ifs Student Investor Challenge

29 September, 2014

What are the demands of juggling a busy family life, various social engagements, holiday planning and a $200m dollar hedge-fund?

That’s the question that the BBC’s recent two-part documentary “Traders: Millions by the Minute” set out to answer. For those who missed it, the documentary followed the stories of the professional and personal lives of the men and women who work in the “fast and fiercely competitive world of financial trading” on both sides of the Atlantic.

One aspect of financial trading which the BBC was keen to examine was how those who deal with multi-million dollar investments first come to be involved with the industry. How is it exactly that so many different types of people come to be drawn to the high-stakes world of markets and data?

To answer this, and to get a sense of how young people get the “trading bug”, the BBC sent a television crew to film and interview participants at the national final of ifs University College’s annual Student Investor Challenge competition.

The Student Investor Challenge is the longest-running competition of its kind and gives teams of up to four students, aged 14-19 the chance to invest a virtual £100,000 in the stock market. Teams can invest in a variety of stocks and shares and those gaining the biggest return on their investments are invited to a regional final, where they have a chance of competing for a place in the national final and the chance to win a trip to New York.

The BBC’s crew followed a team called “Golk Traders”, from Devonport High School in Plymouth, as they prepared for the national final. The youngest team in the final, they were filmed as they made the final preparations to their presentation, researched the latest financial trends and figures and travelled up to London. During the day, they were interviewed as a team and individuals about their experiences of trading.

Ultimately, Golk Traders lost out to a team from Pate’s Grammar School in Cheltenham, who wowed the judges with a sterling presentation..

Nonetheless – and quite undeterred – the team have once again entered a team for the 2015 competition, which begins shortly. Their experience of reaching the national final twice in a row will stand them in good stead and their passion, interest and teamwork is a good answer to the BBC’s question.

While there is no guarantee that they will ultimately be successful this time around, don’t bet against them – and the other teams taking part – appearing on a BBC trading documentary in the future, but this time as professionals.

The live trading phase of the Student Investor Challenge begins in October. For more information and to register a team, please visit: www.studentinvestor.org