Your feedback is important to us
Please take two minutes at the end of your visit to help us improve our information and services.
Skip to content The Open University

Personal investment in an uncertain world

On this page

Why, where and how should I invest? How are these decisions affected by economic uncertainty? What is the relationship between risk and return? These are some of the questions addressed in Personal investment in an uncertain world. Investment planning requires financial decisions about the allocation of resources in a world of uncertainties that affect the value of pensions, shares and bonds. You’ll learn how to understand the sources of uncertainty, the way that financial service providers adapt to it and how individuals form personal strategies to manage it.

Modules at Level 2 assume that you are suitably prepared for study at this level. If you want to take a single module to satisfy your career development needs or pursue particular interests, you don’t need to start at Level 1 but you do need to have adequately prepared yourself for OU study in some other way. Check with our Student Registration & Enquiry Service to make sure that you are sufficiently prepared.

Register for the course


Start End Fee Register
03 May 2014 Oct 2014
-
Choose country above

Registration now closed

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

04 Oct 2014 Mar 2015
£440.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2018.
Start End Fee Register
03 May 2014 Oct 2014
-
Choose country above

Registration now closed

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

04 Oct 2014 Mar 2015
£985.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2018.
Start End Fee Register
03 May 2014 Oct 2014
-
Choose country above

Registration now closed

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

04 Oct 2014 Mar 2015
See description
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2018.
Start End Fee Register
03 May 2014 Oct 2014
-
Choose country above

Registration now closed

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

04 Oct 2014 Mar 2015
£440.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2018.
Start End Fee Register
03 May 2014 Oct 2014
-
Choose country above

Registration now closed

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

04 Oct 2014 Mar 2015
£440.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2018.
Start End Fee Register
03 May 2014 Oct 2014
-
Choose country above

Registration now closed

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

04 Oct 2014 Mar 2015
£865.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2018.
Start End Fee Register
03 May 2014 Oct 2014
-
Choose country above

Registration now closed

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

04 Oct 2014 Mar 2015
£1316.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2018.
Start End Fee Register
03 May 2014 Oct 2014
-
Choose country above

Registration now closed

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

04 Oct 2014 Mar 2015
£1316.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2018.
Start End Fee Register
03 May 2014 Oct 2014
-
Choose country above

Registration now closed

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

04 Oct 2014 Mar 2015
£440.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2018.
Start End Fee Register
03 May 2014 Oct 2014
-
Choose country above

Registration now closed

See below for information about part time tuition fee loans available for study towards a qualification.

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

04 Oct 2014 Mar 2015
£1316.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2018.
Start End Fee Register
03 May 2014 Oct 2014
-
Choose country above

Registration now closed

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

The deadline for financial support applications has now passed. Find out about ways to pay for a standalone course.

04 Oct 2014 Mar 2015
£440.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2018.

*Fees may vary by country.

What you will study

The course is taught through three broad themes aimed at helping you understand the concepts that underpin investment planning.

The first theme looks at risk and return. The main building blocks of investment are savings (cash), bonds, shares and property. All of them – even cash which is particularly vulnerable to inflation – involve risks.  You will be shown how to build a portfolio, using financial and economic modelling (such as the Capital Asset Pricing Model), that manages and spreads risk while pursuing higher returns. You will explore and critique how economic theories have shaped the investment funds on offer to the public, and learn how to interpret published information about these funds.

The second theme looks at uncertainty and change. Some events that have a critical impact on investments cannot be predicted. Socio-economic changes can increase the uncertainty that surrounds investment decisions. This theme explores the importance to personal investment of economic forces, government policies, ageing populations, and unforeseen events.

The third theme looks at regulation and ethics. Investors need to be assured that financial institutions and the wider financial system are safe. They also need to be confident that providers and sellers of financial products are behaving in an ethical way.  But, as with most things, there is a cost to regulation. How much regulation is enough? Does regulation deliver enough benefits to justify its cost?

The course is delivered using a textbook and the virtual learning environment (VLE). The VLE, which accounts for roughly half of the study materials has:

  • exciting audio-visual trigger topics that relate the study material to important economic events such as bank crashes, stock market bubbles and pension crises
  • stimulating interactive online activities to consolidate your learing
  • an Investment Tool that performs most of the required numerical analysis for you.

However you will be introduced to a small amount of straightforward arithmetic that will help you understand the underlying mechanisms and assumptions underpinning investment theories.

Taken together, the knowledge and understanding you gain from studying Personal investment in an uncertain world will deliver two types of crucial skills: skills that are highly practical and relevant in your everyday life, and key practical and professional skills that are essential for a career in the financial services industry.

Although you will acquire knowledge and skills that may help you in your own investment planning, you should be aware, however, that this course does not give personal investment advice.

