ifs Student Investor Challenge
The ifs Student Investor Challenge is a UK wide investment game for students with a top prize of a trip to New York. On top of that, both you and your school/college get prize money to spend as well – bonus! There are also other prizes on offer throughout the challenge – check out all the prizes here. Teachers can also try and beat their students in phase one of the challenge (but they won't be eligible for the prizes).
What Does the Challenge Involve?
The ifs Student Investor Challenge is designed for teams of four students and has two distinct phases:
- Phase One: Using this website, invest a virtual £100,000* in a set of stocks between 5 November 2012 and 1 February 2013 and watch your wealth grow.
Each month, the most improved team will be rewarded with a prize (maximum one prize per team).
- Phase Two: The top 20 or so teams from each region with the best performing portfolios as of 1 February 2013 will be invited to attend the regional finals**. Teams will be given a series of questions and the top two teams from each region will be invited to the National Final in late April. You can find more information on the regional finals on the download page.
*Teams starting to trade after the ifs Student Investor Challenge has started have their starting money index linked to FTSE 100 to ensure every team has an equal chance of winning the competition.
**Only one team from each school/college will be able to attend the regional finals.
How Can I Take Part?
To take part you'll need a team of four students aged 14-19 on 31 July 2013 from your school/college and the support of a teacher. Your teacher can then register your team between 3 September 2012 and 23 November 2012 using their Teacher Reference Number. Teachers and lecturers can also play, to see if they can beat their students. Unlike the students though, they cannot win the trip to New York, but they can play by themselves if they can't put a team together...
What is a Teacher Reference Number?
This is a seven digit number supplied to your teacher by the ifs School of Finance. This will be sent to your school in early September.
How Do I Know Which Shares to Trade?
There is a whole host of extra information on the website on each company to help you make a good investment decision. Throughout the game, you'll be able to refer to advice from our mysterious share Guru on how to pick your shares, and if your portfolio performs better than hers then your team will get a virtual cash bonus! Beware though, Guru's friend Monkey is also playing, buying and selling shares completely at random – doing worse than Monkey would be most embarrassing!
- Registration opens at midday on 3 September 2012 and closes at midnight on 23 November 2012.
- Only teachers can register teams. Registering a team requires that you have a Teacher Reference Number. These will be sent to schools in early September, alternatively if you are a teacher you will be able to request your reference number online once registration is open.
- Teachers must not disclose their Teacher Reference Number to their students as they will be able to make changes to other teams from your school. Doing so may result in disqualification.
- Student teams must consist of four members aged between 14 and 19 on 31 July 2013.
- Each school or college can enter as many teams as they wish, but only one team from any establishment can gain a place in the regional finals via the main qualification route (exceptional performance over the course of the challenge). A second team from the school may receive a place at the regional final by winning the 'wildcard draw', which is drawn from a list of the most improved teams (on a percentage basis) each month.
- A student may only be a member of one participating team and team membership cannot change during the challenge without prior permission from the ifs School of Finance. Students found to be a member of more than one team may cause all teams to which they belong to be disqualified.
- Using a vulgar, insulting or otherwise inappropriate team name will result in that team being disqualified.
- Any attempts to hack into the site (e.g. by a student using a teacher's unique login number or by more dubious methods) will be grounds for instant disqualification.
- Should a disqualification occur, the ifs School of Finance's decision on disqualification is final and can only be negotiated through the formal appeals procedure. Appeals go through an independent committee. Once a team has been disqualified from the challenge the details of the appeals committee will be forwarded to their teacher contact should that teacher contact indicate that they wish to contest the decision.
- Trading for the ifs Student Investor Challenge opens at 9am on 5 November 2012 and closes at 4.30pm on 1 February 2013. Teams may also participate in a practice game which will be available from 9am on 1 October 2012 until 4.30pm on 2 November 2012.
- Each team registered before the challenge starts will have a 'virtual cash pile' of £100,000 to invest. Once the challenge starts this figure is index-linked to the FTSE-100 until the team starts trading, so if the team cannot start trading when the market opens on 5 November 2012 they will not be at a disadvantage.
