SAF Students Capture World Championship at the CFA Investment Research Challenge

Thursday, April 14, 2016

SAF studentsCongratulations to Brent, Adnan, Daniel, Kamaljot, and Rudder on their win at the Global CFA Institute Research Challenge!

Impressing industry judges, the SAF student team captures the 2016 world championship of the CFA Institute Research Challenge.

Over 1,000 university teams from 70 countries competed with 99 teams advancing to the Regionals and 4 advancing to the Global Finals. The SAF student team beat out the University of Georgia, the Ateneo de Manila University, and Politecnico di Milano to capture the championship and a $10,000 prize.

The SAF congratulates our students on this prestigious accomplishment!


March 3, 2016, by Carrie Gilmour

School of Accounting and Finance (SAF) student team of Brent Small (AFM), Adnan Khan (AFM), Daniel Zhang (Biotech/CPA), Kamaljot Dhaliwal (CFM) and Rudder Zhang (BMath) will be representing Ontario and advancing to the Americas Regional competition of the international CFA Institute Research Challenge.

This marks the fourth year that a Waterloo team has won the Local (provincial) level competition to advance to the Americas Regional CFA Institute Research Challenge competition. The annual competition draws over 4,000 students world-wide from over 865 universities in 70 countries. The winning team from each of the Local competitions advance to one of three Regional competitions – Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe/Middle East/Africa – and two teams from the Americas Regional and one from each of the Asia Pacific and Europe/Middle East/Africa advances to the Global Challenge.

“CFA Society Toronto is pleased to congratulate the University of Waterloo on winning the Local level of the 2016 CFA Institute Research Challenge.  This is the fourth time the University of Waterloo has won the Local level and we are excited to see them represent Toronto on a global scale in the Americas Regionals taking place in Chicago.”

The CFA Institute Research Challenge requires student teams (1 team per university) to evaluate a selected public company, with Canadian Tire being this year’s company. Canadian Tire is a public corporation that also owns companies such as the Forzani Group, which includes FGL Sports, CTFS (Canadian Tire Financial Services) and CT Reit (a real estate investment trust) .

Students put an enormous amount of time - some over 200 hours of research – into their written report and preparation to present their buy/sell/hold recommendations for the publicly traded company. The SAF student team logged dozens of hours spent on Skype running through their presentation scripts as 3 team members were located at Waterloo on an academic term, and 2 were located in Toronto and Ottawa for their co-op work terms.

SAF winning teamSAF Finance lecturer and the team’s faculty mentor, Craig Geoffrey, prepared the students well to ensure that their depth of knowledge of the case and their insightful valuation was noticed by the industry judges. It was best demonstrated during the final Q&A session to which, “each question answered [by the student team was] with pinpoint accuracy.”

Steve Balaban, the team’s industry mentor and Chief Investment Officer at Mink Capital spoke highly about our students’ success.

“Our students performed a complex valuation analysis that was based on the sum-of-the-parts method, whereby students used an array of valuation techniques to value each segment of the company. The students put in countless hours of preparation through research, store visits, calls and in-person meetings. This was a big differentiating factor between our team’s presentation and the other [competing teams]."

The SAF student teams have done exceedingly well, having been able to advance to the Local Competition hosted by CFA Society Toronto for the past 7 years. Teams from 2012, 2013, 2015, and now 2016 will advance to the Americas Regional Challenge. 

Geoffrey knows this is a lifelong lesson for SAF students, “From a teaching perspective it is inspiring to see students pour such passion into their work. The lessons learned from the experience, regardless of the outcome, will set them apart on their career paths.”

The School is extremely proud of Rudder, Daniel, Brent, Kam and Adnan and wish them well in the Regionals and Global Final which will held on the same day this year in Chicago, Illinois the week of April 11th.

SAF CFA team