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University of the West Indies wins local round of investment competition

Published:Friday | March 24, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Duane Barrett, University Relations Chairperson of Jamaica Association for Investment Professionals (JAIP) and Jacqueline De Lisser, CFA Industry mentor at the University of the West Indies (UWI), with (from left) Dayandria Clarke, Lando Graham, Khalid Smith, Shawna-Lee Gordon, team leader, Derica Gardner; and Dr. Twila-Mae Logan, Faculty Advisor, UWI.

A team of undergraduate students and aspiring financial analysts from the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona Campus, secured its place in the regional level of the CFA Institute Research Challenge, following a victory over teams of postgraduate students at the local Atlantic Finals in the Caribbean region.

This is the first time that Jamaica has been represented officially in the international challenge held annually, exposing university students to professional investment management, hands-on mentoring, and intensive training in the field.

Northern Caribbean University (NCU) has entered but at a time that predates the organisation of the Jamaica Association of Investment Professionals (JAIP), the official representative body of the CFA.

JAIP supported the entrance of teams from both the University of Technology and the UWI, Mona. The National Commercial Bank (NCB) sponsored the teams for the first round of competition at the University of Miami in Florida on March 3. The team was also mentored by NCB's Jacqueline Delisser.

University Relations Chairperson for the JAIP Duane Barrett said that it is of great significance that Jamaica has made an official entrance and that results have been promising.

"Jamaica is once again shown in a positive light. The UWI team's victory is particularly impressive because of the nature of the groups they went up against consisting mostly of post graduate students. These are people who would have some degree of experience in the business of investment management."

Local-level competitions are organised and judged by member societies and volunteers of the CFA Institute, based in New York. Meanwhile, both the regional and global competitions are hosted by the institute itself.

The team of five from UWI who major in banking and finance, accounting, and management studies, were assigned FitBit Inc, producer and distributor of wearable fitness and health-tracking devices and apps based in San Francisco, California. After completing their assessment of FitBit, a hold recommendation was given with a target price of $8.70 for company stock.

Dr Twila Logan, finance lecture and faculty adviser at the UWI, noted that participation in a competition of this stature is not an easy task but is rewarding as students get a first-hand lesson leadership and teamwork at a higher level. She also explained that the challenge allowed for appreciation and application of the theory to real-world situations.




This sentiment was reiterated by team lead Shawna-Lee Gordon, who noted that multitasking, perseverance, and time management were among the lessons learnt.

"All of us are students. most of us hold leadership positions. We had to balance everything. It has been a dynamic experience so far, allowing for a real-world approach to sharpen our soft skills. We have had to learn to communicate effectively and carry out independent research. Entering has also contributed to the professional development of the team and given us a feel of how to operate in fast-paced settings," Gordon said.

Roland Henry, senior marketing officer, NCB Group, noted the importance of supporting students on endeavours of this nature. "Students can only learn so much in the classroom. Entering this competition builds on the lessons imparted by lectures. It is also a direct opportunity at advancing brand Jamaica and the skill sets of our ambassadors," said Henry.

Going forward, Gordon, 23, expects the team to redouble on its approach to the competition, tightening its communication and time-management skills.

As winners of the local competition, Team UWI will vie for the win at the regional level in the Americas. The other two regions are the Asia Pacific; and the Europe, Middle East, and Africa regions. The Regional Finals for the Americas will take place on April 6-7 in Seattle, Washington.