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Embracing risk pays off for first female winner of trading competition

By Kai Ping Lew, Fri 18 May 2018
FYI, this story is more than a year old

The 2018 CMC Markets’ University Trading Challenge has come to a close, with University of Auckland Commerce and Law student Jillin Yan taking out the top spot, the first female winner in the history of the challenge.

This marks the eighth year of the competition which, held in partnership with the University of Auckland’s Management Consulting Club, gives students the opportunity to experience real market trading via the CMC Markets platform.

Over 170 teams (of one to two people) took part in the three-week challenge, with each given a $10,000 virtual fund to trade across a range of financial derivative instruments – including Forex, shares, global indices, and commodities such as oil and gold.

Putting their various trading strategies to the test, the ultimate goal for participants was to secure the greatest return on investment (ROI).

The top of the leader-board was remarkably stable throughout the competition, with Jillin dominating from the outset.

She achieved an outstanding 804% ROI within the first week of trading and ultimately delivered 781% ROI – over 500% ahead of her nearest competitor.

Yan says, “My strategy was to take big risks with leveraged trades early on, then ease back with more conservative trades to maintain my position.

“The competitive aspect of the challenge motivated me to follow global market news and real-time analyst recommendations to make informed rather than speculative trades – so it was a great educational experience.

“The biggest learning for me was about emotional management and discipline. How often bad trades are made on reactions, and good trades are made on decisions,” Yan adds.

“I’m far more conscious of that now, and how emotions may impact my trades. For future participants, I’d say most of all it’s about mastering that skill – accepting losses without frustration and defeat, and taking gains without greed and overconfidence,” says Yan.

Runner-up Matthew Brunt, a second-year Economics and Finance student at the University of Auckland, was a latecomer to the top 10 but, holding steady in second place throughout the final week, ultimately achieved an ROI of 248%.

Matthew says, “It was a really interesting learning experience, especially given that everything on the platform was correlated with real-world events and values.

“There’s a lot more to trading than I thought, particularly when it comes to managing market volatility – so the various resources, tools and functionality on the CMC platform were really valuable.”

In third place this year was Max Kwan, who achieved a 118% return on investment.

Kwan says, “My strategy focused on global indices, like the Hong Kong 50 – and the challenge taught me a lot about which products best suited my investment style, and which were the most profitable.

“I’d never used a trading platform before, so it was a great learning experience in that respect. And the feeling of making a good trade was always a highlight.”

MCC Finance events co-lead Amaan Merchant says, “We were very impressed with the knowledge teams brought to make such incredible returns. It was great to see so many people getting involved in trading, including students from other campuses. Next year, we want to expand on this effort to bring the competition nationwide".

CMC Markets New Zealand general manager Chris Smith says, “The Trading Challenge is a real highlight for us because it’s about offering an invaluable practical learning experience.

“The Challenge allows participants to get a feel for the markets, how different asset classes perform under different conditions, and to test out their investment strategies in a safe environment before they embark on their careers. The competition this year was once again of an incredibly high standard, and it’s great to see what these students have been able to achieve.”

Other winners were Aditya Palle who picked up the title of Best Commodities Trader, and Vicky Deng and Wanying Sun who took out the Most Active Team.

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