Shropshire student helps launch global finance competition

A Shropshire student has been among a small number of UK sixth formers who launched an innovative finance competition to enable students from across the globe to gain experience in the world of stocks and trading.

Felicity Somerville, 17, from Acton Burnell-based Concord College helped to set up the virtual Student Trading Competition in response to Covid-19.

During the preparatory round of the competition, 14 teams of students took part from around the UK.

In the second round, an impressive 111 teams – approximately 500 students in total – competed.

The virtual event comprised active participation and teaching and learning opportunities including team meetings covering investment tips and basic information.

There were also more advanced insights including a financial presentation from a Cambridge graduate who is now an investment banking analyst at Lazard.

The presentation provided competitors with a unique and engaging opportunity to ask questions about university, the path after graduating and how to break into the financial industry.

For the competition itself students used a platform called Market Watch due to its stock market-related news feed, encouraging users to trade using analysis rather than ‘gut feeling'.

Felicity said: “As the next generation of investors we wanted to raise awareness of our collective responsibility to focus on long term issues for our world. We therefore set strict ethical boundaries for the virtual investments.

“We encouraged competitors to consider the future ramifications of each investment choice and the global impact of their virtual trading, such as through ESG investments.

“To say the coronavirus pandemic has had an enormous impact on students’ daily lives would be an understatement.

"This innovative virtual finance competition revealed that although the pandemic may have deprived examination students of education in its fullest sense, as a generation we have developed skills for the future, including the confidence to inter-connect and network via technology.

“It was also key to our competition to break down perceived barriers of entry into the investment industry and aim for societal values such as inclusivity. I was delighted to be a part of the competition.”

Concord College’s assistant principal (careers and university admissions) Dr Rob Pugh said: “Concord students have a long history of entering business and finance competitions such as Young Investors and National Skills Challenge.

“However, the pandemic has reduced these opportunities so it was particularly encouraging to see Felicity take matters into her own hands – alongside other students – to create a new opportunity for herself and many others.

“The degree to which she and others involved managed to upscale the initial idea to include so many school students who share her interests is truly impressive.”

It is hoped the event will continue annually, expanding and providing more opportunities for students interested in finance and trading.

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