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 OsloMet makes its research challenge debut with high ambitions

A team of five bachelor and master students in business and finance from OsloMet has set high ambitions to the school's first appearance in CFA Research Challenge.

As they all want to work in finance after graduating, preferably as equity researchers or in M&A, the CFA Research Challenge allows them to get a taste of what's it like to be a practicing professional and to train on skills needed for a future career. 

"We also believe it will be great to experience how professionals work, and get hands on experience in a field that we think is incredibly interesting. Of course our goal for the competition is to win," says n e s, one of the team members.

Together with his team mates Tormod Borge Frogner, Henrik Nymoen, Joakim Fon and Thomas Sivert Nielsen, they are now preparing to present their recommendation on fish farmer Bakkafrost in front a jury of industry experts on February 27 at Danske Bank's headquarter in Oslo.

"We have done a lot of preparation for this, firstly gathering a lot of data from various sources. We have had meetings almost every day, and worked closely with the strategic parts and the model in excel, " says Læknes.


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The Oslomet CFA team consist of Tormod Borge Frogner, Henrik Nymoen, Bjørn Magne Læknes, Joakim Fon and Thomas Sivert Nielsen. 

New experience

The participants are judged on their ability to write a research report and value  Bakkafrost, which is this year's research case, as well a presentation of their research and recommendation.

"Bakkafrost has been a difficult task, especially with the acquisition of Scottish Salmon Company. Neither of us had much experience with the salmon industry, but it has been very interesting to learn more about one of Norway`s largest industries," says Læknes.

"Bakkafrost is a large company and it is very important for the Faroese community and it is good to see that sustainability also is a focus for the company. "

The winner of next week's competition between student teams from BI Norwegian Business School, Nord Universitet and NTNU will represent CFA Society Norway in the regional final taking place in Jordan April 1-2.

The CFA Institute Research Challenge is an annual global competition where more than 6100 students from 1150 universities are tested on their analytical, valuation, reporting writing and presentation skills. The challenge provides students with hands-on mentoring and intensive training in financial analysis and professional ethics. These students gain real-world experience as they assume the role of a research analyst.

Read more about CFA Institute Research Challenge.

CFA Institute consists of 169.000 members globally with 157 local societies arranging events and professional continuing education for their members, candidates and other stakeholders. 


  Convinced industry judges with investment advice on Bakkafrost

All four participating teams in the CFA Society Norway research challenge demonstrated their talent and commitment with impressive presentations and convincing arguments to cheer potential investors to buy Oslo listed fish farmer Bakkafrost.

In tough competition with students representing OsloMet and NTNU, one of BI Norwegian Business School's two participating teams was announced as winners after convincing the panel of jugdes in the Q&A session following their strong presentation.

2P9A9270.jpgWinning team members, including Hannah Breistein, Tiziana Fadda, Mazen Younes, Francesco Romagnoli, Himal Gautam. Faculty advisor (to the left) Janis Berzins and industry mentor (to the right) Shirley Dong. 

"We were all impressed by the high standard of the participating teams and their thorough understanding of one of Norway's most important industries. It's truly inspiring to see their dedication to the competition and ability to give a professional analysis on such a complex company as Bakkafrost within a relatively short time period," says Isabelle Thompsen, President of CFA Society Norway and portfolio manager at Gjensidigestiftelsen.

Together with Christian Yggeseth, head of equity research at Danske Bank, Lars Konrad Johnsen from Carnegie and Håvard Hegre from Danske Bank, she constituted the panel of judges evaluating the team's written research report and presentations, which is the culmination of months of research, interviews with company management, competitors and clients.

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All participating teams received intensive training in financial analysis and professional ethics delivered through the CFA Institute network, their faculty advisor and dedicated industry mentors, which this year consisted of Anders Sjåstad from Mimir Consulting, Shirley Dong from Cleaves Securities, Audun Nordtveit from Sole Kapital and Morten Gabrielsen from Carnegie.

Looking for talent

Despite different upside potential in terms of target price, all teams made convincing arguments to why investors should consider to invest in Oslo listed Bakkafrost, ranging from new megatrends to acquisition synergies and premium product qualities.  

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"It's been fantastic to listen to all of you, I have to say to that it's inspiring for us to get input from the outside and from you who are students. I can see that you have been working a lot with Bakkafrost and the industry, " said Runi M. Hansen, chairman of Bakkafrost.

He emphasized the importance of finding new talent to continue to develop the industry.

"A competitive edge for us in the future is to have the best people," he said.

Heading to Jordan

The winning team is now set to represent CFA Society Norway in the EMEA final taking place in Jordan on April 1-2, where they will face other universities from across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

The top five teams will then pursue to the global final in New York on April 22.

About the CFA Institute Research Challenge
The CFA Institute Research Challenge gathers students, investment industry professionals, publicly traded companies, and corporate sponsors together locally, regionally, and globally for an annual competition. In order to promote best practices in equity research and company analysis, students research, analyze, and report on a company as if they are practicing analysts.

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Local CFA member societies and other affiliated groups host local level competitions of the Research Challenge in conjunction with the participating universities. The universities assemble teams of three to five business and finance students who work directly with a company in researching and preparing a company analysis.

