ERC student winners open TSX market

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Equity Research Challenge

Student winners of this year's Equity Research Challenge (ERC) cashed in on their prize by participating in the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) opening ceremonies on Thursday morning, March 28th, with the winning students ringing the opening bell.

As part of the 4th year Accounting and Finance Investments course, the ERC is designed to challenge students to aspire to industry-level thoroughness in the analysis of their assigned company. The goal is to have the students build on their in-class learning to conduct detailed, unbiased analysis of a company that is independent of market and media influence. Final presentations and written reports by the student groups were governed by the same rules and expectations as the international Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Research Challenge.

"The Equity Research Challenge taught us valuable investment analysis techniques, presentation skills, and how to work productively with a team. We are grateful to the University of Waterloo for their extremely helpful finance and actuarial science faculty members, who shared with us their knowledge of the investment and insurance industries." states Andrew George-Parkin, the designated spokesperson for the team. Andrew, a Computing and Financial Management (CFM) student, along with Usman Chaudhry (Accounting and Financial Management), Ying Wu (Actuarial Science & Statistics), and Helen Xiangxiang Zhang (Actuarial Science & Statistics), also took home $1000 in prize money as the winning team.

The 2013 ERC featured 22 teams (105 students) from a mixture of University of Waterloo programs within accounting, finance, math, actuarial science, economics and engineering. All 22 teams presented to a panel of 9 judges from industry and within the University of Waterloo. Four student teams were selected for the finalist round.

"Our students have performed well over the years and fill many leadership roles in financial management. The four winning students are fine examples of the caliber of engaged students who have demonstrated their abilities to bridge the gap between the classroom and the real world through their insightful analysis and presentation of their findings," states Dr. Tom Scott, Director of the School of Accounting and Finance.

ERC student winners open TSX market

2013 ERC Judges

Gisella Agusta is currently Director of Human Resources for ITG Canada. Ms. Agusta has over a decade of experience in the field of Human Resources. She began her Human Resources (HR) career in the brokerage industry at Richardson Greenshields (now RBC Capital Markets) and accepted progressive positions in the broadcasting, food services and retail sector before returning to the financial sector at Merrill Lynch (now Bank of America) and TD Waterhouse. Ms. Agusta has a bachelor's degree from Wilfrid Laurier University and obtained her HR designation from Humber College and the HR Professional Association of Ontario.

Michelle Heaphy is currently Director, Relationship Manager – Corporate Banking Canada for Scotiabank – Global Banking and Markets (formerly Scotia Capital Inc.) and has held this role for the past 3 years. Prior to this, she worked in Scotia's global cash management area where she managed a team of sales professionals that marketed the bank's suite of products to corporate clients. Ms. Heaphy's career has spanned more than 25 years, with a wide range of positions from Portfolio Manager, to various sales and trading roles in both foreign exchange and money markets. She also worked in the US for 5 years focusing on specialty tax-exempt bond financing transactions for small and mid-market US businesses. Ms. Heaphy attended York University, with a primary focus on finance-related courses. She also holds the Canadian Securities Course certificate and is a member of Women in Capital Markets, where she served the past 4 years on the Board of Directors.

Gordon Kim is a Senior Portfolio Analyst and is responsible for providing high-level support to the Portfolio Management, Research and Marketing areas at Mawer Investment Management Ltd. working predominantly with the Institutional Portfolio Management group. Prior to joining Mawer, Mr. Kim was responsible for manager due diligence and the ongoing monitoring of North American hedge fund managers at Arrow Capital Management. Mr. Kim was a key member of Arrow's Risk Management and a voting member of the Investment Management committees. Prior to joining Arrow, Mr. Kim was the Head of Research at Aon Consulting. He also led the research effort for a major Canadian bank focusing on traditional, alternative and structured product research for retail distribution. As well, Mr. Kim served as a senior analyst and officer at a global consulting firm responsible for manager research, due diligence, and portfolio construction overseeing $2 billion in assets. Gordon graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Western Ontario and received his Master of Business Administration from the Queen's School of Business at Queen's University.

Dan Lavric serves as Portfolio Manager - Credit for Equitable Life of Canada. In his role, Mr. Lavric is responsible for managing the corporate bond portfolios, credit research and identifying investment opportunities in public credit markets and project finance. Prior to joining Equitable Life, Mr. Lavric worked for Spelman Research as an equity analyst covering a range of sectors in the U.S. and European markets. He served as adviser to various World Bank-sponsored projects and assisted in corporate turnarounds in emerging markets. Mr. Lavric acts as a mentor for the Student Investment Fund at the University of Waterloo. Mr. Lavric is a CFA charterholder and an active member of the Toronto CFA Society.

Michael Newallo has over 15 years of progressive capital markets experience. For the past 5 years, Mr. Newallo was a Managing Director in the Global Equity Derivatives group at National Bank Financial. Mr. Newallo was responsible for the electronic trading business as well as sales for the Prime Services group - an integrated service offering of Prime Brokerage, Securities Finance, Equity Derivatives and Electronic Trading for the alternative asset management space. Prior to joining National Bank Financial, Mr. Newallo was the Executive Director of Prime Brokerage and Electronic Trading at Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) World Markets and the Co-Head of Hedge Fund Services at RBC. Mr. Newallo holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Toronto. He also holds the CFA and Certified Management Accountants (CMA) designations.

