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Group project instructions

FIN3103A/FIN3703A Financial Markets
Semester I, AY 2021/2022
Group project
Financial markets are very fast evolving. Important current issues are not covered in
textbooks. The objectives of the group project is to help students to:
gain knowledge and a better understanding of the important current issues and
development in financial markets;
develop skills in searching, filtering, gathering, organizing, and analyzing
develop their own opinions with regard to the impact and implication of issues;
develop an interest and a sharp acumen for financial news and the skills and
confidence in conveying information and expressing views with regard to the issues.
Topics and grouping
There are 8 topics. Each group works on one topic. Groups can suggest their preferences for
project topics using LumiNUS forum. The 10 potential topics and the questions for each of
the potential topics are listed below. The instructor will make the final decision taking student
preferences into account.
Group forming: Students can sign up for project topic on LumiNUS from 10am on
Wendesday, 25 August 2021 to 10am on Friday, 27 August 2021. Each student can
sign up for one and only one project topic. This link in the LumiNUS Student Guide
shows how to sign up for a group:
https://wiki.nus.edu.sg/pages/viewpage.action?pageId=227168293. For any student(s)
not signed up for any project topic by the closing time and not opted out of the group
project1, the instructor will assign the student(s) randomly to group(s) falling short of
group members.
Group topics: Each group can declare up to 3 topic preferences on the dedicated
LumiNUS forum threads by 2pm on Friday, 27 August 2021. Each group should
submit only one response stating your group number and your preferred topic
number(s) and topic name(s). Please edit your posting if you want to make changes.
The instructor will make the final decision taking student preferences into account and
send out the list by 3pm on Friday, 27 August 2021.
Deliverables and grading
The project deliverables include a written report and a presentation with Q&As
The 23% weight of the group project in the CA assessment is further broken down into:
Individual presentation and/or Q&A, 8%
Group presentation and Q&A, 3%
Group written report, 10%
A student can choose to opt out of the group project and get 0 mark for this component. A student who
chooses to opt out of the group project should email the instructor by 10am on Friday, 27 August 2021.
Project critique, 2%
Structure and format of the written report:
The report should cover all questions listed for the topic.
The number of pages is at most 10 pages (including tables and charts but excluding
cover page, references and appendices).
The report should include a cover page which includes project topic title and number,
your section number (A1 or A2 or A3), names of your group members (full names
according to NUS matric card). The cover page will not be counted in the 10-page
The report should include a 1-page Executive Summary, placed after the cover page
in the report. The Executive Summary will be counted in the 10-page limit.
The report should be in double spacing and uses Times New Roman, font size 12.
The requirements for a good report are mainly as following:
Correct: Present the relevant facts and numbers from official sources and other
reputable sources. These sources should be clearly credited. If your report contains
any calculation, use the right formulas.
Clear: All your arguments and assumptions should be backed by clear rationale and
Complete: Answer all the questions listed for the topic in the report. Summarize your
answers to all questions in the Executive Summary in the beginning.
Coherent: different parts of the report should serve to send consistent message(s) to
your targeted audience.
The report must be submitted by 11:59pm on Friday, 8 October 2021 as a single file on
LumiNUS. The file should be named as: Report_Sectional_A“x”_Topic_“Y”, where “x”
denotes your sectional number (1 or 2) and “Y” denotes your topic number, e.g.,
“Report_Sectional_A1_Topic_IV”. If multiple files are submitted, only the last updated file
will be graded. Late group projects will be penalized by 20 percent per day (additive rather
than multiplicative, e.g., 2 days late = 40% total penalty, not 36%.).
The project critique would be due by 11:59pm on Friday, 15 October 2021. Further details
would be announced in due course.
Each group should prepare a 15-minute recorded presentation and upload the video to
LumioNUS or share a link to the video by 11:59pm on Friday, 22 October 2021. In creating
and recording the presentation, please indicate the presenter’s name on his/her part of slides,
to help the instructor evaluate the individual performance. It is not required to submit
presentation slides.
The Q&As will take place in the usual class time in week 12 over Zoom (no F2F meeting in
week 12)2. Each group has 10 minutes for Q&A.
We may convert back to F2F if the classroom capacity is relaxed at that time.
Potential topics
Private banking:
a. What is private banking?
b. How big is the industry, and who are the major players?
c. How successful has Singapore been as a private banking center?
d. Who are Singapore’s major competitors, and how has Singapore matched up
against them thus far?
e. How successful will Singapore be as a private banking center in the future?
Hedge funds:
a. How has the hedge fund industry performed in recent years?
b. What are some of the main trends and challenges of the industry?
c. How successful will Singapore be as a hedge fund center?
d. Who are Singapore’s major competitors, and how has Singapore matched up
against them thus far?
Retirement care:
a. What are the main features of Singapore’s pension system, the Central
Provident Fund (CPF)?
b. How does the CPF system match up against those in other developed
c. What other improvements would you recommend, bearing in mind the costs
and benefits?
Sovereign wealth funds:
a. What are sovereign wealth funds?
b. What are some of the concerns surrounding and challenges facing SWFs?
c. What has been done thus far to address some of these concerns?
d. How have these funds performed and what roles are they playing during the
current pandemic?
e. What are the characteristics of Singapore’s SWFs and how have they
performed thus far?
Islamic banking (or finance):
a. What is Islamic banking (or finance)?
b. How is it different from tradition banking (or finance)?
c. Where are the main markets and who are the main players in this industry?
d. How has Singapore done so far in this industry?
e. What recommendations would you offer to improve Singapore’s Islamic
banking offerings?
Digital banks:
a. What are the digital bank licenses that the Monetary Authority of Singapore
(MAS) introduced in June 2019?
b. What is the current progress of the establishment of digital banks?
c. What are the similarities and differences between digital banks and traditional
commercial banks?
d. How does the emergence of digital banks affect traditional commercial banks?
Green finance:
a. What is green finance and how does it emerge?
b. What are some green finance instruments and solutions?
c. What are the similarities and differences between green finance instruments
and traditional financial instruments?
d. Have green finance instruments been adopted widely?
e. What is the future prospect of green finance?
Benchmark interest rates
a. What are benchmark interest rates? How are they used?
b. What makes a good benchmark interest rate?
c. What is LIBOR and what is the LIBOR scandal in 2012?
d. What are SIBOR and SORA in Singapore?
e. What is the future prospect of benchmark interest rates in Singapore and
The U.S.-China tension and its impact on financial markets:
a. How did the U.S.-China tension start? What is the current status?
b. Does the U.S.-China tension affect other countries? Why or why not?
c. What impacts has the U.S.-China tension had on financial markets and
financial institutions?
d. Are there other potential impacts that can materialize in the future?
New currency developments:
a. What are digital currencies and cryptocurrencies?
b. What is the role of central banks and financial institutions (FIs) in the future of
digital currencies and cryptos?
c. What will be the role of cryptocurrencies, as a medium of exchange, in
investment and in speculation in the years to come?
NUS’ Factiva subscription provides access to paywalled articles in many newspapers
The Writing and Communication Hub (WCH), staffed by trained peer tutors, provides
free one-to-one consultations for students at every stage of their written or oral
assignment preparation. For more details, please visit the WCH website at