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Five UJ students competing in global CFA Institute Research Challenge in Chicago

​​​​Five University of Johannesburg (UJ) students are heading to Chicago, USA, to compete with peers from the world’s top finance programmes on 12 April, after winning the rigorous Chartered Financial Analysts (CFA) Institute Research Challenge in South Africa against young intellectuals from six universities in October last year.

The UJ students are Ms Ashley Pedlar, Mr David Oberholzer, Mr Abrie Grobler, Mr Tshegofatso Tshukudu and Mr Phemelo Tau from the Faculty of Economic and Financial Sciences (FEFS).

The CFA Institute Research Challenge offers students the unique opportunity to learn from leading industry experts and compete with peers from the world’s top finance programs. This annual educational initiative promotes best practices in equity research among the next generation of analysts through hands-on mentoring and intensive training in company analysis and presentation skills.



Says Pedlar: “I am confident that we will perform competitively and be a force in Chicago on 12 April. The UJ team has put in a lot of hard work and it is very exciting to finally show off all of our knowledge on an international scale. My teammates and I believe in the fundamental basis of our recommendation and are going to Chicago with confidence. We are excited for this opportunity and can’t wait to see what the other teams have to offer.”

She added: “We will be competing against EMEA on Tuesday, the winner from that will participate against the other regions on Wednesday for the global title. We are the only university from South Africa competing in Chacago.”

UJ emerged winners nationally after eliminating students from the University of Pretoria, Wits University, University of Kwazulu Natal, Uni​versity of Free State, University of Cape Town, and Unisa.

The Challenge gathers students, investment industry professionals, publicly traded companies, and corporate sponsors together locally, regionally, and globally for a real-world competition. Additionally, all participants are introduced to and held to the standard of the CFA Institute Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct.

The CFA Programme is a professional credential offered internationally by the American-based CFA Institute (formerly the Association for Investment Management and Research, or AIMR) to investment and financial professionals. A candidate who successfully completes the pr​ogram and meets other professional requirements is awarded the “CFA charter” and becomes a “CFA charterholder”. As of July 2014, there are approximately 120,000 CFA members in 35 countries. The top employers of CFA Charterholders globally are UBS, JP Morgan, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, and BlackRock.

The CFA exams are widely considered to be extremely difficult, with historical pass rates as low as 32%, and pass rates sometimes below 50% for each of the three levels in the same given year. Successful candidates take an average of four years to earn their CFA charter. The programme covers a broad range of topics relating to investment management, financial analysis, stocks, bonds and derivatives, and provides a generalist knowledge of other areas of finance.

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