Practical History of Financial Markets

The renowned course now in its 20th year.
Available in both in-person and online formats.

As Featured in the Financial Times


Russell Napier
Mean Reversion of Equity Valuation

Derry Pickford
Stock Market Value and Expected Returns

Peter Warburton
Investing in Differing Inflationary Climates

John Greenwood
Monetary Theory of Asset Prices

Herman Brodie
Behavioural Finance

The imprimatur of

A World-Class University.

We've teamed up with Heriot-Watt University to provide our unique course as an online module available to anyone, anytime, wherever you live. Engaging and informative, and yet both practical and useful, this course will equip participants with a deep foundational knowledge, lead to a keen understanding of the workings of financial markets, and help guide their decisions and activities.

International views

Expert, engaging learning

Written and presented by leading academics, senior economists and investment practitioners, and hosted by one of the UK’s leading business schools, the course covers key areas including equity valuations, economics, behavioural finance and liquidity.


Professional level expertise

If you’re a professional in financial markets wanting a fuller, holistic understanding of their workings, or someone who’s interested in financial markets and would like a professional-level understanding of how they operate, then this is the course for you. 

Online Course

  • Instant Access via Heriot-Watt University
  • Perpetual access to the course
  • 5 Recorded Modules
  • Expert Lecturers
  • Learn in your own time

In-Person Course

£2250 + VAT
  • Taken by more than 1,000 investment professionals since 2004
  • Perpetual Access to the Online Course
  • 2.5 Day in person training
  • 5 Key Modules
  • Expert Lecturers

After completing this course, you should be able to

  1. Critically evaluate different methods of valuing stock markets and identify faults in the valuation methods.
  2. Explain the idea of mean reversion in financial markets and identify valuation techniques that follow mean reversion using data from the last 100 years to demonstrate this.
  3. Understand the impact inflationary or deflationary forces have on the returns to different classes of financial assets.
  4. Understand the impact liquidity and the supply of money has on stock market returns over time.
  5. Understand the impact of psychological biases on returns in the stock market and the role that they can play in major stock market events.
  6. Critically evaluate the lessons from the history of the financial markets over the past 200 years or more.

As Featured in


"I find myself thinking back regularly to what I learned on this course – and then applying it."

Andrew Howell CFA - Director of Investor Influence
Environmental Defense Fund

“I would recommend this course to anyone who wants to improve his or her understanding of investing.”

Mark Tyndall ~ Co-Founder
Artemis Investment Management Ltd

With a focus on the factors that drive valuation rather than on digesting a series of mathematical models, we divide the course into five sections, corresponding to major sub topics and led by expert tutors who are all known as specialists in their respective fields.

Materials includes online video lectures, slides and end-of-course revision questions.

Course aims

This course aims to:

introduce you to different methods of valuing financial markets;
generate an understanding of the impact of inflation and monetary policy; and
recognise the impact psychology has on financial markets and the valuation of financial markets.

Module 1 Value and Expected Returns

Play Video

Derry Pickford starts us off with a look through the successes and failures over the last 200 years in equity valuation.

Tackling key questions such as "what does value mean?", Derry ultimately invites us to consider what makes a good indicator of value, and crucially what does the data tell us about the state of stock markets today.

Module structure

  1. What does value mean?
  2. What do historic returns tell us about future expected returns?
  3. How should an asset be valued in theory?
  4. Can we tell the value of the stock market in the past?
  5. What characteristics should a good valuation indicator have?
  6. What do valuation ratios say about the US stock market today?

Module 1 lecturer

Derry Pickford

Derry kicks off the course with a history of valuation stretching back to 1800. After working with Andrew Smithers, one of our original teachers, he's held a variety of senior positions in the finance sector including chief economist at hedge fund manager Sloane Robinson, head of asset allocation at Ashburton, and latterly as a principal at Aon Hewitt.

Module 2 The Monetary Theory of Asset Prices

Play Video

Any study of financial markets must include a look at monetary policy and liquidity. In this session, John Greenwood presents the monetary theory of asset prices, pointing out that what happens to securities such as equities, bonds, real estate and commodities is very much part of the business cycle, and determined by the money creation activities of governments and commercial banks.

Module structure

  1. Money and the business cycle
  2. Drivers of change in monetary growth
  3. Severe recessions and debt crises
  4. Investment principles from monetary analysis

Module 2 lecturer

John Greenwood OBE

John, has worked as a senior economist in the investment industry, and provides course content on how liquidity can affect valuations. He has a deep interest in Asian economics, having undertaken research at Tokyo University, been a visiting research fellow at the Bank of Japan and acted as an economic adviser to the Hong Kong government. In 1980 he translated Yoshio Suzuki's book Money and Banking in Contemporary Japan from Japanese and in 2007 authored Hong Kong’s Link to the US Dollar: Origins and Evolution.

Module 3 Behavioural Finance

Play Video

What good is financial theory if we abstract out the psychological element? Herman Brodie’s approach to behavioural finance is an important part of the jigsaw in understanding what drives valuations. Investment managers and the general public can all be affected by the biases that deflect us from determining true value, and this module is centred on how this theory can provide practical information with which to value financial markets.

Module structure

  1. How finance got behavioural
  2. Organising and processing information
  3. Prospect theory
  4. Cognitive dissonance
  5. Intertemporal choice
  6. 10 recommendations

Module 3 lecturer

Herman Brodie

With 25 years of experience in financial services across London, Paris and Frankfurt, Herman now oversees consultancy firm Prospecta, which advises investment firms on behavioural finance research. He is also the co-author of The Trust Mandate: The behavioural science behind how asset managers REALLY win and keep clients.

