Group photo of five students who participated in the CFA Challenge

UO Sweep at CFA Challenge

University of Oregon and Lundquist College of Business students are celebrating a double win at a prestigious finance competition.

The UO Investment Group team—made up of undergraduate students—took first and the Master’s Investment Group team took second place for a UO sweep at the 2023 CFA Institute Research Challenge in Portland.

The CFA (Chartered Financial Analysts) Society Portland hosted the event, where UO students went up against Oregon State University, Portland State University, and Washington State University, among others.

CFA is a nonprofit, self-regulating body—similar to the bar for law but not state regulated.

“It’s your stamp of in-depth knowledge of government and state regulation and asset valuation,” said Darek Nalle, Program Manager, Cameron Center for Finance and Securities Analysis and senior instructor of finance.

The annual global equity research competition is open to undergraduate and graduate students.

This year’s case study was a familiar name to many in the Pacific Northwest—Columbia Sportswear. Teams dug into mandatory SEC findings, conference calls—anything that is offered publicly. They then provide a range of appropriate valuations, an expected share price, a point estimate—in other words, a full equity research report.

Oregon undergraduate students focused not just on the firm itself but also the competition, which Nalle described as a key element to securing the win. They examined the competition landscape, and assessed market trends, noting what major industry players are doing.

“Our team excelled in those areas on top of the traditional valuation techniques,” he said.

The teams presented recommendations—including whether it is a buy, sell, or hold recommendation—to a panel of industry experts.

“We were the only ones to pitch a sell. Everyone else said buy,” said Owen Tunstill, a junior at the Lundquist College.

Adam Newman is a senior studying finance at the Lundquist College. Newman, Tunstill, Finn Whittaker, Zain Shah, and Tyler Owens competed for the undergraduate team.

“We went one–two and competed against each other in the final too,” Newman said of the UO’s undergraduate and graduate team placement. “It proves we are among the best financial programs on the West Coast.”

The CFA global competition received over 1,000 entries, with only 136 universities advancing.

Eleven teams started in the sub-regional competition. They produced a 10-page report with appendixes and a presentation.

The UOIG undergraduate team also competed at the CFA challenge’s Americas Sub-Regional at the end of March, but the team did not advance.

UOIG is a student-run organization that manages, with faculty guidance, more than $1 million spread across three portfolios. Founded in 1998, UOIG is one of the most successful student-run investment groups in the United States.

Launched in 2011, the Master's Investment Group is managed entirely by graduate students. It manages a fund focused on social or business activity in the process of rapid growth and industrialization, among other activities.

—AnneMarie Knepper-Sjoblom ’05, Lundquist College Communications