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CHS Students Celebrate City Success

Four Congleton High Post 16 students battled with over 10,000 nationwide teams to make it in to the final of the Student Investor Challenge Competition. Using their maths acumen, knowledge of stocks and international currencies and their research and presentation skills, the four boys - Scott Billcliff, Will Hawkins, Chris Rae and Alfie Seddon - ranked fourth after the semi-finals, finished the seven month challenge in an amazing second place overall.

Round one of the competition began back in October 2016, with teams investing £20,000 of ‘virtual money’ into two portfolios of stocks. The first, ‘Active Investor’, allowed daily trading, with prizes awarded each month for the highest gains. The second portfolio, ‘Strategic Investor’, encouraged long-term thinking and planning, with trading only permitted a limited number of times each month. A daily ‘Windfall Tax’ of £1000 on any cash reserves of more than £15,000 ensured teams continued to invest. The Congleton team, Hargreave Ladsdown, progressed straight through to the next round in a very respectable twentieth place.

The semi-finals saw a total of 500 teams competing from 20th February to 17th March in a four week online challenge. Each week, teams had to correctly predict the closing price of certain assets by the end of trading on Friday. Weekly points were awarded according to how accurately the closing price was predicted and how long the prediction was held. The teams’ overall score was the sum of their best three weeks of the challenge. At the end of the semi-finals, Hargreave Ladsdown had risen to fourth place and secured a place in the London final on 3rd May.

The Congleton High students, the only finalists from the north of England, competed against seven other teams in the crucial last leg of the competition. The first challenge required them to trade a range of commodities, using a trading training simulator, which saw Hargreave Ladsdown steaming ahead by a large margin and judges commenting that they had “dominated the trading session”.

In the afternoon, teams were tasked with researching a specified currency and presenting their predictions for how it would fluctuate over time and subsequent recommendations for investors. The four Congleton students researched the Yen, presenting their findings confidently and with real understanding of the questions posed by the panel of judges. Alfie, Chris, Scott and Will all worked really hard to prepare for the presentation and it was gratifying that many of the industry representatives attending the event congratulated them afterwards on the quality of their presentation and the professional delivery.

The competition throughout the whole Student Investor Challenge, which itself presented some seriously demanding tasks, was extremely tough, with the standard exceptionally high. At the end of seven months of trading and competing and one very challenging and exciting finals day, the Congleton High team, Hargreave Ladsdown, finished in a fabulous second place out of all the 10,000 plus teams who began the competition. An amazing achievement! Each of the four students was awarded a prize of £150, with the school receiving £1500 and a commemorative plaque.

Mr Davis, the Congleton High teacher and Guidance Team Leader who had supported and guided the boys throughout the challenge, praised their fantastic achievement:

“I was delighted to see our students rise to the significant challenge offered in the final and they fully deserve the recognition they received from the judges. The teamwork and leadership skills they demonstrated over the last month in preparing for this final (and since the competition started last year) have been exemplary and they stand as a shining example to their fellow students of just what can be achieved through hard work and dedication. Well done, Alfie, Chris, Scott and Will - we are all incredibly proud of your achievement.”


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