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Investment challenge students take a loss but are still winners

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First place winners: KPMG’s Wanda Armstrong with BHS students Marli Spriggs and Cheyenne Tavares with Diallo Rabain, Minister of Education (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
From left, KPMG’s Wanda Armstrong with third place winners from Bermuda Institute Jakobi Albuoy, Jordan Lightbourne, Rickai Lightbourne and Diallo Rabain, Minister of Education (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Winners of the 17th KMPG Secondary School Investment Challenge: KPMG’s Wanda Armstrong, BHS teacher Mark Godfrey, students Cheyenne Tavares, Marli Spriggs and Diallo Rabain, Minister of Education (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Second place winners: KPMG’s Wanda Armstrong from left with Saltus teacher Joshua Martin, student Kairo Lewis and Diallo Rabain, Minister of Education (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

For the first time in the 17 years of the KPMG Senior School Investment Challenge, none of the teams made a profit.

Twenty one teams from ten schools took part in the annual event. The challenge was to invest $100,000 in a virtual stock market that mirrored the real one.

This year’s winners BHS’s Team Business of Babylon took a 2.7 per cent loss, with $97,325 left at the end of the day.

In second place, Saltus Group 2 took a 5.1 per cent loss and in third place, the Bermuda Institute’s Crypto Crooks took an 8.2 per cent loss.

Stephen Woodward, managing director of KPMG private enterprise, said the losses were reflective of the real world.

“The market conditions have been pretty difficult,” Mr Woodward said. “Every year that we have run the challenge until now, most teams have made some sort of profit. The winning team lost nearly $3,000. But if you compare that to your own investment portfolio – I know mine was down 17 per cent for the last quarter – that was a pretty good performance.”

He said most of the winning teams invested in well known brands such as Apple, Nike, Target and Meta. Some also invested in bio stocks such as Pfizer.

The first place school received $10,000, second place $6,000 and third place $4,000.

Mr Woodward said it was good to be back in person again after holding the awards ceremony virtually for two years.

“It was a good participation over all,” he said. “There was probably a record number of students involved at 134.”

Cheyenne Tavares, 16, from BHS’s winning team, said: “With Covid-19 and so many other crisis going on in the world, it was really hard finding businesses that were actually in profit and were going to stay that way. But actively changing tactics and updating our stocks did us a really big advantage.”

Her team-mate Marli Spriggs, 16, said she did not really know anything about the stock market before taking up the investment challenge.

“It was really about trying to acclimatise ourselves to what was going on in the world,” she said. “It was really an on-the-job thing for us.”

Jakobi Albuoy, 15, from Bermuda Institute’s third-placed team Crypto Crooks also said the hardest thing about doing the challenge was following what was going on in the world.

“When the market crashed it was hard to follow the down trend,” he said. “But we still came through. When the market crashed, I thought it was our best chance to buy stocks and wait to see what happened. That was an opportunity.”

All teams were assigned a mentor. The Crypto Crooks had their teacher Ian Richardson to guide them.

Jordan Lightbourne, 16, of the Crypto Crooks, said Mr Richardson advised them to pay attention to current events before deciding what to invest in. The challenge began last November and before the end of it, he was signing on at least twice a day to check what the stocks were doing.

During the presentation, Mr Woodward joked that Saltus had an unimaginative team name, Saltus Group 2. But it was apt. They were from Saltus and they came second. Students in this team were all from the school’s AP Macro Economics class.

“The most challenging aspect was researching the different companies and whether they were public and we were able to buy stocks,” Simas Babeckas, 16, said.

Kyra Adams, 17, from Saltus, saw the challenge as a good opportunity to try out the stock market without taking any real risk.

“If we did not do too well it would not have any serious ramifications on us,” she said.

Minister of Education Diallo Rabain gave the address at the prize presentation. He congratulated the participants.

“You have had an excellent introduction to career opportunities and business possibilities through the KPMG Senior Investment Challenge,” he said.

“You have a bright future ahead of you and I encourage you to maintain connections with your mentors and each other as you look to chart our future path in Bermuda and abroad.”

1st Place Team – BHS – Business of Babylon

Cheyenne Tavares

Sydney DaPonte

Marli Spriggs

2nd Place – Saltus – SaltusGroup2

Kairo Lewis

Martin Grant

Cole Summers

Ben Autmerguine

Graham Moss

Dante Hayward

3rd Place – Bermuda Institute – Crypto Crooks

Rickai Lightbourne

Jakobi Albuoy

Jordan Lightbourne

Taurin Euler

Tristan Dean

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Published June 17, 2022 at 7:50 am (Updated June 18, 2022 at 8:11 am)

Investment challenge students take a loss but are still winners

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