The IFS Coursework consists mainly of a 4,000 word essay. The essay is marked according to QCF level 4 relevant academic standards (equivalent to the first year of a degree course). As part of this, a bibliography meeting the required academic format is mandatory. There are also three additional short questions on other topics.
The Coursework due for the end of January 2016 focuses on economics – OK it doesn’t actually say that but it is at heart an economics essay plus further work on investing! You are writing an article for a magazine issued by a firm of solicitors and the potential audience is defined as “higher earners” who hold investments. This blog covers some basic ideas about how to tackle this tough assignment. However, there is no substitute for hard work and study!
So, what is this Coursework all about? Well, if you hadn’t noticed, there have been a lot of significant economic events over the last few years, and those events plus the political and economic decisions that have followed them have had a major impact on investment markets. The essay asks you to concentrate on the last 12 months.
You could talk about the economic ‘slow-down’ in China; the stalling of growth in the Eurozone and Japan; the re-emergence of growth in the USA and some other countries including the UK and Germany; the on-going Quantitative Easing in the US/UK/Eurozone and Japan; record low or negative interest rates; record low inflation or deflation; the global expansion in credit; and so it goes on…
You might then talk about the impact on investment markets and then the potential impact on people’s investments.
Don’t forget to think about different types of investments, investment products, and portfolio construction including risk, taxation and suitability, that individual clients or potential clients may hold. Given the audience taxation is likely to be a key consideration for many candidates.
You might also want to cover professional and suitable advice.
The IFS Study Folders contain an excellent starting point for research on the technical side of investing and taxation. Significant further reading and research is also required as part of this assignment.
It is essential for candidates to understand the referencing and bibliography requirements, and focus on a solid and thought-out structure, with clear headings. (And don’t forget the other three short questions!)
For those looking for further support in addition to that provided by the IFS, why not consider booking onto the Futuretrend Distance Learning Course?
Paul Davis, BA (Hons), Cert Mgmt.(Open), Dip. PFS.