FINS1613 Business Finance - 2020

Term 3
6 Units of Credit
Banking & Finance
This course outline is for the current semester. To view outlines from other years and/or semesters, visit the archives

1. Course Details

Summary of Course

This is a first level corporate finance course that looks at the essential aspects of financial decision-making. The course begins with the different ways in which companies can be structured and the differing types of ownership that exist. Next, the principles and applications of financial mathematics are introduced and used to value securities and investment decisions. Portfolio theory is used to provide a foundation for determining the relationship between expected risk and returns in financial and real asset investments. Dividend payouts and the choices between debt and equity financing, including methods of determining the cost of capital, are also covered. Further, this course includes analysis of the influence of the capital market environment, the implications of financial risk, taxation and the conflict of interest between managers and investors on the value and operation of businesses. The course develops distinct conceptual frameworks and specialised tools for solving real-world financial problems at both the personal and corporate level. Illustrations from real-life corporate practices are used to highlight the importance and relevance of financial management to the realisation of personal and corporate financial objectives. Examples include personal financial planning, funds management, capital raisings, portfolio selection of financial securities, private equity, public floats and the pricing of assets in the stock market.

The course emphasizes the importance of Ethics in Finance. Students with no knowledge in finance will be introduced to conceptual foundations of ethics required to interpret professional standards arising from various industry advisory authorities on professional ethical conduct including the Banking Royal Commission, CFA Institute, and United Nations. In doing so, it provides a language in ethics to discuss ethical issues in the context of the finance profession.

Teaching Times and Locations

Please note that teaching times and locations are subject to change. Students are strongly advised to refer to the Class Timetable website for the most up-to-date teaching times and locations.

View course timetable

Course Policies & Support

Course Aims and Relationship to Other Courses

FINS1613 is one of the two gateway courses (along with FINS1612) to the electives and advanced courses offered by the School of Banking and Finance. The course discusses the foundations of sound corporate financial decision-making, illustrating:
  • How a firm’s selection of projects affects the cash flows it distributes to investors and
  • How the cash flows received by investors influence their valuation of the firm and feed back to the firm’s project selection decision.

Topic coverage includes:
  • The different forms of business structure and ownership;
  • Financial markets and their role in the valuation of firms;
  • The difference between cash flows and accounting profits;
  • Financial mathematics for pricing of assets and financial securities;
  • Net Present Value and other alternatives of assessing projects;
  • Ways of raising financial capital;
  • Portfolio theory;
  • Cost of capital;
  • Dividend policy; and
  • Capital structure policy.

2. Staff Contact Details

Position Title Name Email Location Phone Consultation Times
Lecturer-in-chargeDrThomas RufRoom 340, West Lobby, UNSW Business Building
Online via Zoom by appointment

Before emailing the lecturer, students with questions about course administration or content are encouraged to:

• Consult this course outline

• Check the Moodle course page (Forums, FAQs etc.)

• Review previous announcements (available in Announcements on Moodle and via email)

• Ask questions of a general nature in either the course admin forum or in one of the content-specific forums

E-mail your instructor for urgent or more individual questions (please include course code, session and zID in your communication). E-mail is best suited for asking one or two simple questions that require only a short reply; it is neither an appropriate nor an effective medium for learning. Do not expect staff to reply to an e-mail that requires extensive or substantive answers. Emails requiring a yes/no/half sentence reply might get answered in minutes, long emails might take days.

Note that for e-mail communication with staff, University regulations indicate that students MUST use a valid UNSW student account. Teaching staff may ignore non-UNSW email address for security reasons.

3. Learning and Teaching Activities

Approach to Learning and Teaching in the Course

There is a lot of material to cover in this class and we want to ensure that it will be relevant and meaningful to you in class and after your graduate. To promote and help achieve this objective we have a number of teaching aims.

  • Create a climate of engagement, dialogue and ongoing feedback between students and teaching staff regarding the course content, teaching strategies, learning experiences and outcomes (Guidelines on Learning that Inform Teaching at UNSW (GLIT) numbers 2, 7, 10);
  • Cater for a variety of learning preferences and abilities by providing a range of learning activities and teaching methods (GLIT number 9);
  • Develop independent learning skills and create an environment that both provides structure and guidance as well as encouraging students to extend their learning (GLIT numbers 2, 11);
  • Develop skills in collaboration and teamwork, which is directly relevant to the skills required of a Finance professional (GLIT numbers 6, 14).

