Singapore emerged the global champions at the recent CFA Institute Global Investment Research Challenge (GIRC) in London.
This year’s recipients of the third annual were honored at the 2009 CFA Institute’s Annual General Meeting held on 21 April at the Asian Civilization Museum, Empress Place.
Nanyang Technological Institute’s Crystal Research Group — Krystle Liew Tianni (22), Terence Lim Ying Fan (24), Jeremy Teo Jun Liang (23), and You Yewei (24) — beat participants from more than 240 universities worldwide to emerge winners of several rounds of intense competitions over a span of five months. At the Global Finals held in London on 2 April, the Singapore undergraduates overturned their closest rivals at Yale University to clinch top prize of US$10,000.
These talented individuals won praises from Dan Schaefer, CFA, President of CFA Singapore for coming in first despite strong competitions from the Ivy League universities. “I expected the team to go all the way in and win.” They were likened to Chinese kung-fu masters with their skillful dodging and blocking of demanding questions from the global panel of judges at the finals.
Perhaps it was their defeat last year by Hong Kong Baptist University at the Asia-Pacific Regional Investment Research Challenge, that drove Crystal Research Group to give it their all this year. They presented an unexpected, and less than optimistic report on ComfortDelGro Corporation Limited’s business model — one that went against many market analysts’ sentiments at the time. On top of that, they gave a realistic and market-sensitive analysis that wowed the expert judges.
Adopting such an approach clearly set them apart from the other groups based in Europe and South America. In addition to the accolades received overseas, Liew and You also won themselves scholarships to the CFA program administered by the CFA institute. Liew and Lim were both offered jobs at Goldman Sachs and Citibank respectively, thanks to their stellar achievements.
Assistant Professor Lee Hon Sing, who served as the team’s academic mentor, attributed the win to the synergy among the members, coupled with the old adage: “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Obviously the team had planned faultlessly.
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Riding high on this crest of success, these four have started their own consulting firm called Rhema Advisory Group, which aims to fulfill the business development needs of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).