Assignment on Balance Sheets and Profits


You are required to select a large deposit-taking bank and a large life insurance company that have their headquarters in different countries.
Support your answers to the questions below with relevant data and references.
a. Compare and contrast the latest year-end balance sheet structures of the bank and the life insurance company.

b. Analyse how the differences in the roles of the two types of organisation are reflected in the differences in the structure of their balance sheets.

c. Answer the following questions, which relate to the bank only:
i. Justify the use of two appropriate financial ratios to measure the bank’s profitability.
ii. Compare and contrast how the bank’s profitability has varied over the last five years.

Assignment guidance notes
Part a
To obtain the material that you need, use either:
The balance sheets from the companies’ latest annual reports or the companies’ latest full year balance sheet information from Bloomberg.
Use pie charts to help you compare and contrast the companies’ holdings of different assets and liabilities.
Must: comparison of the balance sheet structures. Pie charts include all of the key assets / liabilities and are extremely clear.

Part b
Explain why the bank holds the different types of assets and liabilities shown in its balance sheet, why it holds them in the proportions shown and how, and why, they differ from those held by the life insurance company.

Must: Outstanding analysis of how the differences in the roles of a bank and a life insurance company are reflected in their balance sheets.
Comprehensive use of relevant supporting financial information.
Comprehensive use of a range of relevant supporting references.

Part c
i. You will need to research the different ways that profitability can be measured in a bank. You will then need to justify the ratios that you use by emphasising their advantages, recognising any limitations and using supporting references.\
Must: Full and detailed justification for the use of appropriate ratios. Comprehensive consideration of their advantages and possible limitations.
Comprehensive use of a range of relevant supporting references.

ii. Use the ratios to compare and contrast how profitability has varied over the last five years. This part of your answer must be supported with the use of relevant data from Bloomberg or from the bank’s last five years’ reports and accounts. You should include graphs based on the use of this data.
Must: Outstanding use of supporting financial information graphs. Professional presentation with no errors.

Please note the following important points:
• The assessment criteria for this assessment task are shown in the grid in page 4.
• Word limit: 2000 words. Adding on the 10% leeway allowed by the university, this means that you can go up to a maximum of 2200 words. Any words in excess of 2200 will not be assessed.
• The word limit does not include references, your bibliography or any appendices.
• The word-count must be clearly marked either at the beginning or end of your answer.

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