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FIN5414 Personal Investments

Semester 2, 2011 External Toowoomba
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Business and Law
School or Department : School of Accounting, Economics and Finance

Contents on this page


Examiner: Lujer Santacruz
Moderator: David Troedson

Other requisites

Students are required to have access to a personal computer, e-mail capabilities and Internet access to UConnect. Current details of computer requirements can be found at <//>. Note: This course is conducted within the Australian context and hence international students are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the Australian financial environment and local terminology.


Personal investments are a key concern in financial planning. There are a wide range of investment vehicles available, with managed funds being the most popular. From its inception, the managed funds industry in Australia has experienced rapid growth, and managed funds form an increasingly important part of the personal investment portfolio. While the industry has experienced recent decline due to the global financial crisis, at June 30 2010, total consolidated assets of managed funds were $1,375.8 billion, making Australia one of the largest funds markets in the world. Given the size, managed funds are given special attention within the wider field of personal investments.


This course introduces students to the range of investment alternatives with some focus on the managed funds industry in Australia. The other investment alternatives (equity, fixed interest and derivative securities) are also discussed but they are covered in more detail in another course, FIN2105 Portfolio Management. This course outlines the rationale for personal investments, provides an overview of the investments industry and introduces students to the range of personal investments funds. In addition, the course provides an introduction to investment concepts and macroeconomic analysis, and provides students with a framework for evaluating portfolios in terms of their diversification, management and performance.


On successful completion of this course, students should be able to:

  1. describe the range of investment alternatives in Australia
  2. explain what a managed investment is and the different types of managed investments operating in Australia together with their risk and return characteristics
  3. discuss the Australian legal framework within which the managed investments industry operates
  4. explain the structure of unit trusts and related investment vehicles and outline the various fees that apply
  5. analyse the taxation and social security issues relating to personal investments
  6. discuss macroeconomic factors relevant to personal investments
  7. explain the key concepts of portfolio construction, diversification and the applicable risk and return characteristics
  8. discuss the key concepts of portfolio management and performance evaluation
  9. demonstrate an ability to learn from feedback on assessment and through interaction with others
  10. demonstrate the literacy skills required of a financial services professional by reading and demonstrating an understanding of an investment performance report, risk analysis or star rating
  11. demonstrate relevant numeracy skills by applying risk/return analysis to compare the performance of different investments.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Understanding investments and investment alternatives 10.00
2. Managed investments: an overview 20.00
3. Return and risk and other investment concepts 20.00
4. Macroeconomics and market analysis 15.00
5. Portfolio construction and management 20.00
6. Portfolio performance evaluation 15.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

  • Gitman, L, Joehnk, M, Juchau, R, Wheldon, B & Wright, S 2004, Fundamentals of investing, 2nd edn, Pearson Education, Frenchs Forest, New South Wales.
    (Australian edition.)

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
  • Australian master financial planning guide 2010/11, 13th edn, CCH Australia, North Ryde, New South Wales.
  • Brailsford, T, Heaney, R & Bilson, C 2011, Investments: concepts and applications, 4th edn, Cengage Learning, South Melbourne, Victoria.
  • Jones, C, Shamsuddin, A & Simpson, K 2006, Investments: analysis and management, 2nd edn, John Wiley & Sons, Milton, Queensland.
    (Australian edition.)
  • Reilly, FK & Brown, KC 2009, Investment analysis and portfolio management, 9th edn, South-Western Cengage Learning, Mason, Ohio.

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Assessments 25.00
Directed Study 50.00
Private Study 90.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Objectives assessed Graduate skill Level assessed Notes
QUIZZES 100 10 19 Jul 2011 All U2,U3 2,2 (see note 1)
ASSIGNMENT 100 30 03 Oct 2011 All U2,U3,U4,U9 2,2,2,2
EXAM A (MULTIPLE CHOICE) 20 12 End S2 All U2,U3 2,2 (see note 2)
EXAM B (SHORT ANSWER & ESSAY) 80 48 End S2 All U2,U3,U4 2,2,2

  1. These quizzes are to be administered throughout the semester and are to be completed online through the Study Desk. Refer to the Introductory Book for details.
  2. The examination is scheduled to be held in the end-of-semester examination period. Students will be advised of the official examination date for Exam (A and B) after the timetable has been finalised. The total working time for Exam (A and B) is 2 hours.

