by Carrie Gilmour, recruitment assistant and webmaster
The 2015 Investment Research Challenge (IRC) was held on Friday, June 26th with 56 students competing for the Anish Chopra IRC prizes of $4,000 with the top prize being $2000. The event is organized by SAF in collaboration with AFSA.
The IRC is a one day competition open to students from 2B onwards. All four School of Accounting and Finance undergraduate programs were represented by 14 teams with the largest group being 2B students. The competition required a student group to analyze a publicly-traded stock and defend its buy/hold/sell recommendation. The teams were judged in the preliminary round by faculty panels.
The top team in each of the four panels advanced to the final round where each group had 20 minutes to present and answer questions to an industry panel consisting of Feidhlim Boyle (Principal, Stacey Muirhead Capital Management), David Brattan (Consultant, Infrastructure Development), Terry Haines (Director of Treasury, Linamar Corporation), Pawel Rajszel (Head of Research, Veritas Investment Research Corporation) and Michael Williams (Portfolio Manager at Independent Accountants' Investment Counsel Inc.)
Anish Chopra has sponsored the prizes for the IRC since its inception in 2013.
Anish Chopra is the Managing Director and Head of Core Canadian Equities, TD Asset Management Inc. Anish was also the Chair of the Advisory Board of the School's Student-run Investment Fund from its inception until April 2014.
The event is also funded by the CPA-SAF Centre for Capital Markets Education.
Students use the skills they have learned in qualitative and quantitative analysis of a stock to research a designated company, all with negligible analyst following, consequently requiring them to prepare their own valuations and recommendations.
The practice they get from preparing for IRC, the knowledge gained from their team mates who may have experience and knowledge to share with them, the ability to make a quick pitch and respond succinctly to intensive questioning from the judging panel enhance the learning experience.
The judges were impressed by the teams’ knowledge of the assigned firms and their confident presentations. The judges encouraged students to focus on the competitive advantage of the firms to provide better explanations to justify their valuations.
Hammad Shams (AFM 2B) said, “It’s a great learning opportunity outside of class. This is our first ever finance based competition so it was a way for us to apply our practical knowledge and to see what our competitors have done and learn from them.”
Philip Boutin (AFM 2B) added, “(The IRC) gave us good feedback on public presentation skills as well as team work. There are team activities in all of our courses and it helps to better understand how each member of the team can present properly.”
The winning team consisting of Karan Balachandar (AFM 3B), Sophia Chen (AFM 3B), Anthony Cheung (AFM 2B), and Priya Murali (CFM 2B) were surprised by the judges choice in choosing them. “We feel really humbled. It is definitely something we were not expecting and the fact that we won is such a great outcome,” said Priya Murali on behalf of her group.
When asked why they chose to compete in the Investment Research Challenge they were quick to answer, “We thought it would be a great way to improve on our presentation skills and get feedback from industry judges. We thought the IRC would be a really great opportunity to integrate everything that we’ve learned from school and our co-op terms.”
The team plans to divide the $2000 prize evenly and apply it to paying down their tuition.
Congratulations to the other winners:
- Second Prize ($1,000): Jordan Lee (AFM 2B), Kevin Li (AFM 2B), Brent Small (AFM 3B), John Youn (AFM 2B)
- Third Prize ($700): Christopher Chan (AFM 3B), Katherine Chan (AFM 2B), Taha Shayeq (AFM 3B), Daniel Zhang (Biotech-CPA 3B)
- Fourth Prize ($300): Michael Kam (AFM 2B), Mahin Shahid (Math-CPA 3B), Grace Tang (AFM 3B) , Louis Wong (AFM 2B)