Learning Activities and Teaching Strategies

This course consists of weekly two-hour lectures and one-and a half long hour tutorials. High levels of preparation and interaction are required for the course. The course provides the necessary foundation for success in both subsequent BCOM elective courses and the workplace.

Lectures develop both theoretical and practical knowledge of course topics, with an emphasis placed on explaining fundamental concepts. Example problems are used to ensure students can apply their understanding. When possible, we will seek to incorporate current events and topical research.

Tutorials review lecture material and work through problems. Students are required to contribue to group discussions. The tutorials are designed to be interactive and help build understanding through application of knowledge. They provide an opportunity to discuss any difficult concepts with the tutor and peers, and hence gain an indication of one's own progress.

Each tutorial will require prior submission of an online assignment consisting of questions related to the previous week's lecture topic. The homework helps ensure students learn key concepts and aides the tutor in identifying areas where students require more direct instruction. Students have unlimited attempts at homework, with the last submitted mark counting towards their overall grade. Additional ungraded questions may be used to illustrate complex applications of course materials.

Students will be given continuous feedback on their progress throughout the semester in the tutorial sessions and through quizzes. In addition, students will be graded on participation during the tutorials, as well as on their performance during the final exam.

In the first tutorial, students with no assumed knowledge in finance will be introduced to foundational concepts of Ethics in Finance. Students will receive the learning material via a specially designed Moodle module and then be invited to discuss the material during the tutorial. Students will be required to complete the module throughout the term as its content forms part of the examinable material of the course.

Students are strongly encouraged to devote regular study time to this course. In addition to reviewing lecture and tutorial materials, students may use the Peer Assisted Support Scheme (PASS). See the PASS homepage for details.

5. Course Resources

The website for this course is on Moodle. Weekly lecture notes, links to the live lectures/recordings, assigned and optional reading materials, tutorial materials as well up-to-date information on all matters of the class will be available there. Please check there at least twice a week.

The prescribed textbook for this course is:


By Stephen A. Ross, Rowan Trayler, Gerhard Hambusch, Charles Koh, Randolph W. Westerfield, Bradford D. Jordan

Publisher: McGraw-Hill Australia

Print ISBN: 9781760423605, 1760423602

eText ISBN: 9781760423612, 1760423610

You have the option to buy a hard copy of the book (e.g. at the university bookstore) for around $150 or the e-text, which is best bought through the publisher's CONNECT platform via an upgrade option (for $44). As a student of this class you have free access to this platform and should create an account using instructions that will be posted on Moodle. Buying the hard copy does NOT include the e-text. Students should not feel discouraged from buying a physical copy if they believe they can learn better from it than from an on-screen version.

Regardless of which version you buy, make sure you have proper access to the CONNECT platform. Most homework assignments and some of the quizzes/exams are likely to be administered through CONNECT. While the textbook forms the basis of the lecture slides, I have taken some liberties in this course in what I focus on during class. That means that various important institutional details have been outsourced from my slides to increase conciseness, flow and enjoyment. I will specify which parts of the book I consider important reading.

6. Course Evaluation & Development

Feedback is regularly sought from students and continual improvements are made based on this feedback. At the end of this course, you will be asked to complete the myExperience survey, which provides a key source of student evaluative feedback. Your input into this quality enhancement process is extremely valuable in assisting us to meet the needs of our students and provide an effective and enriching learning experience. The results of all surveys are carefully considered and do lead to action towards enhancing educational quality.

​The development of this class has benefited from the discussion with other instructors regarding feedback from previous student cohorts that have completed the course. Extensive consultations were held on what will deliver best possible results in this novel online teaching and learning environment.

