Research shows that UK households are poor at investment management with a limited understanding of investment choices, risks, and returns. The resultant ‘savings gap’ suggests a scenario where many cannot afford to retire. Elsewhere, households fail to plan properly to make their investment choices fit with their risk appetites and the time horizons for access to their funds. The Finance Fundamentals: Investment Theory and Practice free online course aims to help you avoid these personal finance troubles.

About the course

In this course, you will study the various investment choices and the returns and risks associated with different products. You will also study investment strategies and how to ensure your approach to investment is consistent with your risk-return appetite. You will look at how to avoid the individual and group behavioural traits that can impair effective investment decision making.

Throughout the course will provide recent and current case studies on investment issues to demonstrate how the ideas and problems explored in the course are manifested by episodes in the world of personal investments.

The facilitated 4-week course is right up-to-date and includes coverage of the current reforms to pensions rolled out in 2015 – changes that have radically changed the way many will use their pension savings as they move into retirement.

The MOOC aims to give you the knowledge and confidence to take charge of your investments and your financial future.

This course has been developed by The Open University Business School – a pioneering institution that is triple accredited by AMBA, EQUIS, and AACSB. It is one of eight from The Open University, designed to help you gain fundamental business and financial skills, including communication, networking, relationship building, project management, personal financial planning and management, investment and financial services.

You can complete this course as part of one of these two programmes:

Finance Fundamentals: four courses, which will give you valuable skills to manage finances at home and at work, and enable you to earn a FutureLearn Award.

Business and Finance Fundamentals: eight courses; holders of FutureLearn Certificates of Achievement for all eight courses can earn 30 UK credits towards The Open University Business School’s BA in Business Management by passing a linked Open University assessment module (requiring separate OU registration and fee).

This course has been adapted from original material created by The Open University’s True Potential Centre for the Public Understanding of Finance.

What you will learn

By the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • Explore the different types of personal investments and the returns they offer;
  • Identify and to understand the key investment management theories;
  • Identify investment management practices;
  • Explore and review recent investment management stories;
  • Identify and to understand the impact of behavioural factors on investment decision-making.


For further information about registration, the final assessment course, your eligibility and the BA in Business Management, visit the Open University website. The Open University does not operate in Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria. This means that Learners based in those countries will not be able to convert their participation in this programme to Open University course credits.

About the instructor

Martin Upton is director of the True Potential Centre for the Public Understanding of Finance (PUFin) at the OU Business School. Previously he was treasurer of the Nationwide Building Society.

Starting date: 26 June, 2017

Duration: 4 weeks, 3 hours per week

Language: English

Instructors: Martin Upton

Institution: The Open University