Module 4 Investing in Differing Inflationary Climates

Play Video

Inflation and deflation are key determinants in the value of securities, and this module is an exploration of investing in different inflationary situations and climates. With a timespan covering the entirety of the 20th century and into the 21st, we are led through periods of extreme inflation and extreme deflation – and even cases of wartime hyperinflation. What we learn is that investor returns can vary hugely depending on the inflationary background.

Module structure

  1. Introduction: what’s so bad about deflation and inflation?
  2. Inflation is not dead!
  3. The search for inflation protection
  4. Identifying the sweet spot for real equity returns
  5. Characteristics of the inflationary process
  6. Stages of an inflationary process
  7. Sectoral responses to differing inflationary climates
  8. Examining the historical inflationary record
  9. Summarising asset performance in differing climates
  10. Issues concerning the measurement of inflation

Module 4 lecturer

Peter Warburton

Peter is the author of Debt and Delusion and our resident expert on inflation, with a background in both academia and the City of London. He was chief economist and economic adviser at Robert Fleming from 1989 until 2000 and an economist at investment manager Ruffer LLP from 2004 until 2017 – he also founded global macro consultancy Economic Perspectives in 1996. He is now managing director of risk analysis business Halkin Services and an occasional lecturer at Cardiff Business School.

Module 5 The Mean Reversion of Equity Valuations – Past, Present and Future

Play Video

Course Director Prof. Russell Napier brings everything together in our final module, with half of the time spent exploring how the key forces driving the mean reversion of equity valuations interact. The rest of the module is forward-looking, anticipating where valuations may go and the drivers of financial market valuations in coming years.

Module structure

  1. Inflation and financial repression
  2. Mean reversion of equity valuation

Module 5 lecturer

Prof. Russell Napier

Russell is an accomplished author, including most recently The Asian Financial Crisis 1995-98; Birth of the Age of Debt, he is a well-known commentator on economic and monetary affairs and has been an analyst for, and adviser to, a number of investment companies and clients for more than 25 years.


Access the Online Course

Before enrolment, please provide Didasko with a few details 

In-Person Opportunties

Interested in the in-person course?

We've been running our renowned Practical History of Financial Markets course – which covers the same topics and material at the online course – for almost two decades, and have educated more than a thousand students, many of whom hold senior roles in the financial sector. 

“An invaluable practical insight into the human failings of capital markets and the perfect complement for today’s aspiring investors.”

Stuart Paul ~ Former CIO
Stewart Investors

"The best and most valuable two days I have spent outside the office in twenty years.”

Sebastian Lyon - Founder and Chief investment officer,
Troy Asset Management
Do you have questions about the course? Find answers here

Frequently Asked Questions

The in-person course lasts two and a half days. The online course can be taken as and when you want and over a timeframe that suits your lifestyle. With almost 18 hours of video lectures delivered by our expert team, self-test questions and additional readings, the syllabus covers five key areas of financial markets theory, workings and history.

  1. Understanding the main methodologies for valuing equities
  2. The effect of money and liquidity on financial markets
  3. How human behaviour can affect the workings of financial markets
  4. How inflationary expectations can affect financial markets
  5. What the history of financial markets can teach us, and what the future might hold

As an educational charity we are charging a very competitive £1,000 for the online course which we believe is affordable for a wide range of potential students while also helping us recuperate costs and invest in our charitable activities — we have given close to £200,000 to charitable endeavours since our foundation.

The in-person course costs £2,250, reflecting the higher costs of running an event – it is amazing value though when you consider attendees also get access to the online course included in the price.

No. To help you embed what you have learned there are self-test questions included in the online course. However the course is designed to engage students in the subject through expert teaching rather than measuring success through testing.

The short answer is no. The course is similar in content and understanding to a university level module, but is built from the bottom up and is easily accessible. No matter what your day job, at the end of the course you can expect to have a significant understanding of how financial markets work.

Absolutely – the course is designed for a wide variety of uses including for those who work in the finance sector. It's a great introduction to financial markets for those who might not work directly in this area but who want a knowledge of the topic so that they can more fully understand the industry in which they are employed.

The course is designed to deliver valuable professional development to those who work in financial markets – indeed, it is recognised by both CFA UK and CISI for CPD purposes. We take a novel and engaging approach to the development and uses of financial markets, so no matter what your job or whether you've studied the subject beforehand this course will prove extremely educational and useful to you.

We are delighted to be able to offer the online course through Heriot-Watt's executive education programme (where it is also included in the curriculum for some of the University’s courses). While the course is written and designed by Didasko, our place in the university’s offering is testament to the quality of the content and learning outcomes. 

Who is Didasko Education?

About Us

Advanced Valuation in Financial Markets and Practical History of Financial Markets are brought to you by Didasko, an Edinburgh-based charity dedicated to financial education for all.

We’re led by author, academic and investment professional Prof. Russell Napier under a board of directors chaired by Tony Foster. Our profits go towards increasing access to financial education and we also offer bursaries for our in-person courses to those on low incomes.

Didasko also hosts the Future Asset charity. Future Asset works with Scottish schools to bring careers in finance and investment to the attention of schoolgirls.

“The only course I recommend to my fund managers. It invigorated me.”

Ian Beattie
NS Partners
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