Posted by The Team at Brand Financial Training on August 13, 2019 in Newsletter
13 August 2019
August is an exhausting month here at Brand Financial Training. The entire team are working hard to update all our resources for the 19/20 tax year examinable from 1 September. Most of us are also juggling that with school holidays and multiple children. It’s an organisational minefield but we seem to cope every year. Anyway, do look out for emails from us during August with regards our updated resources. (More information in ‘Around the Corner’ below).
And as we like to pile the pressure on ourselves, we have also been working on a brand new R03 resource. Watch this space!
The Team at Brand Financial Training
A Certain Ratio – Sharpe Ratio
There is a range of measures used in the quantitative analysis of investment performance. In this article, we look at the Sharpe ratio, named after the economist, William Sharpe.
Sharpe Ratio adjusts the rate of return of an investment to take account of its riskiness and is calculated as:
Portfolio return – Rate of return on a risk-free security / standard deviation of the return
Sharpe ratio is normally computed on an annual basis, so it is possible to compare investments on a like-with-like basis. Looking at a calculation, assume an average rate of return of 8%, a risk-free return of 3% and a standard deviation of 2.5% (remember standard deviation is a measure of the volatility of an investment or portfolio) the Sharpe ratio is:
(8 - 3) / 2.5 = 2
The Sharpe ratio adjusts portfolios for risk and basically puts them on a level risk playing field, which means they can be compared easily and equally.
A high Sharpe ratio is good, a low ratio is bad, since a higher ratio indicates that the portfolio manager has made better investment decisions. A Sharpe ratio can be negative, which means the investment has underperformed risk-free assets (when someone would really have been better off in cash).
Those studying for financial services exams are often asked to learn different formulae. Being able to recall this information quickly and accurately can save precious minutes on exam day. Here are 6 ways to commit formulae to your long-term memory.
We’ve previously written about memory techniques to help if you have to remember significant volumes of information for financial services exams.
We looked at how memory works, offered some lifestyle tips to boost recall and discussed the Dominic and Major systems plus the Loci Method for remembering numbers. (There are others!)
But as it’s such a vast subject area, we wanted to write about memory techniques again, not least because, with summer starting to draw to a close, thoughts may be turning to early October exams such as the AF4.
This time, we focus on tips to help you memorise key mathematical formulae – and these techniques should also help you recall other, similar information.
Understand the meaning first
It probably won’t be either fruitful or efficient to attempt to learn large numbers of formulae until you’ve truly and fully understood their meaning. Without this understanding, if you simply use rote learning, you’ll probably just forget the formula very quickly.
It may sound obvious, but memorising something as complex as mathematical information really does need your full concentration. So unplug the internet and phone, and maybe even any background music too. Don&tsquo;t try to do or think about anything else at the same time as studying.
Use a variety of methods
Writing down formulae on flashcards, or having them on sticky notes around the house, can really help. For Post-Its, the bedroom mirror is a good place! Repeat the formulae out loud, to yourself or to someone else, or record them and listen to them when, say, washing up or travelling to work. Randomly try writing one of the formulae in a notebook on the bus home.
..."Your MP3 audio masterclasses were of great quality. I felt they reminded me of some things I had not thought about for some time and prompted some wider study. The content was accurate, relevant and up to date for the exam and the length of each class was very good. The approach was not patronising like so many learning MP3s. I would definitely recommend..."
Richard Baxter, Senior Financial Adviser, Gower Financial Services, Guernsey
Available for AF1, AF4, AF7, J02, R01, R02, R03, R04 and R05
Every individual has his/her own learning style. Learning by listening provides an alternative to reading and re-reading the study text, and can help with absorbing and understanding materials. Our MP3 audio masterclasses come in digestible chunks allowing you to listen at home, in the car, at the gym or wherever else you may be.
For a list of each masterclass in your chosen exam, go to:
We are currently updating all of our CII financial services exam resources for the new examinable tax year 2019/2020 that begins on 1 September.
Do bear in mind that until 31 August, tax year 2018/19 will be examined.
If you purchased a resource for examinable tax year 18/19, you will be entitled to the 19/20 version at no charge!
The only exception is our e-learning videos – if you are still in your subscription period at the end of August, we will email you separately with information on how to access the updated 19/20 versions.
We will email you at various points during mid to late August to let you know when resources have been updated and made available and how to claim your free update if you are entitled.
So if you are unsure about when you are going to sit your exam or you simply want to ‘get on’ with your studies, you can purchase resources straightaway knowing you will be able to get the 19/20 versions later in August. Many of the exams don’t have a huge number of syllabus changes or changes in law so you can truly ‘get on with it’ right away.
New R03 Resource
We’re not going to give away too much, but we’ll soon be launching a brand new resource for R03.
We think it will help make your studies a little easier. We’ll send you full details very soon!
Did You Miss These Posts on Our Blog?
Articles and Help for All Your Exams
You’ll find that there’s something for everyone when you check out our blog:
specific topics and how-to articles;
reviews of recent CII exam papers;
our Friday Five – a weekly quiz to give you a fun break from reading the study text;
study techniques that help you to retain your revision and keep your brain working for you, when you need it
Here are the blog posts you might have missed since our last newsletter:
There’s such a variety of information on offer to help you as you tackle your CII exams, that you won’t want to miss a single post. We’ve made it easy for you; just click the button below and enter your email details. Be ‘in the know’ with CII-exam-related tips and info – straight to your inbox!
Quote of the Month
..." The big challenge is to become all that you have the possibility of becoming. You cannot believe what it does to the human spirit to maximize your human potential and stretch yourself to the limit.
"5 Questions in 5 Minutes Every Friday"
This is a bit of Friday Fun where we provide you with 5 questions (and answers) relevant to a mix of CII exams. The challenge is for you to answer the questions in 5 minutes.
Where do I find the Friday Five?
We post each week's Friday Five to our blog first thing every Friday. You can either visit our blog every Friday at https://brandft.co.uk/blog/ or you can simply go there now, and click on the subscribe button in the top right-hand corner of the blog and sign up to receive notifications of our Friday Five posts.
Note that we don't email the Friday Five out to everybody every Friday, so we recommend you sign up to our blog at https://brandft.co.uk/blog/ so that you receive an email notification when it is posted. It will only take you a minute to sign up.
A bit of Friday Fun, but with the added benefit of testing your exam knowledge!
Here’s a reminder that the CII update their study texts throughout the examinable year to either incorporate new legislations, correct errors or clarify information. Many candidates aren’t aware of this, which can result in candidates studying out-of-date information.
To find out if you have the most up-to-date information, visit the CII website, navigate to your chosen exam and click on ‘learning solutions update’ in the ‘Unit updates’ section in the sidebar.
Note that we keep our resources up-to-date with any updates from the CII.