Powerful Money: Hedge Funds, Leverage and Risk

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts
Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

Michael Roberts is the William H. Lawrence Professor of Finance at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Professor Roberts investigates the determination of corporate capital structure and payout policy, and their impact on corporate investment and equity returns. More recently, Professor Roberts has begun investigating the impact of government policies on corporate behavior. His research has received several awards including two Brattle Prize Awards for Distinguished Paper in the Journal of Finance, and best paper awards at the Financial Management Association’s and Southwestern Finance Association’s annual meetings. In 2012, he was honored as a Rising Star in Finance by Fordham University. Professor Roberts is the co-editor of the Journal of Finance and serves on numerous editorial boards. In addition to his research, Professor Roberts has won multiple teaching awards instructing undergraduates, MBAs, PhDs, and executives.

Overview

Finance is often viewed as an intimidating subject laden with jargon and mathematics that can mask the beauty and practicality of the subject. The truth is that finance is based on a few principles that are easy to understand and fun to apply. This class will introduce some of these principles – arbitrage, leverage, risk and return – using a popular institutional trading strategy as an illustrative vehicle.

We will begin by presenting the strategy in a stylized setting that is void of financial jargon to provide the intuition for these principles. We will then draw parallels from this setting to the financial markets in which these principles operate, closing the session by highlighting the widespread applicability of these principles. The goal of the course is to demystify finance by breaking it down into its fundamental building blocks. In doing so, students will exit the course understanding several key concepts in finance and their application, as well as with a better ability to "think financially."

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