Both beginners and experienced investors can upgrade their skills with online courses. What educational programs are available right now and what can you learn from them?
The number of online courses for private investors is growing. The main educational online platforms – Coursera, edX, Canvas, OpenLearning, Udacity, Udemy – offer both basic programs and courses devoted to the most modern technologies of working in financial markets. True, so far most of them are English-speaking and prepared by American and European universities or companies. There are few Russian-language online courses for investors, but they are in demand, so we can predict an increase in their number in the near future.
Advantages and disadvantages
According to the professor of the Faculty of Economic Sciences of the Higher School of Economics (HSE) and the author of several online courses on investing Tamara Thermal, these courses are certainly taught to the elements of capital management. The form of dialogue with a demonstration of charts and graphs is often more understandable to novice investors than just text in a textbook. In addition, if we talk about courses of reputable universities and companies, they provide more relevant and realistic information than textbooks.
Many investors agree that online courses are a good choice for a beginner looking to figure out how and where to invest. According to the Chairman and Managing Partner of Genezis Technology Capital Venture Fund Maxim Shekhovtsev, such courses give “a general understanding of investment, which is useful for any beginner.” Although the basis for training is still direct contact with the practitioner and experienced professional.
“The main advantage of online education is accessibility and choice. Consumers can choose not only among Russian, but also world educational sites. At the same time, it is possible to choose a time convenient for you, ”said Maxim Shein, Chief Investment Strategist at FG BCS. In addition, the cost of online courses is significantly lower compared to full-time. At the same time, in the case of online courses, the authority of the institution or company that conducts them is of particular importance, since the risk of receiving low-quality services is also higher. According to Shein, now in the BCS they increasingly see a request from customers to include the educational part in mobile applications for trading stocks.
Especially a lot of online courses on investment, spend American universities. According to Teplovaya, foreign courses have both advantages and disadvantages from the point of view of Russian users. On the one hand, they are useful because they explain the key positions of the financial economy and investment, in addition, they present everything very clearly, with video from investment banks, dialogues and disputes of various specialists. Russian courses lose in the form of content delivery. On the other hand, when preparing their courses, foreign universities often ignore the specifics of emerging capital markets, which limits their use by Russian investors.
One of the most reputable universities in the United States – Stanford University – offers several online courses for novice investors. For example, the course “Introduction to Value Investment” is intended to teach students to analyze the financial performance of companies, to predict their further development and to find undervalued assets.
For the course, Stanford University invited Kenneth Jeffrey Marshall, an investor and founder of his own investment firm. The course is designed for 10 weeks. Unlike online courses hosted on public platforms, Stanford University course is quite expensive – students will have to pay $ 695 for it, and the number of students can not exceed 65 people.
Many designers of such courses resort to inviting experienced investors. The University of Geneva has developed several investment courses in partnership with one of the largest Swiss banks, UBS. Among the courses prepared by the University of Geneva are such as “Understanding the financial markets” , “Ensuring a long-term return on investment” , “Achieving investment goals” .
Most courses are designed for four weeks with loads ranging from an hour to three hours a week. In addition to the professors of the University of Geneva, the teachers of these courses are experts at UBS, for example, the head of the European Investment Division Themis Themistokleous. The course is posted on Coursera, where users can pay $ 49 for a monthly subscription.
The course “Investment Management in an Ever-Changing World” was created by the French business school HEC Paris together with the company AXA Investment Managers.
It is designed to answer questions about which investor you are personally, what your investment goals and possible restrictions are. Practicing investors also participated in the preparation of materials for the educational program.
Several interesting for beginner investors courses prepared by the American University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign – they are also posted on Coursera. These are, for example, the courses “Investments I: The Basics of Performance Evaluation” and “Investments II: Lessons and a Practical Guide for Investors” .
Among the Russian-language courses devoted to investing, it should be noted the online program “Financial Instruments for Private Investors”, developed by the Higher School of Economics. It includes courses “Personal Finance Management”, “Investments in shares” , “Portfolio investment: active and passive strategies . ” According to Thermal, these programs are very popular – more than 5,000 people have already listened to each of them. For Russian investors, these courses are especially interesting in that, to a greater extent than foreign ones, they take into account local specifics.
Quite a lot of programs devoted to trading on stock exchanges. One of the largest platforms for training traders is the Online Trading Academy , created in 1997. Several courses on trading, prepared by the Indian School of Business (ISB). They are interesting because they pay attention to emerging markets, which can be useful for Russian investors. These courses, combined under the title “Strategies for Exchange Trading in Emerging Markets”, are also posted on Coursera, for example, “Basics of Exchange Trading” .
Increasingly, online courses are being opened, devoted not to traditional areas, but to investments in new areas or new methods and tools.
So, there are already programs that teach cryptocurrency investments. Such courses are more often created not by reputable institutions and corporations, but by individual enthusiasts engaged in trading in digital money. For example, the course “Fundamentals of cryptocurrency: buying, selling and trading in cryptocurrencies” was prepared by a fairly well-known blockchain expert George Levy. And a few enthusiastic traders, including Aidan Kelly and Derek Bloom, even created a CryptoMeister website dedicated to education in the field of cryptocurrencies and how you can earn them.
Online courses devoted to quantum trading also appear, in which investment decisions are made automatically based on mathematical models. This method of investment is becoming more common – according to estimates of the research company Hedge Fund Research, by the end of October 2017, assets under the management of quantum hedge funds reached $ 940 billion.
Educational programs in this area stand on the frontier of financial education and computer science, an example of which is the course “Machine Learning in Exchange Trading” prepared by the Georgia Institute of Technology, the course “Finance Analytics” of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology or the course “Electronic Trading in Financial Markets” of New York Institute of Finance.
South Korean Yonsei University has prepared several programs for investing in startups, including “Evaluating startups with discounted cash flow indicators” , “Financial analysis for startups” , “Applying investment decision rules for startups” . These online courses are designed for established venture investors who would like to learn more about investments in the initial stages of the company’s development.
In Russia, among the platforms dedicated to investing, stands out the Investments 101 service , launched with the support of the Internet Initiatives Development Fund, the Moscow Exchange and the company BKS Broker. The platform contains a variety of courses, both for beginners, for example, The Basics of Investing, The Basics of Exchange Trading, or Trading in the US Stock Market, and for more advanced investors (Investment Risks: Types and Possibilities of Risky Investments), Trade morning gaps “). This service provides practical tasks and a trading simulator for investment practice.