7. Course Schedule

Note: for more information on the UNSW academic calendar and key dates including study period, exam, supplementary exam and result release, please visit:
Week Activity Topic Assessment/Other
Week 1: 14 SeptemberLecture

Intro to Financial Management

Time Value of Money

Textbook Ch. 1 + 2

Textbook Ch. 4

Week 2: 21 SeptemberLecture

Cash Flow & Fixed Income Valuation

Textbook Ch. 5 + 6.3

Week 3: 28 SeptemberLecture

Equity Valuation

Textbook Ch. 7

Week 4: 05 OctoberQuiz

Take Home Quiz #1


Investment Decision Rules

Textbook Ch. 8

Week 5: 12 OctoberLecture

Cash Flows

Textbook Ch. 9 (+3)

Week 6: 19 OctoberLecture

Flexibility Week: No Lectures & Tutorials

Week 7: 26 OctoberLecture

Cost of Capital

Textbook Ch. 11+12

Week 8: 02 NovemberQuiz

Take Home Quiz #2


Capital Structure

Textbook Ch. 13

Week 9: 09 NovemberLecture

Payouts & Dividends

Raising Capital


Textbook Ch. 14

Textbook Ch. 15

Week 10: 16 NovemberLecture


8. Policies and Support

Information about UNSW Business School protocols, University policies, student responsibilities and education quality and support.

Program Learning Outcomes

The Business School places knowledge and capabilities at the core of its curriculum via seven Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs). These PLOs are systematically embedded and developed across the duration of all coursework programs in the Business School.

PLOs embody the knowledge, skills and capabilities that are taught, practised and assessed within each Business School program. They articulate what you should know and be able to do upon successful completion of your degree.

Upon graduation, you should have a high level of specialised business knowledge and capacity for responsible business thinking, underpinned by ethical professional practice. You should be able to harness, manage and communicate business information effectively and work collaboratively with others. You should be an experienced problem-solver and critical thinker, with a global perspective, cultural competence and the potential for innovative leadership.

All UNSW programs and courses are designed to assess the attainment of program and/or course level learning outcomes, as required by the UNSW Assessment Design Procedure. It is important that you become familiar with the Business School PLOs, as they constitute the framework which informs and shapes the components and assessments of the courses within your program of study.

PLO 1: Business knowledge

Students will make informed and effective selection and application of knowledge in a discipline or profession, in the contexts of local and global business.

PLO 2: Problem solving

Students will define and address business problems, and propose effective evidence-based solutions, through the application of rigorous analysis and critical thinking.

PLO 3: Business communication

Students will harness, manage and communicate business information effectively using multiple forms of communication across different channels.

PLO 4: Teamwork

Students will interact and collaborate effectively with others to achieve a common business purpose or fulfil a common business project, and reflect critically on the process and the outcomes.

PLO 5: Responsible business practice

Students will develop and be committed to responsible business thinking and approaches, which are underpinned by ethical professional practice and sustainability considerations.

PLO 6: Global and cultural competence

Students will be aware of business systems in the wider world and actively committed to recognise and respect the cultural norms, beliefs and values of others, and will apply this knowledge to interact, communicate and work effectively in diverse environments.

PLO 7: Leadership development

Students will develop the capacity to take initiative, encourage forward thinking and bring about innovation, while effectively influencing others to achieve desired results.

These PLOs relate to undergraduate and postgraduate coursework programs.  Separate PLOs for honours and postgraduate research programs are included under 'Related Documents'.

Business School course outlines provide detailed information for students on how the course learning outcomes, learning activities, and assessment/s contribute to the development of Program Learning Outcomes.



UNSW Graduate Capabilities

The Business School PLOs also incorporate UNSW graduate capabilities, a set of generic abilities and skills that all students are expected to achieve by graduation. These capabilities articulate the University’s institutional values, as well as future employer expectations.

UNSW Graduate CapabilitiesBusiness School PLOs
Scholars capable of independent and collaborative enquiry, rigorous in their analysis, critique and reflection, and able to innovate by applying their knowledge and skills to the solution of novel as well as routine problems.
  • PLO 1: Business knowledge
  • PLO 2: Problem solving
  • PLO 3: Business communication
  • PLO 4: Teamwork
  • PLO 7: Leadership development

Entrepreneurial leaders capable of initiating and embracing innovation and change, as well as engaging and enabling others to contribute to change
  • PLO 1: Business knowledge
  • PLO 2: Problem solving
  • PLO 3: Business communication
  • PLO 4: Teamwork
  • PLO 6: Global and cultural competence
  • PLO 7: Leadership development