Vocational relevance

This course is appropriate if you wish to understand or manage your own investments. However, it also has particular relevance if you are working in, or aiming to work in, the financial services industry. It teaches crucial knowledge and skills supporting investment planning, and encourages a thoughtful and ethical approach to their application. It is a compulsory module in the Foundation Degree in Financial Services and Diploma of Higher Education in Financial Services. 

Entry

The Level 1 course You and your money: personal finance in context (DB123) is an excellent preparation for this course.

Personal investment in an uncertain world is a Level 2 course and you need the general study techniques appropriate to Level 2 study, such as engaging with the argument of the text and taking notes; the ability to extract information from different sources, including tables and graphs; handling evidence in support of arguments; and making critical analyses of topics. 

The course does not assume that you have mathematics beyond elementary arithmetic, but will introduce additional techniques including understanding graphs, diagrams, and the occasional elementary equation. It also introduces you to basic statistical concepts (standard deviation and correlation), but you will not be required to calculate these for yourself as an online Investment Tool is provided.

If you have any doubt about the suitability of the course, please contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service.

Regulations

As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the Module Regulations and the Student Regulations which are available on our Essential documents website.

If you have a disability

Written transcripts of any audio components and Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) versions of printed material are available. Some Adobe PDF components may not be available or fully accessible using a screen reader and the Investment Tool will probably not be readable in this way. As the course contains complex and interactive online tutorials featuring detailed diagrams, the use of an assistant may be helpful to some students with visual and/or motor impairments. Comb-bound versions of the printed study materials can be provided on request. Other alternative formats of the study materials may be available in the future. Our Services for disabled students website has the latest information about availability.

Because approximately half of the course is delivered online you will need to make extensive use of a personal computer and the internet. If you use specialist hardware or software to assist you in operating a computer or have concerns about accessing the technological tools on this course you are advised to talk to the Student Registration & Enquiry Service about support which can be given to meet your needs.

If you have particular study requirements please tell us as soon as possible, as some of our support services may take several weeks to arrange. Visit our Services for disabled students website for more information, including:

  • help to determine your study requirements and how to request the support that you need  
  • Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs)
  • using a computer for OU study
  • equipment and other support services that we offer
  • examination arrangements
  • how to contact us for advice and support both before you register and while you are studying.

Study materials

What's included

Textbook and the website (VLE), which includes audio-visual material, skills support, tutorial and financial tools.

Computing requirements

You will need a computer with internet access to study this course as it includes online activities, which you can access using a web browser.

  • If you have purchased a new desktop or laptop computer since 2007 you should have no problems completing the online activities.
  • If you’ve got a netbook, tablet or other mobile computing device check our Technical requirements section.
  • If you use an Apple Mac you will need OS X 10.6 or later.

You can also visit the Technical requirements section for further computing information including the details of the support we provide.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will have a tutor who will help you with study material and mark and comment on your written work, and whom you can ask for advice and guidance with your studies. There will be group tutorials that you are encouraged but not obliged to attend. Where your tutorials are held will depend on the number of students doing the course locally to you.

Contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.

Assessment

The assessment details for this course can be found in the facts box above.

You can choose whether to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) on paper or online through the eTMA system. You may want to use the eTMA system for some of your assignments but submit on paper for others. This is entirely your choice. The end-of-module assessment (EMA) may be submitted on paper or online.

Future availability

The details given here are for the course that starts in May 2014. We expect it to be available again in October 2014. We then expect it to be available once a year, in October.

How to register

To register a place on this course return to the top of the page and use the Click to register button.

Student Reviews

“Was not what I expected, I had studied DB123 before and received a distinction. I undertook this course as I ...”
Read more
“DB234 was a great course. I loved it, the reading was enjoyable and not too heavy. My tutor was always ...”
Read more

Distance learning

The Open University is the world’s leading provider of flexible, high quality distance learning. Unlike other universities we are not campus based. You will study in a flexible way that works for you whether you’re at home, at work or on the move. As an OU student you’ll be supported throughout your studies – your tutor or study adviser will guide and advise you, offer detailed feedback on your assignments, and help with any study issues. Tuition might be in face-to-face groups, via online tutorials, or by phone.

For more information read Distance learning explained.

Are you already an OU student ? Go to StudentHome for information on choosing your next module.
Course facts
About this course:
Course code DB234
Credits 30
OU Level 2
SCQF level 8
FHEQ level 5
Course work includes:
3 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
End-of-module assessment
No residential school

Your questions

Try our frequently asked questions.

Come and meet us at an event near you.

Or contact an adviser by Email or call +44(0) 845 300 60 90 +44(0) 845 366 60 35

Employers' questions

Contact Corporate Enquiries
Visit our website for employers or Email us

Get a prospectus

Download or
order