The CFA Institute Research Challenge
The CFA Institute Research Challenge is an exclusive global event held by the CFA Society. The challenge aims to test participants on the skills of equity research and valuation in the field of financial analysis.
Sunway University Team B, consisting of four students – Gabriel Ng Zhu Liang, Matthew Goh Sek Foong, Nicholas Cheong Yeow Hoe, and Nikolas Adiprasetya, emerged as the first runner-up of the competition.
Nikolas Adiprasetya was the leader of the team who used his specialised knowledge in business valuation to evaluate the overall company value of a chosen company for the report; whereas three students from the BSc (Hons) in Actuarial Studies programme - Gabriel Ng Zhu Liang, Matthew Goh Sek Foong, Nicholas Cheong Yeow Hoe, collectively aided in other aspects of the report, which include the industry overview, financial analysis, and ESG sections. The team was supported by an academic mentor and an industry mentor.
All 28 participating teams were required to prepare an investment analysis on a chosen company for the first round of the challenge. This was followed by the local finals, which was held via Zoom. During the two rounds of the challenge, all teams had the privilege to meet up with some of the directors of the chosen company to clarify some details for their research. In addition, they learned about the common practices adopted by financial analysts and investment bankers in the corporate world from their industry mentors.
Under the mentors' guidance, the team managed to apply the concepts that they learned in Year 1 and Year 2 of their degree programme in preparing the investment analysis. The team felt definite satisfaction when they were able to apply the theoretical knowledge acquired from lessons in practical applications, such as stock price analysis.
Commenting on the experience of participating in the challenge, Matthew Goh remarked that the team members were able to apply their critical and logical thinking skills in solving problems. The team initially stumbled upon a hiccup, whereby they were unable to reinforce a hypothesis made on the company. Upon discussion with the mentors, the team proposed a logical flowchart of ideas and conclusions, supported with financial evidence and consumer psychology, hence coming to the same conclusion through logical inferences.
Matthew Goh further commented that the challenge provided a lifetime experience for all competition entrants - it allows a simulation of working life as all participants were trained to tackle the task from the very beginning, without much guidance from the organizers. This trained the participants to be more creative in their thoughts and research. Such competition will expand one's horizon, and to quote the notable British actuary, Frank Mitchell Redington, “An actuary who is only an actuary is not an actuary”.
Dr Lai Kee Huong
School of Mathematical Sciences