The following is a list of discipline courses.  The list of courses below is not final and some courses may not be offered every year.

All courses are assessed through examination and / or coursework assessment, the weightings of which are subject to approval by the Faculty Board.

COMP7103. Data mining (6 credits)

Data mining is the automatic discovery of statistically interesting and potentially useful patterns from large amounts of data.  The goal of the course is to study the main methods used today for data mining and on-line analytical processing.  Topics include data mining architecture; data preprocessing; mining association rules; classification; clustering; on-line analytical processing (OLAP); data mining systems and languages; advanced data mining (web, spatial, and temporal data).

Assessment: 50% coursework and 50% examination

COMP7305. Cluster and cloud computing (6 credits)

This course offers an overview of current cloud technologies, and discusses various issues in the design and implementation of cloud systems.  Topics include cloud delivery models (SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS) with motivating examples from Google, Amazon, and Microsoft; virtualisation techniques implemented in Xen, KVM, VMWare, and Docker; distributed file systems, such as Hadoop file system; MapReduce and Spark programming models for large-scale data analysis, networking techniques in hyper-scale data centres.  The students will learn the use of Amazon EC2 to deploy applications on cloud, and implement a novel cloud computing application on a Xen-enabled PC cluster as part of their term project.

Prerequisites:  The students are expected to install various open-source cloud software in their Linux cluster, and exercise the system configuration and administration.  Basic understanding of Linux operating system and some programming experiences (C/C++, Java, or Python) in a Linux environment are required.

Assessment: 50% coursework and 50% examination

COMP7404. Computational intelligence and machine learning (6 credits)

This course will teach a broad set of principles and tools that will provide the mathematical, algorithmic and philosophical framework for tackling problems using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML).  AI and ML are highly interdisciplinary fields with impact in different applications, such as, biology, robotics, language, economics, and computer science.  AI is the science and engineering of making intelligent machines, especially intelligent computer programs, while ML refers to the changes in systems that perform tasks associated with AI.  Ethical issues in advanced AI and how to prevent learning algorithms from acquiring morally undesirable biases will be covered.

Topics may include a subset of the following: problem solving by search, heuristic (informed) search, constraint satisfaction, games, knowledge-based agents, supervised learning, unsupervised learning; learning theory, reinforcement learning and adaptive control and ethical challenges of AI and ML.

Pre-requisites:  Nil, but knowledge of data structures and algorithms, probability, linear algebra, and programming would be an advantage.

Assessment: 50% coursework and 50% examination

COMP7408. Distributed ledger and blockchain technology (6 credits)

This course is designed to talk about the technical details of the blockchain technology (or more general, the distributed ledger technology).  The course will base on the following three major issues: security & privacy, the scalability, the decentralization property to illustrate different algorithms and data structures that have been used and researched in blockchains and distributed ledgers.  Topics include consensus algorithms, privacy-preserving technologies, and data structures.  Emerging research topics such as tracing cryptocurrencies will also be discussed.

Prerequisite: COMP7906 Introduction to cyber security or equivalent, and HKU MOOC course on “Blockchain and FinTech: Basics, Applications, and Limitations”

Assessment: 50 % coursework and 50% examination

COMP7802. Introduction to financial computing (6 credits)

This course introduces the students to different aspects of financial computing in the investment banking area.  The topics include yield curve construction in practice, financial modelling and modern risk management practice, etc.  Financial engineering is an area of growing demand.  The course is a combination of financial product knowledge, financial mathematics and computational techniques.  This course will be suitable for students who want to pursue a career in this fast growing area.

Prerequisites:   This course does not require any prior knowledge in the area of finance.  Basic calculus and numeric computational techniques are useful.  Knowledge in Excel spreadsheet operations is required to complete the assignments and final project.

Assessment: 50% coursework and 50% examination

COMP7906. Introduction to cyber security (6 credits)

The aim of the course is to introduce different methods of protecting information and data in the cyber world, including the privacy issue.  Topics include introduction to security; cyber-attacks and threats; cryptographic algorithms and applications; network security and infrastructure.

Assessment: 50% coursework and 50% examination

DASC7606. Deep learning (6 credits)

Machine learning is a fast growing field in computer science and deep learning is the cutting edge technology that enables machines to learn from large-scale and complex datasets.  Ethical implications of deep learning and its applications will be covered first and the course will focus on how deep neural networks are applied to solve a wide range of problems in areas such as natural language processing, image processing, financial predictions, game playing and robotics.  Topics covered include linear and logistic regression, artificial neural networks and how to train them, recurrent neural networks, convolutional neural networks, deep reinforcement learning, and unsupervised feature learning.  Popular deep learning software, such as TensorFlow, will also be introduced.

