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20 May 2024

Think you're the next Warren Buffett? Here's Dh370,000 to prove it


By Vicky Kapur

An international bank has launched a virtual trading competition in the UAE to try to find the next investment guru, Warren Buffett if you may, from among students from more than 40 universities in the UAE and a further 20 from across the GCC.

The competition, entry to which is free, allows postgrad students of a business programme from any GCC university access to $100,000 (Dh367,300) in virtual money. The student with the most rewarding investment strategy at the end of a one-month period will stand to win the competition – and probably land a job with the bank as well.

Fadi Mehdi, office manager, Saxo Bank Abu Dhabi (Supplied)

Saxo Bank, a Danish bank specialising in online trading and investments, has launched its first ever multi-asset market competition called, ‘The Abu Dhabi University Postgraduate Investment Competition 2015’ in association with the College of Business Administration, Abu Dhabi University (ADU).

“The goal is to evaluate each student’s performance on the basis of their investment strategies as well as their overall virtual returns,” says Fadi Mehdi, office manager of Saxo Bank Abu Dhabi.

The bank is offering a prize money of $10,000 (Dh36,730) for the first place, a two-nights’ trip to Saxo Bank’s head office in Copenhagen for second, and an iPhone 6  for third place. In addition, two iPads will be awarded to two other participants who, according to the bank’s panel, would have demonstrated particularly noteworthy investment strategies.

What about a job with the bank for the most successful participant? After all, the ability to balance risk and rewards while maximising returns is the hallmark of any investment banker worth his salt. “This was not our intention, although we are not specifically ruling it out,” Mehdi told Emirates 24|7.

“We look forward to growing our business here and forging even closer links with the trading community. The Saxo Bank Academy is a good starting point for all those interested in learning more about trading and what makes Saxo Bank unique,” he added.

“Investing in the traders of tomorrow demonstrates our commitment to continuing to meet the trading needs of current and future generations of traders,” Mehdi further said, adding that the bank wants to educate young traders about the opportunities but also the risks associated with trading.

“This competition is a good exercise in promoting responsible trading and prudent risk management, and this is reflected in the rigorous approach we apply to the judging process. This includes the level of research that students conducted for their trading strategy, as well as their portfolio diversification, both of which are increasingly important at a time of heightened market volatility,” he said.

Of course, the bank also wants to raise awareness of its trading platform among the young students in GCC, and wants them to “learn how to trade strategically rather than haphazardly based on whims and emotions”.
While $10,000 and a trip to Saxo’s Copenhagen headquarters are great rewards, we asked the bank what was the thinking behind choosing iPhone 6 and iPads as rewards.

“Embracing technology and innovation is in the bank’s DNA and this is even more important when you consider the increasing mobility of today’s traders,” said Mehdi. “We think this trend will become the norm in the future,” he added.

He bank may make the competition an annual affair depending on its success while Mehdi hinted at an even bigger competition coming this year. Investing in the traders of tomorrow is not a one year thing – based on the popularity of this one, we would be happy to expand it and seeing the feedback we have from universities across the GCC it could be very likely that we do this again.

“On that note we have a bigger competition for everyone coming in 2015 that will have a very healthy prize, but that’s all I can mention at the moment without giving too much away. We will aim to get involved in various initiates on a yearly basis, not just limited to trading competitions,” he said.