Financial Planning and Risk Management
This Course Guide has been taken from the most recent presentation of the course. It would be useful for reference purposes but please note that there may be updates for the following presentation.

FIN B851
Financial Planning and Risk Management


FIN B851 Financial Planning and Risk Management is a ten-credit, one-year, postgraduate level course. It is designed for any postgraduate learners who want to equip themselves with updated knowledge in personal financial planning techniques and advanced analytical skills.

The concepts and practices of personal financial planning have become popular in Hong Kong over the last five years. With the establishment of the Institute of Financial Planners of Hong Kong (IFPHK) in 2001, the financial planning profession has entered a new era. The need for personal financial planning is real, as individuals build up their wealth over their lifecycles. The demand for professionally trained financial planners remains strong.

The main aims of this course are to provide you with an understanding of personal financial planning and risk management, and an ability to critically analyse and advocate effective practices in personal financial planning in Hong Kong. The tools for such analysis and advocacy are provided in the form of an understanding of the currently dominant (mainly US) methodology in financial planning and risk management with practical applications in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong-based examples of personal financial planning and risk management and, where appropriate, examples from the US and other societies, will be used to help you learn to manage money effectively. The course will also help you to act as a personal financial planner in a locally operated financial planning business (department). Your ability to do so will be enhanced by an awareness of Hong Kong's unique institutional environment.

FIN B851 discusses all major financial planning and risk management issues that individuals and families encounter. It presents a model of effective money management. All of the latest financial planning and risk management tools are included. The course also partially prepares you for taking some professional examinations, such as the Certified Financial Planner (CFPCM) Certification Examination in Hong Kong.

Course aims

The course aims to provide learners with a solid knowledge in personal financial planning and risk management. It exposes learners to contemporary research and examples of personal finance so that learners are able to provide alternative recommendations applicable in various situations in Hong Kong.

Course learning outcomes

Upon completion of this course, you should be able to:

  1. Evaluate some of the most recent theories and practices of personal financial planning and risk management and discuss the benefits of personal financial planning.

  2. Differentiate between the external and internal environment in which personal financial planning practices are carried out in Hong Kong.

  3. Illustrate the importance of effective communication and internal analysis in the context of financial planning.

  4. Critically analyse the practicality of personal financial goals and calculate accurately the financial requirements in reaching certain financial goals.

  5. Critically discuss the tax, retirement and estate planning regulatory rules in Hong Kong.

  6. Demonstrate solutions to personal financial planning problems.

  7. Analyse financial planning practices in Hong Kong.

About the course

FIN B851 Financial Planning and Risk Management is a ten-unit course that provides a solid foundation in financial planning and risk management. The course enables you to understand and use personal financial planning and risk management tools. You will be able to apply the tools in your daily life and/or as a practising financial planner.

The first two units provide some theoretical and conceptual tools that will be useful in understanding the personal financial planning and risk management process. Units 3 and 4 focus on insurance planning and risk management issues, and Units 5 and 6 provide rich descriptions of investment planning in the context of personal financial planning. Units 7, 8 and 9 discuss the general as well as the specific institutional aspects of tax, retirement, and estate planning in Hong Kong. Unit 10 draws on all of the preceding units to consider the financial planning process and current practices of financial planning in Hong Kong.

The study units, readings and self-tests will help you, the student, to master these topics and skills over a period of around 30 weeks.

Course overview

The following table gives a general overview of the course structure.



Study time

Assessment activity (end of unit)


Overview, financial planning skills, and a basic financial planning model




Regulatory framework and financial planning tools




Insurance planning and risk management (1): Principles and life insurance


TMA1 (Units 1, 2 & 3)


Insurance planning and risk management (2): Property, liability, and other insurance




Investment planning (1): Principles




Investment planning (2): Applications in financial planning


TMA2 (Units 4, 5 & 6)


Tax planning




Retirement planning




Estate planning


TMA3 (Units 7, 8 & 9)


The practice of financial planning in Hong Kong







Course materials

Printed materials

FIN B851 Financial Planning and Risk Management draws on a variety of readings. The study units will provide instructions on how to proceed through the study units, the textbook and any supplementary material provided. Each unit will also add points of clarification and give examples from the US as well as from Hong Kong so that you can gain a good understanding of the concepts and principles presented in the text. In addition, you can apply the material to your own personal financial management or as a practising financial planner in Hong Kong.