Professionals capable of ethical, self-directed practice and independent lifelong learning
  • PLO 1: Business knowledge
  • PLO 2: Problem solving
  • PLO 3: Business communication
  • PLO 5: Responsible business practice

Global citizens who are culturally adept and capable of respecting diversity and acting in a socially just and responsible way.
  • PLO 1: Business knowledge
  • PLO 2: Problem solving
  • PLO 3: Business communication
  • PLO 4: Teamwork
  • PLO 5: Responsible business practice
  • PLO 6: Global and cultural competence

While our programs are designed to provide coverage of all PLOs and graduate capabilities, they also provide you with a great deal of choice and flexibility.  The Business School strongly advises you to choose a range of courses that assist your development against the seven PLOs and four graduate capabilities, and to keep a record of your achievements as part of your portfolio. You can use a portfolio as evidence in employment applications as well as a reference for work or further study. For support with selecting your courses contact the UNSW Business School Student Centre.

Academic Integrity and Plagiarism

Academic Integrity is honest and responsible scholarship. This form of ethical scholarship is highly valued at UNSW. Terms like Academic Integrity, misconduct, referencing, conventions, plagiarism, academic practices, citations and evidence based learning are all considered basic concepts that successful university students understand. Learning how to communicate original ideas, refer sources, work independently, and report results accurately and honestly are skills that you will be able to carry beyond your studies.

The definition of academic misconduct is broad. It covers practices such as cheating, copying and using another person’s work without appropriate acknowledgement. Incidents of academic misconduct may have serious consequences for students.


UNSW regards plagiarism as a form of academic misconduct. UNSW has very strict rules regarding plagiarism. Plagiarism at UNSW is using the words or ideas of others and passing them off as your own. All Schools in the Business School have a Student Ethics Officer who will investigate incidents of plagiarism and may result in a student’s name being placed on the Plagiarism and Student Misconduct Registers.

Below are examples of plagiarism including self-plagiarism:

Copying: Using the same or very similar words to the original text or idea without acknowledging the source or using quotation marks. This includes copying materials, ideas or concepts from a book, article, report or other written document, presentation, composition, artwork, design, drawing, circuitry, computer program or software, website, internet, other electronic resource, or another person's assignment, without appropriate acknowledgement of authorship.

Inappropriate Paraphrasing: Changing a few words and phrases while mostly retaining the original structure and/or progression of ideas of the original, and information without acknowledgement. This also applies in presentations where someone paraphrases another’s ideas or words without credit and to piecing together quotes and paraphrases into a new whole, without appropriate referencing.

Collusion: Presenting work as independent work when it has been produced in whole or part in collusion with other people. Collusion includes:

  • Students providing their work to another student before the due date, or for the purpose of them plagiarising at any time
  • Paying another person to perform an academic task and passing it off as your own
  • Stealing or acquiring another person’s academic work and copying it
  • Offering to complete another person’s work or seeking payment for completing academic work

Collusion should not be confused with academic collaboration (i.e., shared contribution towards a group task).

Inappropriate Citation: Citing sources which have not been read, without acknowledging the 'secondary' source from which knowledge of them has been obtained.

Self-Plagiarism: ‘Self-plagiarism’ occurs where an author republishes their own previously written work and presents it as new findings without referencing the earlier work, either in its entirety or partially. Self-plagiarism is also referred to as 'recycling', 'duplication', or 'multiple submissions of research findings' without disclosure. In the student context, self-plagiarism includes re-using parts of, or all of, a body of work that has already been submitted for assessment without proper citation.

To see if you understand plagiarism, do this short quiz:


The University also regards cheating as a form of academic misconduct. Cheating is knowingly submitting the work of others as their own and includes contract cheating (work produced by an external agent or third party that is submitted under the pretences of being a student’s original piece of work). Cheating is not acceptable at UNSW.

If you need to revise or clarify any terms associated with academic integrity you should explore the 'Working with Academic Integrity' self-paced lessons available at:

For UNSW policies, penalties, and information to help you avoid plagiarism see: as well as the guidelines in the online ELISE tutorials for all new UNSW students: For information on student conduct see:

For information on how to acknowledge your sources and reference correctly, see: If you are unsure what referencing style to use in this course, you should ask the lecturer in charge.

