On 3rd February 2018 at the Panoramic Hall, Civic Centre, Lagos, Covenant University made history by winning the first-ever national final of the CFA Institute Research Challenge hosted by CFA Society Nigeria. The University of Lagos and Obafemi Awolowo University emerged first and second runner-up respectively. Adebayo Adegbenro of the University of Lagos emerged as the “Most Outstanding Analyst”. The winners were rewarded with trophies and monetary awards.
The national final was keenly contested by all the participating universities and the participants gave a very good account of themselves. The journey to the final started in June 2017 with Flour Mills Nigeria (FMN) selected as the subject company. In August 2017, the students were hosted to a company visit by the management team of FMN in Apapa, Lagos. The students performed the role of equity analysts and had the opportunity to ask management a lot of questions about their business. The company visit was followed by the submission of a written research report wherein the teams had to make an investment recommendation on FMN, supported by rigorous research and reasonable basis. The national final of the competition involved the students making presentations to a panel of judges drawn from investment industry leaders. During the competition, the students were supported by industry mentors and faculty advisers and their research reports were graded by industry experts.
Eight universities participated in this edition of the competition and they include Ahmadu Bello University, Babcock University, Covenant University, University of Abuja, University of Ibadan, Obafemi Awolowo University, Lagos Business School and the University of Lagos. University of Nigeria Nsukka and Bayero University Kano were invited as observers.
Speaking at the event, Banji Fehintola, CFA, President of CFA Society Nigeria thanked the competition sponsor, Zenith Bank Plc, for its multi-year sponsorship of the competition and expressed delight at the successful hosting of Nigeria’s first participation in the CFA Institute Research Challenge. He commended the University Relations team led by Razaq Ahmed, CFA and other volunteers for making the event a historic and successful one. He also tasked all the participating students to see themselves as winners, having been given the unique opportunity to be part of a global competition that has exposed them to critical skills needed to succeed in the investment industry. He charged them to ensure that the investment of time and resources made by CFA Society Nigeria and the competition sponsor, Zenith Bank Plc, generates a high return on investment in future.
Razaq Ahmed, CFA, Chairman of the University Relations Committee also commented that the Research Challenge is already achieving its noble objective in Nigeria. Our vision is to build a strong, sustainable pipeline of talents for the investment management industry by exposing the young generation to the best practices in research through hands-on mentoring and intensive training in fundamental company analysis and presentation skills.
The national final had several high-profile attendees from the investment industry including Mr Jacques Vauthier, Group Chief Financial Officer of the subject company, Flour Mills Nigeria. The special guest of honour, Mr. Jim Ovia, Chairman & Founder of Zenith Bank was represented by Mr. Ebenezer Onyeagwu, Deputy Managing Director of Zenith Bank. After the competition, the students were hosted to a memorable evening reception at the Waterfront, Civic Center where they had an opportunity to interact with one another and to meet with CFA Charterholders and other industry executives.
The winner of the competition, Covenant University, will be competing with 35 other countries at the EMEA Regional Final in Dublin between 4-5 April 2018 for a slot to represent the region at the Global Final in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 27 April 2018.