Assessment: 40% coursework and 60% examination

ECOM6016. Electronic payment systems (6 credits)

The course covers banking systems, e-payment security, foreign exchange, Internet banking, wireless payments, stored-value cards, micropayments, peer-to-peer payments, electronic and virtual currencies such as Bitcoin, large-scale B2B payments and the future of money.  Particular attention is given to Hong Kong and Mainland China banking and payment systems.

Assessment: 40% coursework and 60% examination

ECOM6023. E-financial services (6 credits)

This course provides students with the fundamentals of financial services in the context of e-Commerce and mobile devices.  Payment systems in general and various payment transaction systems in particular will be examined.  Similarly, eFinance has brought new concepts into e-Brokerage, e-Insurance, e-Lending and other fields.  The course covers technology, operations, customer experience as well as demonstrates how regulations and security aspects are impacted by developments like Bitcoin and Blockchain.  Studies of established banks as well as new FinTech Players serve as examples and reinforcements for many of the concepts.

Assessment: 40% coursework and 60% examination

FITE7001. Project (12 credits)

This project-based course aims to provide students with capstone experience to work on a real-world problem and carry out a substantial fintech project which requires integration of the knowledge they have learnt in the curriculum.  Students will work in small groups under the guidance of their supervisor(s).  A substantial written report is required.

Assessment: 100% coursework

FITE7405. Techniques in computational finance (6 credits)

This course introduces the major computation problems in the field of financial derivatives and various computational methods/techniques for solving these problems.  The lectures start with a short introduction on various financial derivative products, and then move to the derivation of the mathematical models employed in the valuation of these products, and finally come to the solving techniques for the models.

Pre-requisites:  No prior finance knowledge is required. Students are assumed to have basic competence in calculus and probability (up to the level of knowing the concepts of random variables, normal distributions, etc.).  Knowledge in at least one programming language is required for the assignments/final project.

Assessment: 40% coursework and 60% examination

FITE7406. Software development for quantitative finance (6 credits)

This course introduces the tools and technologies widely used in industry for building applications for Quantitative Finance.  From analysis and design to development and implementation, this course covers: modelling financial data and designing financial application using UML, a de facto industry standard for object oriented design and development; applying design patterns in financial application; basic skills on translating financial mathematics into spreadsheets using Microsoft Excel and VBA; developing Excel C++ add-ins for financial computation.

Pre-requisites:  This course assumes basic understanding of financial concepts covered in COMP7802.  Experience in C++/C programming is required.

Assessment: 50% coursework and 50% examination

FITE7407. Securities transaction banking (6 credits)

The course introduces the business and technology scenarios in the field of Transaction Banking for financial markets.  It balances the economic and financial considerations for products and markets with the organisational and technological requirements to successfully implement a banking function in this scenario and is a crossover between studies of economics, finance and information technology.

Assessment: 40% coursework and 60% examination

FITE7409. Blockchain and Cryptocurrency (6 credits)

This course is for students who are not computer science majors.  In this course, students will learn the rationales behind the design of blockchain and cryptocurrency, the key technical / cryptographic elements that build up the blockchain technology, classifications of different types of blockchains, the comparisons of different blockchain platforms, what applications fit the best for the blockchain technology, and example applications in a wide range of disciplines.  This course will also introduce some popular cryptocurrencies, e.g. Bitcoin, discuss in details about bitcoin transactions, briefly introduce what a cryptocurrency exchange is, and the evil sides of cryptocurrencies (e.g. being the ransoms of ransomware and money laundry).

Assessment: 50% coursework and 50% examination

FITE7410. Financial fraud analytics (6 credits)

This course aims at introducing various analytics techniques to fight against financial fraud.  These analytics techniques include descriptive analytics, predictive analytics, and social network learning.  Various data sets will also be introduced, including labelled or unlabelled data sets, and social network data set.  Students learn the fraud patterns through applying the analytics techniques in financial frauds, such as, insurance fraud, credit card fraud, etc.

Assessment: 40% coursework and 60% examination

FITE7801. Topics in financial technology (6 credits)

Selected topics in financial technology that are of current interest will be discussed.

Assessment: 50% coursework and 50% examination

IELM7018. Financial engineering (6 credits)

Basics of financial markets; cash flow analysis; capital asset pricing model (CAPM); portfolio optimisation; arbitrage and fundamental theorem of asset pricing; types of derivatives including forward, futures and options for various underlying assets; returns, value-at-risk (VaR), utility functions; pricing and hedging of derivative securities; numerical studies.

