Alternative Investments

  • Summer schools
  • Department of Finance
  • Application code SS-FM230
  • Starting 2022
  • Short course: Open
  • Location: Houghton Street, London

In an era of significant institutional and individual market turmoil, investors must look beyond traditional investment vehicles such as bonds and shares. A substantial increase in the price of gold is just one example of a successful alternative investment at work. From hedge funds and private equity, to venture capital funds, real estate and commodities, this course explores how alternative investments can be used as vehicles for growth.

Through a combination of theory, guest lectures and application through empirical exercises, this course allows you to gain practical experience in alternative investments. You will learn to identify what the return-risk characteristics of alternative investments are, what drives their appeal, how to understand related technical publications, and how to construct a portfolio using them.

Through interactive classes that allow you to get hands-on experience using data, you will apply the theory to real-world situations including measuring the risks of investment portfolios, evaluating a leveraged buyout deal and analysing the profitability of a venture capital deal. 

Session: One  - CLOSED
Dates: 20 June - 8 July 2022
Lecturer: Dr Hongda Zhong and Dr Huan Tang

Session: Three 
Dates: 1 August - 19 August 2022
Lecturer: Dr Hongda Zhong and Dr Huan Tang


Programme details

Key facts

Level: 200 level. Read more information on levels in our FAQs

Fees:  Please see Fees and payments

Lectures: 36 hours 

Classes: 18 hours

Assessment*: Two examinations

Typical credit*: 3-4 credits (US) 7.5 ECTS points (EU)

*Assessment is optional but may be required for credit by your home institution. Your home institution will be able to advise how you can meet their credit requirements.

For more information on exams and credit, read Teaching and assessment


Basic mathematics and statistics. Introductory Finance (to the level of FM250or Introductory Microeconomics (to the level of EC101).

Key topics

  • Overview of alternative investments
  • Due diligence, risk management and regulation
  • Hedge Funds
  • Commodities and Managed Futures
  • Venture Capital (VC) and raising funds
  • Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) and Leveraged Buyouts (LBOs)
  • Financing, valuation, leverage and exit strategies
  • Real Estate and Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)
  • Securitisation and Mortgage Backed Securities (MBSs)

Programme structure and assessment

This course is delivered through a combination of lectures, guest speaker lectures, class discussions and readings. As part of classwork, students will be encouraged to work with data, using Excel, to apply the theory to real-world scenarios.

The course is assessed through two written examinations. One mid-session examination (40%) and one final examination (60%). In preparation for the examinations, students will be given problem sets throughout the course, the solutions to which will be discussed in class.

Further details will be provided at the beginning of the course.

Course outcomes

  • Understand the return-risk characteristics of different alternative investments
  • Apply the course theory to measure the risks attached to different investment portfolios
  • Calculate the alphas of hedge fund strategies
  • Evaluate a leveraged buyout deal and venture capital deal

Is this course right for you?

This course is ideal if you are wanting to pursue a career in the financial services industry or wish to develop your own investment portfolio. The course will help you develop practical approaches using industry examples that will prepare you for roles in finance, such as in hedge funds, venture capital, private equity or trading. It is equally applicable to develop the skills needed for further academic study in this field.

Your department

LSE’s Department of Finance ranks among the most prestigious in the world. The Department, along with the Departments of Accounting and Management, was ranked as the UK leader for Business and Management Studies in the most recent Research Excellence Framework.

Students have privileged access to renowned LSE faculty, global thought-leaders and some of the foremost researchers in their field. The Department is devoted to excellence in teaching and research on subjects including corporate finance, asset pricing theory, risk management, empirical analysis of capital markets, behavioural finance, portfolio analysis, derivatives pricing, microstructure and financial econometrics. From foundation level to advanced courses, students build real-world skills and gain exposure to critical issues, questions and state-of-the-art thinking on the most relevant topics.

Your faculty

Dr Hongda Zhong 
Assistant Professor of Finance, Department of Finance

Dr Huan Tang 
Assistant Professor of Finance, Department of Finance

Reading materials

"Handbook of Alternative Assets", by Mark J. P. Anson, John Wiley & Sons (2006).

*A more detailed reading list will be supplied prior to the start of the programme

**Course content, faculty and dates may be subject to change without prior notice

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