Composition of Returns
In Module 1, we will briefly review the fundamentals of investments, including the trading off of return and risk when forming a portfolio, asset pricing models such as the Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM) and the 3-Factor Model, and the efficient market hypothesis. We will also discuss the two components of stock returns – dividends (cash received) and capital gains (changes in price since purchase).
Graded: Module 1 Quiz
Module 2: Investment Decisions in DC Pension Plans
In Module 2, we discuss the investment decisions of participants in defined-contribution (DC) pension plans like 401(k) plans in the U.S. Not falling prey to common behavioral biases is key to sound financial decision-making in these retirement plans, so we will discuss common behavioral biases of DC pension plan participants.
Graded: Module 2 Quiz
Module 3: Performance of Individual Investors
In Module 3, we will learn about the evidence regarding the performance of individual investors in their stock portfolios. A few key behavioral biases that affect many individuals will be highlighted, and the potential information embedded in some parts of individual investors’ stock portfolios will be discussed.
Graded: Module 3 Quiz
Module 4: Performance of Mutual Funds and Search for Alpha
In Module 4, we will learn about the evidence regarding the performance of actively-managed mutual funds. We will also discuss a few examples of portfolio strategies designed to “earn alpha” (i.e., yield positive risk-adjusted returns).
Graded: Module 4 Quiz
It's now time to say goodbye to the Investments II course! Key takeaways from the course are reviewed. Don't forget to answer the survey question regarding how was Scott's sequel that is located at the end of the Conclusion to Investments II: Lessons and Applications for Investors!