Assessment: 30% coursework and 70% examination

LLAW6046. Privacy and data protection (9 credits)

This course will explore privacy and data protection in an increasingly interconnected data economy.  Reference will be made to the balance between privacy on the one hand and other rights as well as public and social interests on the other.  The challenges posed by technological innovations and applications such as the internet, social media, mobile applications, cloud computing and Big Data will be highlighted.  Specific topics to be addressed will include: (a) the concept of ‘privacy’ and the genesis and development of its political, philosophical and economic underpinnings; (b) existing common law and statutory protection: the equitable remedy for breach of confidence, defamation, copyright, the intentional infliction of emotional distress, the public interest, remedies; (c) the protection of ‘personal information’: Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance, data protection principles, data access and correction rights, regulation of direct marketing, transborder data flow, Interception of Communications and Surveillance Ordinance, Electronic Health Record Sharing System Ordinance; (d) Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data: powers, functions, enforcement, exemptions, from data protection principles.  The course will focus on the Hong Kong situation but reference will be made to relevant international human rights instruments and the global and regional trends and developments.

Assessment: 40% research assignment and 60% take home examination

LLAW6093. Regulation of financial markets (9 credits)

Designed for students considering or planning to work in the financial sector, this is an overview perspective course, for students without financial background.  Specifically, the course will examine, from legal and policy perspectives, the fundamentals respecting regulation of the primary financial intermediaries and markets: i.e., money and banking, investment banking, and asset management and insurance.  Emphasis will be on the on-going phenomenon of globalisation and interdependence/interconnection of financial markets and intermediaries, and the need for economies to develop viable and robust financial markets, with a particular focus on the current global financial crisis. Use of international, comparative (especially PRC, US and EU) and interdisciplinary materials will be made.

Assessment: 80% take home examination, 20% group research project and in-class group presentation

LLAW6126. e-Finance: law, compliance and technology challenges (9 credits)

The overall aim of this is to help students understand how regulatory compliance and enforcement processes are being transformed by increased global competition and accelerating technological innovation in financial markets.

Topics covered will include how the role of information technology in the delivery of modern financial services has evolved over time as well as how recent developments in information technology are transforming compliance processes inside firms and enforcement efforts of regulators.

The impact of digital transformation of compliance in financial services on law firms, legal departments in companies, government attorneys, compliance managers, internal and external auditors, and system administrators will be considered.

A case study examining the impact of global competition and technology innovation on data protection/information privacy compliance efforts under Hong Kong, European Union and US law will be used to integrate theoretical and practical perspectives on the delivery of e-finance services.

Assessment: 10% class participation, 40% coursework and 50% take home examination

LLAW6256. Law of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing and compliance issues (9 credits)

Money laundering and terrorist financing are examples of financial crimes that can, among other things, undermine the integrity and stability of financial institutions and the economic system at large, deter foreign investment, and distort international capital flows.  Money launderers and terrorist financiers are now deploying increasingly sophisticated methods and schemes to disguise and achieve their illicit purposes, and are particularly attracted to exploit those jurisdictions with weak or ineffective anti-money laundering (“AML”) and counter-terrorist financing (“CTF”) controls.  Thus, developing a solid and comprehensive understanding of the concepts of money laundering and terrorist financing as well as keeping abreast of the respective regulatory frameworks are crucial to appreciating and managing such risks and challenges in the context of a financial services business.

This course is designed to not only provide students with an overview of the legal and regulatory aspects of AML and CTF, but also to equip students with practical skills and best practices to detecting and managing these types of financial crime risks in a financial institution setting.  To achieve these objectives, this course is made up of three main modules.  The first module explores the concepts and typologies of money laundering and terrorist financing.  These concepts will be contextualised against the international efforts that been deployed to combat these illicit activities.  The Hong Kong AML and CTF framework, and the roles of the respective enforcement agencies, will also be discussed.  The second module examines the key components of a sound AML and CTF compliance programme in a financial institution.  The way how this programme should be embedded within the broader internal control, risk management, and governance framework will 36 also be considered.  The third module focuses on some thematic issues of an AML and CTF compliance programme, including customer due diligence, escalation and exit strategies, suspicious activities, suspicious transaction reporting, and dealing with customers and regulators.

In this course, students will be learning through different activities.  Besides the lecture component, students will be provided with an opportunity to deliver presentations and participate in in-class discussion on different case studies and court cases.  Where appropriate, practitioners in the relevant field will be invited to share with students their experience and insights on how different AML and CTF issues come into play and handled in practice.