Student Responsibilities and Conduct

​Students are expected to be familiar with and adhere to university policies in relation to class attendance and general conduct and behaviour, including maintaining a safe, respectful environment; and to understand their obligations in relation to workload, assessment and keeping informed.

Information and policies on these topics can be found on the 'Managing your Program' website.


It is expected that you will spend at least ten to twelve hours per week studying for a course except for Summer Term courses which have a minimum weekly workload of twenty to twenty four hours. This time should be made up of reading, research, working on exercises and problems, online activities and attending classes. In periods where you need to complete assignments or prepare for examinations, the workload may be greater. Over-commitment has been a cause of failure for many students. You should take the required workload into account when planning how to balance study with employment and other activities.

We strongly encourage you to connect with your Moodle course websites in the first week of semester. Local and international research indicates that students who engage early and often with their course website are more likely to pass their course.

View more information on expected workload


Your regular and punctual attendance at lectures and seminars or in online learning activities is expected in this course. The Business School reserves the right to refuse final assessment to those students who attend less than 80% of scheduled classes where attendance and participation is required as part of the learning process (e.g., tutorials, flipped classroom sessions, seminars, labs, etc.).

View more information on attendance

General Conduct and Behaviour

You are expected to conduct yourself with consideration and respect for the needs of your fellow students and teaching staff. Conduct which unduly disrupts or interferes with a class, such as ringing or talking on mobile phones, is not acceptable and students may be asked to leave the class.

View more information on student conduct

Health and Safety

UNSW Policy requires each person to work safely and responsibly, in order to avoid personal injury and to protect the safety of others.

View more information on Health and Safety

Keeping Informed

You should take note of all announcements made in lectures, tutorials or on the course web site. From time to time, the University will send important announcements to your university e-mail address without providing you with a paper copy. You will be deemed to have received this information. It is also your responsibility to keep the University informed of all changes to your contact details.

Student Support and Resources

​The University and the Business School provide a wide range of support services and resources for students, including:

Business School EQS Consultation Program
The Consultation Program offers academic writing, literacy and numeracy consultations, study skills, exam preparation for Business students. Services include workshops, online resources, individual and group consultations. 
Level 1, Room 1035, Quadrangle Building.
02 9385 4508

Communication Resources
The Business School Communication and Academic Support programs provide online modules, communication workshops and additional online resources to assist you in developing your academic writing.

Business School Student Centre
The Business School Student Centre provides advice and direction on all aspects of admission, enrolment and graduation.
Level 1, Room 1028 in the Quadrangle Building
02 9385 3189

UNSW Learning & Careers Hub
The UNSW Learning & Careers Hub provides academic skills and careers support services—including workshops, individual consultations and a range of online resources—for all UNSW students. See their website for details.
Lower Ground Floor, North Wing Chancellery Building.
02 9385 2060

Student Support Advisors
Student Support Advisors work with all students to promote the development of skills needed to succeed at university, whilst also providing personal support throughout the process.
John Goodsell Building, Ground Floor.
02 9385 4734

International Student Support
The International Student Experience Unit (ISEU) is the first point of contact for international students. ISEU staff are always here to help with personalised advice and information about all aspects of university life and life in Australia.
Advisors can support you with your student visa, health and wellbeing, making friends, accommodation and academic performance.
02 9385 4734

Equitable Learning Services
Equitable Learning Services (formerly Disability Support Services) is a free and confidential service that provides practical support to ensure that your health condition doesn't adversely affect your studies. Register with the service to receive educational adjustments.
Ground Floor, John Goodsell Building.
02 9385 4734

UNSW Counselling and Psychological Services
Provides support and services if you need help with your personal life, getting your academic life back on track or just want to know how to stay safe, including free, confidential counselling.
Level 2, East Wing, Quadrangle Building.
02 9385 5418

Library services and facilities for students
The UNSW Library offers a range of collections, services and facilities both on-campus and online.
Main Library, F21.
02 9385 2650

Moodle eLearning Support
Moodle is the University’s learning management system. You should ensure that you log into Moodle regularly.
02 9385 3331

UNSW IT provides support and services for students such as password access, email services, wireless services and technical support.
UNSW Library Annexe (Ground floor).
02 9385 1333

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