You may be instructed in the study units to read articles or other supplementary materials. These will be available online or provided as hard copies at the backs of the study units.

E-Library E-Reserve readings

You may be instructed to read articles in the E-Library E-Reserve. To read these items, go to the OUHK E-Library and click on E-Reserve. Log in, click Accept/Agree on the Copyright Restrictions page, fill in the Course Code box, and click Search.


The following textbook will be required for FIN B851:

Gitman, L J, Joehnk, M D and Billingsley, R S (2014) Personal Financial Planning, 13th edn, South-Western Cengage Learning.

While realizing there is no adequate textbook on financial planning and risk management with an emphasis on Hong Kong, the textbook provides you with developments in financial planning and risk management practices in the US as a benchmark. Although these prescriptions are 'Western' in orientation, they have great relevance because of the advancements in financial planning and risk management practices in the US. To the extent possible, the concepts and models in the material will be integrated with the Hong Kong environment. We will discuss a lot of relevant Hong Kong-based material in each unit.

Non-print media


This course encourages you to make use of the World Wide Web as a learning tool and a source of information. Links have been built into the study units to relevant websites. You will be expected to 'surf the net' to find updated information and real-world online applications of the concepts presented in the study units, so as to do the activities and/or assignments.

Please note: to gain access to the many Excel templates and examples, you will need access to the Internet so that you can connect to the
FIN B851 Online Learning Environment (OLE) website.


You may invest in a financial calculator, such as the HP12C, Texas Instruments BA II Plus Professional, or Casio FC100. This may help you with time value calculations, and you will be allowed to use it during the examination. For details of the approved models of calculators, please refer to the 'List of Approved Calculators for Feb 2010 Examinations' from the Registry. Models which do not appear on the list or do not bear the 'HKEA/HKEAA Approved' label are NOT allowed in examinations. Please also note that you cannot use a Casio FC200, Casio FC100V or Casio FC200V in the examination.

Course assessment

FIN B851 carries two formal activities in student assessment: tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) and a final examination. TMAs serve as continuous assessment within the study period and contribute 40% of the total course mark. The other 60% is evaluated through a final examination.

Remember that your final result in this course depends on your performance in both the continuous assessment (TMAs) and the examination. You are required to achieve at least 40% or above on the average of TMA scores as well as 40% or above in the final examination in order to obtain a pass in this course.

Tutor-marked assignments

During the 30-week period of distance learning, the course carries out continuous assessment on your performance through the submission of three tutor-marked assignments (all three will count towards the final assessment). TMAs serve three purposes:

  1. TMAs provide a mechanism for you to keep up your progress.

  2. TMAs test your understanding of the topics.

  3. TMAs also provide an opportunity for you to apply what you have learned in some applications and case studies.

Upon receiving your TMAs, your tutor is required to mark the assignments immediately and to return them to you -- with comments and feedback -- so that you can be aware of your mistakes and clarify any misunderstandings. In addition, you can widen your perspective through your tutor's feedback.

How to submit assignments

You must use word processing software (such as Microsoft Word) to prepare the TMAs, and submit the TMAs via the Online Learning Environment (OLE). All assignments must be uploaded to the OLE by the due date.

Failure to upload a TMA in the required format to the OLE may result in the score of the TMA being adjusted to zero.

TMA extension policy

The assignment policy of the University as stated in the Student Handbook should be observed. Applications for extension of up to seven days should be submitted to the tutors. For extensions over seven days, students should note the following:

  1. Assignment extensions may be granted in extenuating circumstances, which should be interpreted as circumstances that are unexpected. Work commitments and travelling are not regarded as extenuating circumstances unless they are unexpected.

  2. Supporting documents must be submitted along with the application for extension over seven (7) days to justify the claim. Applications without supporting documents will not be considered.