Assessment: 80% take home examination and 20% group presentation

MFIN7002. Investment analysis and portfolio management (6 credits)

This course aims to provide candidates with understanding of (i) fundamental knowledge for asset valuation, (ii) portfolio management techniques for risk management and speculation, (iii) investment strategies adopted in financial market, and (iv) the recent development of portfolio management tools and investment strategies.  On the theoretical side, this course introduces fundamental knowledge for asset pricing, investment strategies, and portfolio management.  On the practical side, this course covers recent topics that are related to the investment strategies and portfolio management in both Hong Kong and United States.  Some projects about portfolio management and asset valuation are specially designed to let candidates apply the theoretical knowledge into practice.  This course is highly recommended for candidates who intend to pursue a career or further studies in investment strategies and portfolio management.  Of course, the knowledge will also be very useful when candidates make their own personal investment decision.

Assessment: 50% coursework and 50% examination

MFIN7034. Machine learning and artificial intelligence in finance (6 credits)

Machine learning and artificial intelligence are the apex technologies of the information era. These methods are getting increasingly popular in the financial market. This course provides students the fundamental models and methods of machine learning and apply them to solve real-world financial problems. The topics include regression, classification, clustering methods, model selection, topic modelling and policy search. The first part of the course focuses on supervised learning techniques for regression and classification. The second part of the course covers unsupervised learning techniques for clustering and matrix factorisation. The third part of the course covers reinforcement learning algorithm. The last part provides the fundamental concepts of artificial intelligence and its implications. The course provides introductions to the latest datasets in financial markets and practices applying learning algorithms to these datasets in a variety of topics. The primary mode of learning is based on assignments and projects.

Assessment: 70% coursework and 30% examination

MFIN7037. Quantitative trading (6 credits)

This course provides a foundation for advanced quantitative trading in financial markets.  The course has two parts.  First, the course reviews stylised facts and methods used for time-series predictability, cross-sectional asset pricing and strategy performance evaluation.  The second part of the course uses these tools to study recent advances in investment strategies sourcing from academic and practitioner literature.  For example, the course will discuss new theories on risk premia, intermediation-based asset pricing, and quantifiable soft information and alternative data.  The primary method of learning will be a combination of problem sets and projects.  Subject to availability, learning will be supplemented with exposure to industry speakers from the local financial industry.

Prerequisite: MFIN7002 Investment Analysis and Portfolio Management

Assessment: 100% coursework

STAT6013. Financial data analysis (6 credits)

This course aims at introducing statistical methodologies in analysing financial data. Financial applications and statistical methodologies are intertwined in all lectures.  Contents include: recent advances in modern portfolio theory, copula, market microstructure and high frequency data analysis.

Assessment: 40% coursework and 60% examination

STAT6015. Advanced quantitative risk management and finance (6 credits)

This course covers statistical methods and models of importance to risk management and finance and links finance theory to market practice via statistical modelling and decision making.  Emphases will be put on empirical analyses to address the discrepancy between finance theory and market data.  Contents include: Elementary Stochastic Calculus; Basic Monte Carlo and Quasi-Monte Carlo Methods; Variance Reduction Techniques; Simulating the value of options and the value-at-risk for risk management; Review of univariate volatility models; multivariate volatility models; Value-at-risk and expected shortfall; estimation, back-testing and stress testing; Extreme value theory for risk management.

Assessment: 25% coursework and 75% examination

STAT8020. Quantitative strategies and algorithmic trading (6 credits)

Quantitative trading is a systematic investment approach that consists of identification of trading opportunities via statistical data analysis and implementation via computer algorithms.  This course introduces various methodologies that are commonly employed in quantitative trading.

The first half of the course focuses at strategies and methodologies derived from the data snapshotted at daily or minute frequency.  Some specific topics are: (1) techniques for trading trending and mean-reverting instruments, (2) statistical arbitrage and pairs trading, (3) detection of “time-series” mean reversion or stationarity, (4) cross-sectional momentum and contrarian strategies, (5) back-testing methodologies and corresponding performance measures, and (6) Kelly formula, money and risk management.  The second half of the course discusses statistical models of high frequency data and related trading strategies.  Topics that planned to be covered are: (7) introduction of market microstructure, (8) stylised features and models of high frequency transaction prices, (9) limit order book models, (10) optimal execution and smart order routing algorithms, and (11) regulation and compliance issues in algorithmic trading.

Pre-requisites: Pass in STAT6013 Financial data analysis or equivalent

Assessment: 60% coursework and 40% examination

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