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William P. Hobby
Center for Public Service
Department of Political Science
601 University Drive
San Marcos, TX 78666
phone - 512.245.3453
fax - 512.245.7815

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Public Funds Investment Act Training

Register for PFIA Courses Online

Sponsored by the William P. Hobby Center for Public Service at Texas State University
Are you tired of traveling to a distant city to satisfy your 10-hour training requirement?
Would you like to choose your own curriculum from a menu of choices?
Would you like to learn something new and fresh about investments?

Then this online course is for you!
A portfolio manager taking the course says:
“This beats sitting in class for two days. It was convenient—I worked at my pace and time schedule. Information was an interesting refresher and not focused entirely on repetitive topics of regulation.”

An investment officer taking the course says:
"You have made this a very positive experience and I plan on obtaining my investment credits through your program every year going forward. As you know, governments are strapped for cash and although we must continue to train our staff, we not long have the cash and budget to do so. Thereby, I was delighted to find this option. Attending a seminar requires an overnight stay , therefor not only do we incur the hotel and travel costs, but also lost time working to travel to and from the seminar."

Designed with the busy city official in mind.
This online course is designed to help you comply with the training requirements of the Public Funds Investment Act without having to travel to attend a seminar or conference. All of the instruction can be done at your own pace in your own home or office. All you need to complete the course is access to the internet and a physical mailing address.
We send you books on topics that you select. You read the books and answer a series of questions online. Once you complete your questions, we send you a certificate of completion. It really is that easy!


What does the Public Funds Investment Act require?

The Public Funds Investment Act requires that investment officers of local governments receive 10 hours of instruction relating to the officer’s responsibilities under the Act within 12 months of assuming duties. The Act also requires officers to complete 10 hours every 2 years subsequent.

This online course is designed to provide 10 or more hours of instruction.

You have over 20 hours of instruction to choose from. The topics—and combination of topics—is up to you.

What does the course cost?

Ten hours of credit is $300. You can take a minimum of 5 credit hours for $200. Each hour above 10 hours costs an additional $30.

How does it work?

Once you register for the course and select your topics, we will deliver books to your home or office. When you are ready, you will log onto Texas State University’s online learning system. In this system, you will answer a series of questions about your reading.

The system will give you feedback about your answers immediately. If you answer 70% or more of the questions correctly, Texas State University will send you a certificate of completion.

The topics are constantly being updated. Following is a list of our latest offerings:

The Act – 2 hours
Review the Public Funds Investment Act. This module is required for all new investment officers.

The Ascent of Money – 10 hours
In this module, you will read the New York Times Bestseller, The Ascent of Money, by Niall Ferguson, to learn the history of money and identify the economic forces that precipitated gigantic government bailouts and upended global markets.   

Bonds – 4 hours
Learn bond types and bond terminology.  Watch videos and read online documents to get an overview of how bonds work and how they are priced.

Cash Flow – 3 hours
The Public Funds Investment Act is about investing extra cash. But how do you generate this extra cash? The book The Four Principles of Happy Cash Flow discusses ideas for managing working capital and cash so that you generate as much cash as possible in your organization.

Derivatives: How to recognize them – 2 hours (NEW!)
Laws in 2011 forced hedge funds and other firms that trade opaque derivative products to bolster their capital cushion. U.S. regulators are working to curb risky behavior that fed the 2008 financial crisis. A derivative contract can be based on something impossible to trade, such as changes in the weather, or as normal as a DOW stock. In this module, learn the risks of derivatives as well as how to recognize and avoid them.

Due Diligence - 1 hour (NEW!)
As an investment officer, you are responsible for prudently investing your organization's extra cash. And there are plenty of folks who would love to control your investments and earn a living from them. In this module, learn simple due diligence procedures that make sure you and those you serve are not ripped off by slick investment guys in gray suits!

Federal Monetary Policy – 4 hours
In this module, you will learn the responsibilities of the Federal Reserve Banks and the tools they use to manage the US economy. You will read three chapters from US Monetary Policy and Financial Markets written by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Financial Statement Analysis – 4 hours
Learn tools and ratios that can help you diagnose the financial health of an entity – either your own entity or an entity that you are investing in.

Fraud – 3 hours
This module introduces you to concepts and terminology relating to fraud prevention and detection. As one of our readings tells us:

“Fraud is a common risk that should not be ignored. The incidence of fraud is now so common that its occurrence is no longer remarkable, only its scale.”  Watch a video, read articles, and refer to reports created by the Certified Fraud Examiners.

Graphics – 3 hours
Learn how to present investment information in user-friendly graphics and tables. Read Say It with Charts.

Investment Policy – 2 hours
Examine several example investment policies from the Government Finance Officers Association and the Association of Public Treasurers.

The Leading Indicators: A Short History of the Numbers that Rule our World - 5 hours (NEW!)
We are bombarded every day with numbers that tell us our economy is doing, whether our future looks bright or dim.  GNP, balance of trade, unemployment, inflation, and consumer confidence guide our actions as investors, yet few of us know where these numbers come from, what they mean, and how they impact our economy.  In this module, read the 2014 book on the subject by Zachary Karabell.

Local Government's Financial Crisis – 5 hours (NEW!)
Local Government's Financial Crisis: State, municipal, county and other local governments are experiencing a perfect storm. Lower property values, federal debt and cutbacks, growing medical costs, and increased demand for services are pressing governments to make tough and unpopular decisions. In this module, watch an excerpt from the movie IOUSA, read “Report of the State Budget Crisis Task Force” and newspaper articles, and watch a Sixty Minutes segment.

Money Markets – 1 hour
Are money markets as safe as the bank would have you believe? In this module, learn the nature of money market funds so that you invest wisely.

Mutual Funds – 4 hours
Learn the unique purpose and history of mutual funds as well as how to choose a high performing mutual fund.

Risk and Diversification – 2 hours (NEW!)
Hear what Warren Buffett and other investment experts have to say about portfolio risk and diversification as well as learn the different types of portfolio risk and how to manage them. Watch videos and read online documents..

The Trigger of the PFIA: Orange County – 2 hours (NEW!)
Learn why the financial managers of Orange County were pushed into making risky investments, how the Orange County Bankruptcy happened, and what necessary reforms (including Texas's PFIA!) resulted.  Read an online document.

NOTE: If you are a returning student, please select modules that you have not taken before. If you need to know which modules you have already taken, write to leita@leitahart.com

You get to choose your curriculum!

Choose any combination of modules to add up to ten or more hours of instruction. Your selection is completely up to you.

What is the refund policy?

Once you register for this course, NO refund will be given. Depending on circumstances, you may be granted an extension of time to complete the course.

How long do I have to complete the course?

You will have eight weeks from the day we send you your password to complete the course. Two-week extensions may be granted depending on individual circumstances. After 1 extension, students will have to pay $100 for each additional two-week extension.

When will I get my certificate of completion?

Your certificate will be delivered electronically 2 weeks after you complete the course.

Who can I contact to ask questions?

At any time during your studies, you may contact Leita Hart, the curriculum designer, at


How do I register?

To register, complete the registration form and click submit. If you have questions, please contact Ms. Marilyn K. Balanoff at mb39@txstate.edu. Once your form is received, we will contact you with your password, your books, and further instructions as soon as possible.

Click Here to Register

Register for PFIA Courses Online