Whether you’re considering a future career in finance or just curious about the sector, the Student Investor Challenge is the competition you don’t want to miss. Run by the London Institute of Banking and Finance, Student Investor is the UK’s premier investment competition that gives budding bankers and entrepreneurs across the country the chance to experience what it’s like to invest in real stocks and shares.
Using virtual money, thousands of student teams compete to achieve the best results by investing in the stock market, advancing their skills and gaining valuable experience of team-building and strategy development.
What does the Student Investor challenge involve?
The challenge is split into a non-competitive practise round, and three competitive rounds: round one, the semi-finals, and the finals. In 2019/20, just under 10 000 teams from all around the UK took part in round one, with the best investors whittled down to just 500 teams participating in the semi-finals.
From there, the eight best teams made it through to the finals. With so many participating in the challenge every year, every advance you make through the stages will give you and your teammates a sense of achievement to last a lifetime.
In the first round, your team will invest virtual money in a set of stocks and other investment instruments. From this, you will be expected to come up with two portfolios: the Active Investor and the Strategic Investor.
The Active Investor portfolio allows your team to trade in the stock market day-by-day, encouraging you to keep an eye on the latest trends and make quick but informed decisions.
The Strategic Investor portfolio only lets your team trade a limited number of stocks and shares per month, which encourages you to think in the long-term and come up with an extended plan of action.
For each of these portfolios, your team will be given a virtual sum of £100 000 to invest as you see fit.
Round Two (the Semi-Finals)
Over the course of four weeks, the 500 best teams from round one are invited to continue the competition in an online semi-final. To choose these 500 best teams from UK competitors, the top 250 teams are first taken based on their performance in the combined portfolios (Active and Strategic Investor).
Then, with these 250 teams discounted, the next 100 teams are selected from the top performers solely in the Active Investor portfolio, and then similarly with the Strategic Investor portfolio.
Finally, with 50 places remaining in the semi-finals, the best teams are taken from the remaining pool based on their percentage portfolio gain of their Active Investor portfolio in January. These final places left up for grabs mean you don’t have to worry if your investing gets off to a shaky start!
On the Friday of each of the four weeks, teams in the semi-finals will need to use their collective skills to correctly predict the closing price of certain assets by the end of trading. The closer your prediction to the closing price, and the longer you’ve held your prediction, the more points you will be awarded. Your team’s overall score at the end of the semi-finals is the sum of your best three performances out of four – meaning your worst week’s prediction won’t penalise you.
Round Three (the Finals)
Out of these 500 teams in the semi-finals, just the eight best performing teams qualify for the national final – so competition is tight! The final round of the challenge is usually held in London, and details of what the final race to the finish line entails are revealed to you and your teammates only once you get there.
Who can take part in Student Investor?
To take part in the Student Investor Challenge, each one of you and your teammates must be aged 14 to 19, with one team comprising of four individuals. You can only be a member of one team, but your school, college, or university can submit as many teams as they like. You and your teammates must also all be from the same school, college, or university, and have the support of either a teacher or lecturer.
Your teachers and lecturers can also play themselves – it’s a great way to see if they can beat their own students at the challenge! Unlike student teams, teacher teams can have as many members as they like, but they are not eligible for any of the prizes on offer.
Why should I take part?
Student Investor is the biggest student investment competition in the UK. By taking part in the challenge, you will gain a priceless experience not only of investing in stocks and shares, but also of working in a team towards a long-term competitive goal, making new friends, and potentially travelling to places you’ve never been before. No matter how far in the competition you get, simply taking part makes a great addition to your CV or personal statement.
The finalists are given the opportunity to travel down to London – which, regardless of whether you win or not, will be a great experience. In previous years, the top prize has been a trip to New York – including spending money!
Through the Student Investor Challenge, schools teaching students aged 16 to 19 also gain free subscription to The Financial Times – all you have to do is follow this link.
Ready for the challenge?
If you’re ready to take on the Student Investor challenge, you can find out more (including how to apply) on the LIBF’s website.
Note that, unfortunately, due to COVID-19, the upcoming 2020/21 Student Investor challenge will not be going ahead. Good things come to those who wait, however, so be sure to keep updated and check back for next year’s compe