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.
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, University 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 program 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.