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Auckland Uni trading competition helps hone valuable real-world trading skills

11 Oct 2017

University of Auckland Bachelor of Commerce student Ross Thornton has scooped up first place at the 2017 CMC Markets National University Trading Challenge, after a tight race to the finish.

Hosted in association with the University of Auckland’s Management Consulting Club (MCC), the annual competition gives students the opportunity to gain real-world trading experience by allowing them to put their investment theory to the test.

This year’s competition ran throughout the month of September with 160 student teams (ranging from one to two participants), battling it out to secure the highest return on investment. 

All teams were given an NZ$10,000 virtual fund to trade in a range of financial derivative instruments, including currency, commodity, global indices and shares via the CMC Markets online platform.

This year’s competition was one of the most competitive and unpredictable, with eight teams all having an equal chance of taking it out in the final stages.

In the end, Thornton made an impressive 916.36% return on investment winning the first place after sitting in second throughout the final week. Ross puts his success down to taking very calculated higher risk positions in Forex.

“The competition was challenging and it was close, and this went a long way to ensuring I remained patient, especially in that final week. I deliberately didn’t trade around the New Zealand election as it was too much of a gamble for me, so in hindsight, I put my win down to ensuring the risks that I took were calculated, which paid off for me in the end.”

Runner-up was second-year Marketing and Management student Aldous Wong, who made an impressive 724% return on investment after sitting in sixth place the day before the competition finished.

Aldous thanked CMC Markets for his comeback performance.

“After a disappointing finish last year, I decided to open up a demo account with CMC Markets, this gave me an advantage in regards to gaining experience and being better prepared.

“I would strongly suggest to future contestants to utilise CMC Markets demo trading account that they offer, so that they can practice trading in a range of different instruments, ahead of the competition.”

Mechanical Engineering student Tomo Suzuki came third, achieving a 687.86% return on investment after sitting in eighth place the day before.

He put his victory down to managing his instincts.

“This competition is one of those rare opportunities that allows you to be risky, and take chances, I took that ‘all or nothing’ approach and thankfully it was the right approach to take.”

Jonathan Chisholm, MCC finance events co-lead says, “This competition is vital for students as it not only enables them to take calculated risks, but also teaches them to back themselves and trust their instincts in a realistic, but safe environment.

“We’ve been running this competition with CMC Markets for six years and this was certainly one of the most competitive, due to how close the competition was.

“We had a clear leader 90% of the time who ended up placing fourth, reinforcing just how unpredictable the market is. All contestants would have taken a lot of learnings away this year, which to us is a huge success, and we can’t thank CMC Markets enough for their support,” he adds.

Chris Smith, CMC Markets New Zealand general manager, says, “Giving students the ability to experience the industry before they enter it, enables them to learn not only about the volatility of the different asset classes and the ins and outs of the trading world, but about themselves as future derivatives traders, stockbrokers and investors/risk managers.

“We are always excited about providing the tools and innovative platforms to foster the future growth of these students and provide them with something that’s exciting as well as educational.”

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