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Judgement Day – A Tough Task but Everyone’s a Winner

While it is an inevitable truth that only one team can triumph, the Growing Future Assets Investment competition has proved a win-win for all those involved.

From the students to their teachers, mentors and judges, everyone leaves the competition with a positive advantage, such is the extent of Future Asset’s influence.

Young women from all over the country get the chance to learn about an exciting and rewarding industry they may not otherwise have considered, and investment firms have the opportunity to improve diversity and identify talent early.

Along the way, teachers expand their knowledge of a traditionally male career, and mentors experience the fulfilment of sharing their knowledge and igniting enthusiasm for their industry whilst developing their own communication and problem-solving skills!

But for those tasked with choosing one winner in each age group, it is an unenviable assignment as the standard and creativity of the entrants are hugely impressive.

“This year’s judging was incredibly difficult,” said Junior Judging Panel spokesperson Lauran Halpin, Portfolio Manager, Impact Equity, Martin Currie.  “We had so many incredible teams of young women vying for the prize and the quality of entries was very high. Just choosing the finalists was an incredibly tough task, let alone choosing the ultimate winner. Each team brought something different to the table with their entry – in-depth analysis, passion for sustainability issues, creativity, a true desire to learn – and the judging panel had quite a task deciding which team performed the best from this incredible collection of young women.”

The top team in both senior and junior categories came from Kingussie High School and it was their clear understanding of an investment analyst’s role that made the school stand out.

“They really understood the idea of analysing various facets of the business to determine whether it would make a good investment and the argument they made in their investment pitch was clear, detailed and well-articulated,” said Lauran. “The team’s deep understanding of their chosen company and its investment characteristics set them up for being able to deliver a confident, clear pitch to the judging panel. We were all so impressed by their level of knowledge and confidence in the delivery of their presentation.”

Sally Greig, Head of EM Debt, Baillie Gifford and Co, was also on the junior judging panel and agrees it was no easy task to identify a winner: “It was a really difficult decision as the finalists had all demonstrated that they understood the companies well: the challenges they face, the opportunities for the company and the global context that they find themselves in. The quality of the entries was very high and actually, all the entries had differing points of excellence – one of the runners-up had even used a 3D printer to make a model heat source pump.

“Kingussie High School presented Solar Edge and they had gone the extra mile and found a local installer to speak to. Developing original insights is vital when it comes from company analysis and that demonstrated great initiative, energy and enthusiasm. They excelled in all areas: an understanding of valuation, the rising demand for renewables and the strengths and weaknesses of Solar Edge. In the Q&A they responded to our questions very comprehensively and, importantly, asked us questions too!”

Senior Judging Panel spokesperson Lynne Lamont, Head of Charity & Institutional Clients at RBC Brewin Dolphin, put it simply: “What a fantastic competition. I was blown away by the work the teams had all put in. Their confidence, maturity and enthusiasm for the task at hand was outstanding.”

Confidence and excellent presentation skills were recurring features which most impressed the judges who have championed the competition’s drive to open up the prospect of an investment career to a greater, more diverse range of participants.

As Fiona Gillespie, Junior Judging Panel Chair, FA Steering Group Member, and Head of Charities, Scotland, Rathbones noted the contest is extremely important to keep up that momentum: “Diversity of thought and diversity in attitude to risk is essential when investing!”

The importance of the competition was summed by Sally Greig: “Future Asset plays an important role in demystifying the fund management industry for young women and helping to plant those seeds of interest early on. This is an industry entrusted with preserving and growing people’s savings and we need to find the best people to do that from the whole population, not half of it.”

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