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This content is taken from the The Open University & The Open University Business School's online course, Finance Fundamentals: Investment Theory and Practice. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 0 seconds MARTIN UPTON: I’m Martin Upton from the Open University’s true potential center. Welcome to the first week of finance fundamentals, investment theory and practice, the course that aims to help you align your investment strategy with your future financial needs. In this first week, we’ll start by looking at how you can apply a planning model to match your investment activities to your needs and your risk appetite. We then move on to look in detail at the variety of investment types or asset classes available to personal investors. We look first at the different types of savings accounts before moving on to look at bonds and shares.

Skip to 0 minutes and 43 seconds We then focus on the way that personal investments can be made in various types of investment funds and how these funds enable even small amounts of money to be spread over a range of individual investments. We’ll examine investing in property, too. And the UK has experienced a marked increase in recent years in the numbers investing in property, which is then let out or leased out to renters. We’ll look at investments in commodities and the different ways that this can be undertaken. And we’ll examine the growing business of investing in so-called peer to peer products. These enable you to lend directly to individuals and companies without the intermediation of banks.

Skip to 1 minute and 24 seconds We can’t examine the process of investing without covering the sometimes controversial issue of the costs involved, particularly the fees paid to fund managers, as well as taxation that applies to investment returns, such as income taxation of interest and share dividends. We also look at the issue about whether or not to take professional advice about your investments. Advice does normally result in the payment of fees. But are the fees worth it? Or should you be making your own decisions? By the end of this week, you’ll have a good understanding of the spectrum of assets you can invest in. Enjoy the week.

Introduction to investments and investment planning

Martin Upton is your Lead Educator and guide through the course. He is Director of the True Potential Centre for the Public Understanding of Finance, based at The Open University Business School. He’ll meet you at the start of each week to tip you off about highlights and challenges, to remind you of what you’ve learned and to help you make the most of these four weeks of learning about investments.

In this first week of ‘Finance Fundamentals: Investment Theory and Practice’, we explores the rationale for investing and the range of mainstream savings and investment products available to the personal investor.

We also introduce the four-stage investment decision-making model that you will be using at various stages in this course.

The coverage of the spectrum of personal investments includes savings accounts, shares, bonds, property, commodities and investment funds. You’ll also examine new types of investments, like pensioner bonds, peer-to-peer and crowd lending.

The week also includes coverage of the costs associated with investing, including the fees that may be paid to investment managers, and the taxation of investment returns.

You’ll also look at the concept of the government bond yield curve and the importance of this yield curve to investment management.

By the end of the week you will understand the features and risks of the products available in the personal investment ‘supermarket’.

This course is one of eight available in the Business and Finance Fundamentals program. Successful completion of all eight can lead to academic credit at Level 1 of The Open University’s Business Management BA degree, subject to registration and separate fee for a linked Open University assessment module.

A note about financial advice

This course provides the information, frameworks and financial planning guidance needed to manage your finances and to assist in making financial decisions.

However, course contents do not constitute ‘advice’ with regard to which specific financial products you should use or which financial services providers you should do business with. Consequently the course educators and mentors cannot answer questions about matters relating to such financial advice.

If you need specific individual financial advice, you should contact an authorised financial firm or financial adviser.

This course has been adapted from original material created by The Open University’s True Potential Centre for the Public Understanding of Finance, and was made possible thanks to the generous support of True Potential LLP.

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Finance Fundamentals: Investment Theory and Practice

The Open University