University of Sri Jayewardenepura wins CFA Financial Analyst Competition

Friday, 26 November 2010 02:15 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

University of Sri Jayewardenepura walked away with the top prize of the 2010 CFA Financial Analyst Competition.

Seated from left: Sheyantha Abeykoon, CFA - Vice President CFA Sri Lanka, Joey Chan, Director Planning & Programme Development, CFA Institute Asia Pacific Operations, Dr. Indrajith Coomaraswamy, Former Director, Economic Affairs, Commonwealth Secretariat, Malinga Arsekularatne, CFA – President CFA Sri Lanka.  Standing from left: Nishantha Jayaweera, CFA (mentor), Dr. YKW Banda, Lecturer in charge, Faculty of Management & Finance University of Sri Jayawardenapura, C R Ponnamperuma, KA De A Wijesinghe, S A P I Dias – team leader, R A P Weliwatte, V O V Karunaratne (team members - University of Sri Jayawardenapura)

The announcement and award was made at the annual CFA Charter Awards and Oration held on Wednesday at the Taj Samudra, Colombo. The teams from University of Colombo and University of Moratuwa – Department of Management Technology were First Runners Up and Second Runners Up respectively.

The competition was co-sponsored by the Colombo Stock Exchange, while the Securities and Exchange Commission was also a key facilitator.

The wining team was led by Punsalani Dias and included C.R. Ponnaperuma, R.A.P. Weliwatte, K.A. De A. Wijesinghe and V.O.V. Karunaratne. Dr. Y.K.W. Banda was the faculty member in charge.

The local competition is part of the global investment challenge organised by the CFA Institute. The international challenge is held among student teams from the world’s top universities, business schools and finance programmes. The Jayewardenepura team will proceed to Bali, Indonesia to take part in the regional competition.

The award ceremony on Wednesday was the finale of a demanding task that commenced in July this year. A total of 11 teams from the country’s leading universities and business schools participated in this year’s competition, the fourth consecutive held thus far.

The contestants were required to make an investment recommendation (buy, sell or hold) on the shares of Asian Hotels and Properties Plc. This entailed carrying out fairly in depth research over a three month period on the operations and prospects of the Asian Hotels. It also necessitated understanding the industries in which Asian Hotels operates.

The senior management of Asian Hotels provided the students with an insight in to the industry dynamics and the future prospects of the company. This half a day session gave the students the ability to interact with the company management and ask questions relevant to their analysis.

Simulating real world work environment of investment analysts, the contestants had to then publish a research report justifying their recommendation and also make convincing presentation to a panel of judges summarising the key arguments.

The teams were ultimately judged on the report produced as well as the presentation made. Research reports were assessed on a specified scoring criteria giving weight-age to several areas which included, business description, financial analysis, valuation and investment risks. The scoring criteria for the presentations were based on the argument made, data presented in support of recommendations, and ability to defend recommendation during the Q & A session.

The focus of the competition was on learning best practices in equity research and formulating a convincing argument to defend conclusions. The winner was selected based on the thoroughness of its analysis and knowledge of the company rather than their predictions on the stock price.

The benefits of the competition were obvious to the participating students as well as the universities and business schools. Taking part in the competition will set the participating institution apart from other business schools and help build their image as institutions that strive to bridge the gap between academic knowledge and real world application.

Further, this competition will encourage healthy competitive rivalry amongst the universities and business schools in the future. It is expected that this competition will help build the next generation of finance professionals thus helping to set the platform for a vibrant financial market.