  3. Applications for extension should be submitted either before or on the due date.

  4. The decision to grant or refuse an extension is made by:

    • Course Coordinators for extensions up to 21 days, or

    • the Dean for extensions of over 21 days.

After an assignment is submitted via the OLE, it is your responsibility to check that the assignment has been successfully submitted. Extension applications due to any problem with uploading will not be accepted. The University cannot accept any responsibility for assignments that are not received by your tutor due to any problem with submission via the OLE. As a precaution, you are advised to keep a copy of each assignment you submit.

According to the University's policy, no extension of the due date will be allowed for the final TMA. This policy will be strictly enforced. Any late submission of the final TMA will result in the score of the TMA being adjusted to zero.


At the end of the course, you are required to attend a final examination. The examination aims to test your thorough understanding in the areas of financial planning and risk management. The examination will be a three-hour, closed book written examination, which carries 60% of the final marks.

Your course assessment is summarized in the following table.

Assessment type Marks
Three tutor-marked assignments

TMA 01 = 12%

TMA 02 = 12%

TMA 03 = 16%

Total = 40%


The three-hour examination will include a combination of short, essay style questions and/or case analysis.

Total 100%
Student support


Your tutor will conduct face-to-face, non-compulsory tutorial sessions with a group of students (approximately 25) throughout the course presentation, as per the tutorial schedule. At these sessions, key course concepts are reviewed and reinforced; group and individual exercises conducted; topical issues discussed; individual student questions answered; and assistance provided relative to assignments.

Tutors also make themselves available for weekly telephone contact at a time and phone number arranged with your tutorial group. In addition to the tutorial work and telephone tutoring, tutors mark your assignments according to marking criteria provided by the academic coordinator. Tutors are encouraged to provide comprehensive and timely feedback to you. The academic Course Coordinator is responsible for training the tutors, providing marking criteria, monitoring a sample of marked assignments and providing feedback to the tutors.

Supplementary Lectures/Tutorials/Surgeries

There will be five three-hour supplementary lectures, ten two-hour tutorials and one two-hour surgery. They are not compulsory but you are strongly urged to attend.

Day schools

One three-hour day school will be provided to support the delivery of FIN B851. This day school is not compulsory but again you are strongly urged to attend. During the day school, teaching will consist of a mix of tutorials, spreadsheet analysis, group exercises, case studies and/or guest-speaker seminars.

Online Learning Environment

This course is supported by the Online Learning Environment (OLE). You can find course materials and the latest course information in the OLE. Through the OLE, you can communicate with your tutor, the Course Coordinator as well as other students. For details about the OLE and how to access it, please refer to the Online Learning Environment User Guide.

As stated earlier, you will need to access the OLE to work with the many Excel templates developed to support your learning in FIN B851.


FIN B851 Financial Planning and Risk Management is designed to provide you with a solid foundation in personal financial planning and risk management in Hong Kong. It enables you to understand the techniques for conducting personal financial planning and risk management. The course encourages you to apply the tools in financial planning and risk management in your personal life and/or in a professional capacity as a practising financial planner.

The course has both theoretical and practical dimensions. Recent trends in financial planning and risk management and new techniques and research insights in the US help provide the tools for analysis in practising financial planning. Examples and cases from Hong Kong enable the development of a practical understanding of key issues in the local institutional and financial environment.

The course assumes that you, the student, will take on responsibilities for your own personal financial planning or that you will practise financial planning in a professional capacity. This may be as a financial planner associated with a bank or a consulting firm, or perhaps as a money manager or a private banker. The course will apply financial planning and risk management theory and research in a way that will be valuable in understanding these roles.

Deferment of studies

If you wish to defer your studies of this course until a later date, you should apply for deferment of studies. For the regulations governing deferment of studies, please refer to Section 14, 'Regulations for Admission, Registration and Maintenance of Status', in your Student Handbook. If you have applied for deferment of studies you should continue with your studies of this course and submit the required assignments until formal approval is given by the University. Should you have difficulties in submitting an assignment, you are advised to liaise with your Course Coordinator and apply for a TMA extension. Students who have been granted deferment of studies will not be allowed to submit TMAs due before the date that their application for deferment of studies is received by Registry.

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