Big win for UCT team in FNB Stockbroking and Portfolio Management trading competition

The winners of the 4th annual FNB Stockbroking and Portfolio Management Trading Game have been announced in Cape Town, with the top spot going to a team from the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) African Institute of Financial Markets and Risk Management (AIFMRM).

After a three-month trading simulation challenge utilising a demo trading platform, the team of Rakhee Kooverjee, Mohapi Mohlamonyane, Lindi-Jane Janse van Rensburg and Keagan Brown generated the highest return on a USD 100,000 initial capital.

“The AIFMRM team beat out stiff competition from Stellenbosch University (SU) and the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) to win the trading simulation,” said Dr Abhik Mukherjee, a senior lecturer with AIFMRM.

Richard Levesque, Portfolio Manager at FNB Stockbroking and Portfolio Management, said “The competition draws participants into the real world of stockbroking, aimed at helping them to understand the stockbroking process from start to end, and the risks involved. While the system is a simulation, it works on real-time prices and data. For example, if the dollar weakens in the real world, the change is adapted in the simulation as well. Stockbroking is perceived as an intimidating domain, but through this competition, we want to make it a lot more accessible.”

“The competition was launched in 2015 after a discussion with Hylton Hollander from the Department of Economics at Stellenbosch University about devising a way to give students and academics a taste of the world of trading in global financial markets.”

This year three universities were involved, with teams from US, Wits and UCT. The competition provided an opportunity for students to work together, compete against one another and learn about trading in real-time.

UCT team leader Rakhee Kooverjee said winning the game was a thrilling experience. “The last few days, in particular, were nerve-wracking, as we were trying to maintain the lead while other teams were creeping up the leader board.”

Kooverjee said the team quickly realised each other’s strengths and weaknesses and used that to their advantage. “The way a person trades reveals a lot about how they view risk and everyday decisions in life.”

It also gave them interesting insights into how markets react to trivial things – even the outcome of a soccer match. “Financial markets are a tricky yet interesting environment, and I thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the competition.”

For Mohapi Mohlamonyane, the financial nature of the competition was a new experience since he has an engineering background. “I did not know much about the financial world when we started, and the market seems to do whatever it wants! You can factor in everything that you can think of and still be wrong.” He said the toughest part was remaining calm when their stock plummeted. “Most of the time, luck was on our side, and we always bounced back.”

Another team member, Keagan Brown, agreed. “We led for most of the competition, but we had our doubts leading up to the final day. We were pleased to see we just beat the runners-up by $600.” He said there was much excitement on the final day. “There was a day when we lost $13 000, and we thought it was all over for us, but we stayed true to our investments, and they bounced back the following day.” He said there was nothing more satisfying than taking out a large position and seeing it grow.

Lindi-Jane Janse van Rensburg said that working in a simulated trading environment was a fantastic experience. “Our team consisted of two members from an engineering background and two from a Business Science background, and this was great in creating diversity. I loved the competitive element it brought out in us!”

Each winning team member received an FNB Stockbroking account at zero cost plus R4 000 worth of FirstRand shares. Levesque said, “FNB Stockbroking and Portfolio Management would also be involved with the students and guide them along their wealth creation journey.”

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