Graduate qualities and skills

Elements of the following USQ Graduate Skills are associated with the sucessful completion of this course.
Problem solving (U2)Intermediate (Level 2)
Academic, professional and digital literacy (U3)Intermediate (Level 2)
Written and oral communication (U4)Intermediate (Level 2)
Creativity, initiative and enterprise (U9)Intermediate (Level 2)

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    If you are an international student in Australia, you are advised to attend all classes at your campus. For all other students, there are no attendance requirements for this course. However, it is the students' responsibility to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete an individual assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks. (Depending upon the requirements in Statement 4 below, students may not have to satisfactorily complete each assessment item to receive a passing grade in this course.)

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    If students submit assignments after the due date without prior approval of the examiner, then a penalty of 5% of the total marks gained by the student for the assignment may apply for each working day late up to ten working days at which time a mark of zero may be recorded. No assignments will be accepted after model answers have been posted.

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the aggregate of the weighted marks obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    This is a restricted examination. Candidates are allowed access to specific materials during the examination. The only materials that candidates may use in the restricted examination for this course are: writing materials (non-electronic and free from material which could give the student an unfair advantage in the examination); calculators which cannot hold textual information (students must indicate on their examination paper the make and model of any calculator(s) they use during the examination). Students are not permitted to take mobile telephones, pagers or other electronic means of communication into the examination room.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    Any Deferred or Supplementary examinations for this course will be held during the next examination period.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. Assignments: (i) The due date for an assignment is the date by which a student must despatch the assignment to the USQ. The onus is on the student to provide proof of the despatch date, if requested by the examiner. (ii) Students may be required to provide a copy of assignments submitted for assessment purposes. Such copies should be dispatched to the USQ within 24 hours of receipt of a request to do so. (iii) In accordance with university policy, the examiner may grant an extension of the due date of an assignment in extenuating circumstances. (iv) The faculty will NOT accept submission of assignments by facsimile. (v) Students who do not have regular access to postal services or who are otherwise disadvantaged by these regulations may be given special consideration. They should contact the examiner of the course to negotiate such special arrangements. (vi) In the event that a due date for an assignment falls on a local public holiday in their area, such as a show holiday, the due date for the assignment will be the next day. Students are to note on the assignment cover the date of the public holiday for the examiner's convenience.

  2. Referencing in assignments: Harvard (AGPS) is the referencing system required in this course. Students should use Harvard (AGPS) style in their assignments to format details of the information sources they have cited in their work. The Harvard (AGPS) style to be used is defined by the USQ Library's referencing guide at <//>.

  3. Course weightings: Course weightings of topics should not be interpreted as applying to the number of marks allocated to questions testing those topics in an examination paper. The examination may test material already tested in assignments.

  4. Dishonest actions: (i) Any student who is alleged to have performed a dishonest action relating to any assessment in the course will have a course of action taken against him/her as outlined in the academic regulations. (ii) Pieces of assessment should be the work of individual students. Joint pieces of assessment are not permitted unless written approval has been obtained from the examiner. (iii) Dishonest action in relation to assessment includes: copying or attempting to copy the work of others; use of or attempting to use information prohibited from use in that form of assessment; submitting the work of another as your own; consciously committing acts of plagiarism, that is, taking and using another's thoughts or writings as one's own with intent to deceive, which occurs when paragraphs, sentences, a single sentence or significant parts of a sentence which are copied directly, are not enclosed in quotation marks and appropriately footnoted or referenced in the text; direct quotations are not used, but text is paraphrased or summarised, and the source of the material is not acknowledged by footnoting or other reference in the text.

  5. Deferred work: Students who, for medical, family/personal, or employment-related reasons, are unable to complete an assignment or to sit for an examination at the scheduled time may apply to defer an assessment in a course. Such a request must be accompanied by appropriate supporting documentation. One of the following temporary grades may be awarded: IDS (Incomplete - Deferred Examination); IDM (Incomplete Deferred Make-up); IDB (Incomplete - Both Deferred Examination and Deferred Make-up).

Other requirements

  1. Computer, e-mail and Internet access: Students are required to have access to a personal computer, e-mail capabilities and Internet access to UConnect. Current details of computer requirements can be found at <//>.