- Teams can invest in stocks chosen from a list designated 'FTSE 100 companies' (based on the constituents of the FTSE 100 at the start of registration) and a list of around 50 selected smaller companies designated the 'ifs SmallCap 50'. The ifs School of Finance reserve the right to alter the constituents of these lists at any time without notice.
- Should a stock be withdrawn from the challenge compensation in the form of extra 'virtual cash' will be made to those teams that hold said stock at the time of withdrawal at a rate determined by the ifs School of Finance at the time of withdrawal. No other compensation will be offered and the rate of compensation will be non-negotiable.
- To be eligible for prizes, at times of judging, a team's portfolio must consist of stocks from a total of 10 different companies, no more, no less. Of these 10 different stocks, a minimum of 6 must be taken from the list designated as 'FTSE 100 companies'. Judging occurs at the close of trading on the last trading day of each month and at 4.30pm on 24 February 2012. The ifs School of Finance may introduce additional judging points at any time – these will be clearly advertised on the website.
- When a team buys stock, they will be charged stamp duty relief tax and flat rate commission.
- When a team sells stock, they will be charged flat rate commission.
- Teams also have the option to invest up to £20,000 of their 'virtual cash' into an investment trust.
- The charges for investing in a trust vary. Each individual trust information page outlines the costs for that trust.
- Holding more than £15,000 in hard (virtual) cash is not very helpful and against the rules (the challenge is all about investing, after all)!
- The minimum investment in any one stock or investment trust is £1000.
- A team can invest up to a maximum of 20% of their overall portfolio value in any one company.
- All stock market data is genuine live data, provided courtesy of Bloomberg, but may be delayed by up to 15 minutes so should not be used for trading decisions outside of the challenge!
- Should the data shown on the ifs Student Investor Challenge site differ from data shown elsewhere on the internet the data shown on the ifs Student Investor Challenge site will be considered to be correct for the purposes of the challenge. This means teams should always base their final trading decisions on the information provided by the ifs Student Investor Challenge website, not on information found elsewhere.
- The 'ifs Student Investor Challenge Stock Market' operates on the same trading days as the London Stock Exchange. On days when it is operating, the 'ifs Student Investor Challenge Stock Market' opens at 8.35am and closes at 4.30pm (except on certain days around Christmas when trading finishes at 12.30pm).
- Trades requested outside the operating hours of the 'ifs Student Investor Challenge Stock Market' will not be processed until the 'ifs Student Investor Challenge Stock Market' next opens. Such trades will be processed at the opening price of the stock in question on the day that it is processed which is likely to be different from the price displayed when the trade was requested.
- There is a limit of 1 transaction per team per company per day. This restriction refers to the day that a trade is processed, which may be different from the day on which it was requested (see above).
- Each team can own a maximum of 0.01% of the available shares in any one company.
- As a whole, the teams taking part in the challenge can own a maximum of 0.5% of the available shares in any one company. If 0.5% of a company is already in the ownership of teams taking part in the challenge then no further purchases of stock in that company will be possible by any team until such a time as some stock is sold by teams that currently hold said stock.
- To be eligible to receive dividend payments, teams must hold shares in the company paying the dividend at the start of trading on its ex dividend date (i.e. the shares must have been purchased before the ex dividend date). The dividend payment will be added to the team's 'virtual cash pile' on the dividend payment date.
- Each month one team from each region will be given a place in the wildcard draw.
- The place will be given to the team who has achieved the highest percentage increase for the month in that region.
- A team can only be given one place each. If a team has the highest percentage increase in their portfolio value for more than one month, the place will then be given to the next eligible team.
- Teams must be eligible for prizes at the close of trading on the last trading day of the month to be eligible for a place in the draw.
- If a team who wins their place in the regional finals via the wildcard draw is already eligible for a place due to their final league position, their wildcard place will take preference and their place based on league position will go to the next eligible team.
- The wildcard entry does allow for two teams from the same school to be eligible for the regional finals.