8th CFA Research Challenge kicks off 

Tuesday, 9 July 2013 00:17 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

By Cheranka Mendis The kick-off meeting for the CFA Research Challenge local level competition was held last week at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), World Trade Centre in the presence of the six teams, faculty members and mentors. Identified as the world’s most prestigious investment competition and as the ‘Investment Olympics’ by Warren Buffet, Sri Lanka will partake in the CFA Research Challenge for the eighth time this year. Teams registered are University of Moratuwa, University of Kelaniya, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, University of Colombo, Royal Institute of Colombo and Asia Pacific Institute of Information Technology (APIIT). CFA Sri Lanka Chairperson Shalini Kurukulasuriya addressing the teams stated that the overriding purpose of the challenge, locally, regionally and globally was to groom the next generation of investor professionals by giving them exposure to what a fully-fledged analyst would do. The challenge consists of four elements, she said – mentoring by CFA charter holders, writing an investment research report, presenting to a panel of judges and faculty involvement in the process. “It is a four-pronged process and those who advance from local level will go to the regional level.” The regional competition will be held in November this year in Bangkok. One of the six teams will progress to take their place among regional students. Those who progress from that will represent Asia Pacific at the global final. “This year over 3,500 students are expected to participate in the global challenge, representing 775 universities from 56 countries. This makes those who take part a part of a global community,” Kurukulasuriya said. When the challenge was launched in 2007, globally there were only around 20 universities participating with less than 100 students. The benefits of participating in this challenge has received widespread acceptance. “For students, benefits of participation are unparalleled,” she expressed. “The network you build when you go to the regional finals is that you meet the next generation of investment professionals at each level. It is about translating the theory you have learnt in universities in a practical environment, which is what counts when you go out to the working world.” By participating it is not only the intellectual rigour that is built but the ability to work as a team, meeting tight deadlines and overcoming what seems insurmountable. For the first time, CFA has hired an investment case from Dialog for the reports and presentation. Dialog Axiata Chief Financial Officer Lucy Tang gave an overview of the telecommunication business, Dialog’s positioning within Sri Lanka and the outlook for the company. In the coming weeks, the teams will work with faculty members and mentors on building a financial model for Dialog. After a question and answer session with the management on key areas of business on 2 August, the teams are expected to handover draft report to mentors and solicit feedback by 12 September. Submission date for reports is 1 October no later than 11 a.m. “Of the six teams participating, based on the report the four best teams will move on to the final round. They will have to present a 10-minute presentation and work on a 10-minute question and answer session,” she noted. A judging panel of CFA charter holders in good standing ranging from Chief Investment Officers of various funds and CEOs of investment brokerage houses will be the judges in choosing a finalist. Winner will be announced at the CFA Graduation ceremony. Last year’s winner from the local competition was University of Moratuwa, which was the best team Sri Lanka has had over its seven-year history in the challenge. An equal momentum is expected this year. Pix by Lasantha Kumara