University of Sri Jayewardenepura triumphs at 11th CFA Sri Lanka Research Challenge Finals

Monday, 5 March 2018 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

CFA Society Sri Lanka Rsearch Challenge 2018 final competitors presentation


  • Students advance to regional finals of world’s leading investment research competition


CFA Sri Lanka recently hosted the CFA Institute Research Challenge in Colombo for the 11th consecutive year at JAIC Hilton. 

University of Sri Jayewardenepura won the local competition of the CFA Institute Research Challenge 2018, and will advance to the Asia Pacific Regional round in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where they will compete against leading universities from the region in April. 

The team from University of Sri Jayewardenepura consists of V. D. Wijemanne (Team Leader), H. P. M. D. V. Jayawardena, R. P. Wickremasinghe and D. S. Vithanage. The team was supported by lecturer S. D. L. Kongahawatte and mentored by Rasanja Perera, CFA. The winning team beat nine other teams, including the team from University of Kelaniya who emerged runners up. The other participant teams include two teams each from University of Colombo and Royal Institute of Colombo, and one team each from University of Moratuwa, Mercury Postgraduate Institute, Asia Pacific Institute of Information Technology and University of Wayamba. 

CFA Sri Lanka kicked-off the competition on 8 September 2017. During the preliminary local round, ten teams from Sri Lanka’s leading universities and business schools submitted written research reports based on their analysis of Hatton National Bank PLC, a premier private sector commercial bank in the country. University of Colombo Team 01, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, University of Kelaniya and Mercury Postgraduate Institute competed in the second round of the local research challenge which involved presenting their research findings to a panel of judges and facing a Q&A session. Their presentation at the local finals of Sri Lanka Research Challenge was the culmination of months of research; interviews with company management, competitors, and clients; investment research and presentation training, including training conducted by Moody’s Analytics Knowledge Services. 

“Being involved in the CFA Research Challenge was an opportunity of a life time for us to gain a taste of what it is like to be an equity analyst by profession. The training, mentoring and exposure we got throughout the last few months was priceless and winning the competition was the perfect icing on the cake. We look forward to make our country proud in the upcoming regional and, hopefully, global rounds of the competition,” said University of Sri Jayewardenepura Team Leader Vinu Wijemanne.

CFA most respected and recognised investment management designation in the world

CFA Society Sri Lanka President Rachini Rajapaksa said that the Chartered Financial Analyst designation conferred by the CFA Institute USA is the most respected and recognised investment management designation in the world. 

CFA Program has a practitioner-driven curriculum updated regularly to suit the evolution of the profession to prepare the investment managers for the future. No credentials are as widely respected in the industry for its breadth of advanced and current skills, global relevance and ethical grounding as the CFA charter and none is harder to obtain. 

Rajapaksa said participants of the Research Challenge have undergone a preview of this valuable designation and each one of them are extremely proud of their achievements.

The CFA Institute Research Challenge is an annual, global competition that provides university students with hands-on mentoring and intensive training in financial analysis. The objective of this event is promoting best practices in equity research among the next generation of analysts. 

Each Research Challenge is a culmination of the efforts of more than 5,000 students from over 1,000 universities representing over 140 Societies worldwide. 

Local competitions organised by societies lead up to regional finals; regional champions then convene for the global final.

Students work in teams to research and analyse a publicly traded company and this year in Sri Lanka it was Hatton National Bank PLC that was chosen to be the subject company.  Each team has written a research report on the company with a buy, sell, or hold recommendation and the shortlisted teams have been asked to present and defend their analysis today to a panel of judges consisting of industry professionals. In this process they have had face-to-face meetings with company management and we are extremely grateful to senior leadership of the bank for giving us their valuable time amidst the busy schedules.

In researching the subject company, developing the report and presenting the work, the participants have also been given an opportunity to develop not only their technical skills but very importantly, the soft skills as well. Some of the areas the soft skill development was available were Tips on Competition Attire and Presence, Ending with Confidence: Acing the Q&A Session, Presentation Skills for Investment Professionals, Presenting and Defending Your Recommendation in a challenging environment. “Having gone through this unique opportunity, I believe each one of you are a winner no matter whether you earn a trophy or not,” Rajapaksa commented

She said the competition wouldn’t have been a success for these students, if not for the valuable time devoted by the faculty advisers and the CFA Sri Lanka Mentors in guiding these youngsters and contribution in shaping the next generation of equity analysts is much appreciated.

She thanked the report graders who have had and the presentation judges who had the most difficult and the most responsible task of making an independent and objective judgment in the selecting the winner for the Asia – Pacific regional finals. “Your judgment will be a true reflection of upholding the vision of the institute to lead the investment profession with ethics, integrity, and professional excellence,” Rajapaksa added.

This year’s winner would be privileged not only to participate at the regional finals in Malaysia but also witness the global finals held in the same venue following the Asia- Pacific Finals. CFA Society Sri Lanka is also delighted and honoured that two of its members have been invited to serve on panel of the judges at the regional finals, with one of them serving in the past and the other this year.

On behalf of CFA Society Sri Lanka, Rajapaksa placed on record its appreciation and gratitude of the tireless efforts of Samanmalee and Udeeshan under the helm of the Research Challenge Chair, Vishnu Balachandra, over the last 7-8 months to conclude this event to the perfection. “The assistance of our able administrator Juanitha and event manager Kairos Events undoubtedly need a special note of appreciation too,” she added.

She also wished the competing teams the very best and expressed the hope that the winners will bring back honour to Mother Sri Lanka by not only winning the regional finals but the Global Challenge too. 

CFA Sri Lanka is an association of local investment professionals that promotes the highest ethical standards and professional excellence within the local investment community. Its membership of 205 members consists of portfolio managers, equity analysts, banking professionals, investment advisors, and other high-level financial practitioners. It has served CFA charter holders and CFA Program candidates locally since 2000.

CFA Institute is the global association of investment professionals that sets the standard for professional excellence and credentials. The organisation is a champion for ethical behaviour in investment markets and a respected source of knowledge in the global financial community. The end goal: to create an environment where investors’ interests come first, markets function at their best, and economies grow. CFA Institute has more than 113,000 members in 140 countries and territories, including more than 100,000 CFA charter holders, and 144 member societies. 

Pix by Ruwan Walpola