The team's final presentations are locally evaluated by high-profile panels of heads of research, portfolio managers, and chief investment officers from the world's top firms. The local champions advance to regional competitions for the Americas, Asia Pacific, and Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) and then to the Global Final, which will all take place in New York City on April 22nd. Additional information on the Research Challenge is available on the CFA Institute website, www.cfainstitute.org/researchchallenge.

About CFA Institute 

CFA Institute is the global association of investment professionals that sets the standard for professional excellence and credentials. The organization is a champion of ethical behavior in investment markets and a respected source of knowledge in the global financial community.

Our aim is to create an environment where investors' interests come first, markets function at their best, and economies grow. There are more than 162,000 CFA charterholders worldwide in 163 countries and regions. CFA Institute has nine offices worldwide and there are 154 local member societies. For more information, visit www.cfainstitute.org.


Valuation practice for the next generation of analysts

This year's CFA Research Challenge case Bakkafrost gives the team members from NTNU valuable practice by applying valuation techniques and acquire industry insight that could prove important for a future career.

The four members, who are all studying financial economics at NTNU, are now putting in hours of their spare time preparing for the upcoming competition in February. 

"After a long an intensive exam period, we have worked independent during the Christmas break and through Skype meetings. Towards the main conference in February, we have daily meetings during evenings and weekends," says Mats Isaksen.

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Together with his team members Abraham G. Habtai, Maria Olsen and Aksel Jansen, they have spent a lot of time analyzing financial data about the Norwegian Salmon company Bakkafrost and the industry in general using statistical tools.

Complex case

As with the other teams participating in the contest, they are currently preparing a written research report they will present to a panel of judges consisting of industry analysts. 

"There are many relevant factors making it a complex case. Part of the challenge is to identify what's important and find the correct nuances. In addition, the seafood industry is a big and important part of the Norwegian economy that any economist should have knowledge about," says Isaksen. 

The CFA Institute Research Challenge is an annual global competition that provides university students with hands-on mentoring and intensive training in financial analysis and professional ethics, otherwise not easily accessible for students.

Working in teams, students gain real-world experience as they assume the role of research analysts and are judged on their ability to value a stock, write a research report, and present their recommendations.

Teams from Nord University, OsloMet, and BI Norwegian Business School are competing in the national final at Danske Bank's headquarter in Oslo February 27.  The EMEA regional final is held April 1 in Jordan, while the global final is held in New York April 22.


 Global finalists

After an intense presentation round in the regional EMEA final with four university teams from University of Turku, University of Piraeus and University of Belgrade, the Norwegian team from BI Norwegian Business School was announced as winners on Thursday.

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The team is now moving on to the final lap of the CFA Research Challenge together with four other teams in the global final to be held on 22 April. This third time in the last four years a team from Norway and BI Norwegian Business Schools qualifies for the final in the prestigious competetition.

BI's team, which won the national final, was supposed to face other participants from Europe, Middle-East and Africa in Jordan on 1-2 April. Because of travel restrictions due to the coronavirus outbreak, the final rounds of the research challenge turned into an online competition where they sent a video recording of their presentation instead. 


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BI's team consist of Hannah Breistein, Tiziana Fadda, Mazen Younes, Francesco Romagnoli, Himal Gautam in addition to Faculty advisor Janis Berzins and industry mentor Shirley Dong.



 Norway's first CFA Class

Norway's first CFA Affiliated program at BI Norwegian Business School offers hands-on applied corporate finance training by connecting students with practicing industry experts to develop knowledge, skills and abilities needed for a professional investment role today.

First launched as a three-hour pilot, the course was offered as a six credit program for the first time this semester with 30 students challenged with intensive training in research writing, industry analysis and presentation skills.

One of the highlights of the course is the upcoming annual CFA Research Challenge where finance students from four schools in Norway compete to present the best company analysis of fish farmer Bakkafrost in front of an experienced panel of judges from Danske Bank, DNB Markets and Carnegie.

This is the fourth time students from BI have participated in the research challenge and Professor Janis Berzins, which is responsible for the course and faculty advisor to BI's two teams, says the link between motivated students, mentors and relentless continuous work of small improvements are factors explaining the previous years`success in the competition. 


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"We have a group of bright students that do not mind to take on an extra challenge. Perhaps they are curious to see what is their top potential? The course is also one of the few hands-on applied corporate finance courses, " says Berzins, explaining the increased interest in the CFA course from students.

Defining experience

Over the last year's competitions, participating students estimated to have spent more 300 hours beside studies to prepare for the competition.

"From the ones that represent BI, students say that this is one of the defining experiences they have had during the master's program, "says Berzins.

Besides enhanced practical training in applied finance, students are given an opportunity to grow at an accelerated rate professionally, which has resulting in very good positions for previous year's contesters despite a competitive job market.


In the competition, teams of student assume the role of equity analysts arguing for the stock recommendation of Oslo listed fish farmer Bakkafrost, and are judged on their ability to value the stock, write a research report, and their presentation of it.

Two teams from the internal class competition are making their final preparations on what they think should be improved to be competition, which is held at Danske Bank's headquarter at Aker Brygge on February 27.

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The winner will represent CFA Society Norway in the EMEA final in Jordan April 1-2.