Anne Peiris is a Principal in the Toronto office of Mercer's Human Capital Group. With over 15 years of experience, she supports clients in the private, public, and not-for-profit sector in developing compensation management systems. Prior to joining Mercer, Ms. Peiris was a Consultant for Towers Watson in Toronto where she gained over 10 years of experience in corporate compensation groups within the financial services sector. Ms. Peiris has spoken at compensation events for World at Work, Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA), Conference Board of Canada, and the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) Rewards Association. She holds a B.A. from McMaster University and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Human Resources Management from Humber College. She has attained her Certificate in Human Resource Management (CHRM) through the Human Resources Professionals Association of Ontario. Ms. Peiris is also actively involved in charitable organizations, sitting on over 10 event-based steering committees for various fundraisers throughout the GTA.

Dax Philbert has over 20 years financial services experience in the areas of retail banking, commercial and residential mortgages, direct marketing, governance risk and compliance together with regulatory strategy consulting. Mr. Philbert is currently the founder and managing director of iComply Consulting Inc. a boutique governance, risk and compliance practice based in Toronto while providing subject matter expertise in legislative compliance management, Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), Dodd-Frank, Volcker Rule risk and project management to global clients. Mr. Philbert has designed two compliance risk monitoring systems which were used by global asset management firms. Notwithstanding, he has written several legal articles to be published in the Bulgarian Journal of International Law on financial services legislation and post financial crisis regulatory reform. Mr. Philbert is currently concluding his LLM in International Banking and Finance and is currently writing on "The Adequacy of Post-Crisis Financial Services Legislation Provisions".

Ren Plastina is a Managing Director in the North American Energy & Infrastructure Group at BNP Paribas. Based in New York, Mr. Plastina has led a number of structured debt and equity transactions on behalf of the bank, with a total capital value in excess of $15Bn. He's currently leading transactions in the power generation, midstream oil & gas and waste-to energy sectors. Over his 15-year career in the banking sector, Mr. Plastina has led advisory, as well as debt and equity financings in the energy, public infrastructure and telecommunications sectors. Prior to joining BNP Paribas, Mr. Plastina worked at the CIT Group and focused on structured debt and equity investments in the energy and infrastructure sectors in the United States and Europe. Before this, he worked with CIBC World Markets in Canada, focused on cross-border finance and the Bank of America, Canada, focused on commercial foreign exchange transactions.

Tom Scott is the Director of the School of Accounting and Finance. A noted leader and senior administrator, Dr. Scott came to the SAF as Director in July 2012 from the Alberta School of Business at the University of Alberta, where he held positions of Vice Dean and Professor of Accounting. Tom has created a legacy of strategic and academic excellence for the Alberta School of Business. He led several academic program initiatives, while building a strong platform to support both teaching and research. Tom has published in leading academic and practitioner journals, and has been a member of the Accounting Standards Board of Canada (AcSB) from 2003 to 2011. In this capacity, Tom chaired the Academic Advisory Committee and played an important role in developing Accounting Standards for Private Enterprises.
     Tom earned his PhD from Queen's University and holds an MBA and BComm from McGill University. In addition to his appointment as Director, Tom is also a professor, with tenure, in the School of Accounting and Finance. In August 2012, Tom was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for his significant contributions to in the improvement of accounting standards in Canada.

ERC Coordinator

Patrizia Ferrarese has accumulated over 15 years of experience in the investment industry. Her roles have included Options Proprietary Trader and Options Market Maker for Midland Walwyn/Merrill Lynch and Equity Proprietary Trader for National Bank Financial. In 2007, Ms. Ferrarese co-founded and acted as the Commodity Trading Manager for hedge fund Montrose Hammond & Co. Ms. Ferrarese spent time as a Director on the ETF desk of Newedge in New York before her current role as principal and founder of PF Group Inc., which provides strategic and financial consulting services to various companies including London Investment Partners and ODYE. She also serves as a member of the Advisory Board for the CA-SAF Centre for Capital Markets Education. Ms. Ferrarese holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in economics from York University and an MBA from Wilfrid Laurier University.

SAF Faculty Coordinator

Craig Geoffrey is a Lecturer with the University of Waterloo. Mr. Geoffrey began working as a Researcher/Analyst with Canadian Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC) in 1999, where he conducted financial and statistical analyses of distressed assets. In 2000, Mr. Geoffrey started working at National Bank Financial (NBF) managing the FX exposure of a proprietary equity trading group. In 2001, he moved from managing FX to Senior Proprietary Trader, where he developed and executed equity investment strategies using the firm's capital. In 2007, Mr. Geoffrey left NBF to co-found Montrose Hammond & Co., an investment management firm. Since 2011, he has been a Lecturer at the School of Accounting and Finance at the University of Waterloo where he teaches corporate finance and investment courses, and a Volunteer Advisor with Canadian Executive Service Organization (CESO) – an agency working with not-for-profit and government organizations around the world to promote sustainable economic development. He has appeared in various media including CA Magazine and CTV, as well as webinar and live speaking engagements for Thomson Reuters Accelus and the Canadian Institute. Mr. Geoffrey holds an MBA from the Joseph L. Rotman School of Management, a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in economics from Queen's University, and is a CFA charterholder.

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The Equity Research Challenge taught us valuable investment analysis techniques, presentation skills, and how to work productively with a team. We are grateful to the University of Waterloo for their extremely helpful finance and actuarial science faculty members, who shared with us their knowledge of the investment and insurance industries.
Intact Financial, 2013 ERC winning team
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