Undergraduate student creates JSE history

Undergraduate student creates JSE history

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

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A 22-year-old created history recently by becoming the first student to win the annual Jamaica Stock Exchange Market Research Competition.

The business administration (finance) student of Northern Caribbean University (NCU), Chad-Anthony Coke, was declared joint winner of the competition with Andre Rumble, portfolio officer at Proven Wealth Ltd, on October 2, at the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) office in Kingston. Both walked away with a cash prize of $300,000 each, plus a trophy for their efforts in the highly recognised competition.

Winning the finals was not the only history-making moment for Coke, as he was also the first student to have ever won a quarter's award when he won the fourth quarter in September, ahead of research analysts from some of the island's top investment companies, a release from the Jamaica Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists said.

The JSE 2019/2020 Market Research Competition, with its 18-year history, is one where each quarter the JSE invites analysts from the securities industry, tertiary institutions and the media to submit analyses of listed companies, based on past performances and future expectations. Participants conduct research, perform analysis, and prepare submissions on the selected company using the JSE's required format.

Both Rumble and Coke, winners of the third and fourth quarters, respectively, went into the finals with the same number of points. The points for the finals are 60 per cent for a written submission and 40 per cent for the oral presentation, the release said.

Following the written submission, both finalists faced off in the oral presentation, after which they faced questions from each other and from the panel of judges. But even then, the two researchers were reportedly still not separated.

“The competition gave insight on how to construct and carry out detailed investment research and analysis, which is something I never did before up until this point, but had a general idea of how it should be done,” Coke is quoted as saying.

“It feels very humbling to be the first student to win the competition, in which I am nothing short of being extremely grateful. I would like to thank the JSE for extending the reach to not only industry professionals, but also tertiary education students to vie for the ultimate prize. I would encourage other students to enter the competition, as it gives one good experience and confidence,” he added.

For Rumble, the overall competition was a good experience.

“It required a lot of hard work, patience, refinement, and time management to produce quality work. Winning the competition was a humbling experience. I appreciate being recognised for the work that I put into the research. Also, sharing the stage with a fellow investment enthusiast, was a memorable experience.”

The 27-year-old Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) level 3 candidate advises upcoming aspirants of the competition to give of their best.

“It is as much a learning experience as it is one to showcase your knowledge and experience. Also, it is a great platform for persons looking to enter the financial industry and further their career. It is a great opportunity to connect with like-minded persons as well,” he said.

JSE Managing Director Marlene Street-Forrest was also happy with the outcome of this year's competition.

“This year's competition was one with a difference,” Street-Forrest said. “I was extremely pleased that the competitors were made up of not only analysts who were working within their chosen profession, but the competition had entrants from the undergraduate level. It was even more surprising that a young undergraduate was able to win at the quarter-finals level with an impressive entry.

“The market professional and undergraduate were well matched and the final match was keenly competed with each finalist displaying tenacity, grit and deep understanding of the subject matter. Definitely a pleasure to see the pitting of wits and how they dug deep. It was amazing that young Chad-Anthony Coke rose to the occasion. If ever a time I felt the investment in the competition was well spent, it was with this one, which shows the generational success and hope and sustainability for Jamaica's capital markets,” she said.

A select panel, drawn from academic institutions, the financial services sector, the investing community, and the media, judged the submissions based on stated criteria and determined a winning entry and runner-up for each quarter and the finals.

“I think the questions by the judges and the responses from the finalists, as well as the questions between the two competitors, were the highlights,” said Karen Richards, assistant vice-president, Investments and Client Services at Sagicor Investments and one of the judges of the competition.

“I found that both presentations were fairly good, and both presenters had strengths which were sufficient to balance out the independent scores submitted by the judging panel. I appreciated the technical analysis and summary of the company by Chad-Anthony Coke. Andre Rumble was a confident speaker and was very comfortable in his assessment of the company's performance and valuation method used in his analysis. He also handled the questions well,” Richards said.

“The judges are well respected, knowledgeable and experienced in the their field,” Street-Forrest explained. “They would have looked keenly at how they could possibly declare a winner. A tie means both finalists were evenly matched and an injustice would have been done if one was declared a winner.

“It was a good match, pound for pound — both in the writing submission and in delivery. It attests to the level of interest and preparation that was put into this competition. Given that Chad-Anthony, an undergraduate [student], secured a tie, this will elevate and serve all other aspirants to sharpen their skill as they make their entries into future JSE Market Research Competition. The future seems bright,” Street-Forrest said.

Some of the objectives of the Market Research Competition are: to increase the interest and involvement of analysts and observers in the Jamaican stock market through in-depth analyses of the performance of listed companies; to enhance the research, analysis and presentation skills of the entrants, enabling them to better understand the market, improve their communication skills, and, in the case of broker representatives, to better advise their clients; to benefit the investing public through increased exposure to market analysis; and to stimulate the interest and involvement of the wider public in the stock market.

“The Market Research Competition is seen as an important plank in developing the market through a focus on ensuring that players in the market are attuned to the securities listed and are able to analyse these securities to offer best advice to investors,” Street-Forrest added.

Past winners of the competition include Steven Gooden, CEO of NCB Capital Markets; Johann Heaven, president and CEO of Proven Wealth Ltd; Justin Nam, vice-president and portfolio manager, Eppley Limited; Leovaughni Dillon, equity trader analyst, Victoria Mutual Wealth Management; and Richard Gordon, vice-president/general manager, Fund Management, Proven Wealth Ltd.

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