The Bank of Ireland FX Trade Off Competition tests university students’ ability to trade currencies, promoting and encouraging participation in the global FX markets country-wide. The competition is popular amongst aspiring financiers and numerical brains alike, with over 1,000 entrants this year. It is open to all third level students throughout Ireland, with UCD performing well each year since the inaugural event in 2017. Bank of Ireland, the competition’s chief sponsor, provides lucrative prizes to the winners of the competition, including internships in the company for the top two competitors.
Each student is given $1,000,000 to trade in their simulated account, with the aim being to make the most return on investment over 5 weeks, and is fiercely contested. BOI also provide trading tutorials and general advice to all competitors.
On an individual level, UCD’S Investors and Entrepreneurs Society were hugely successful, bringing home a plethora of prizes, most notably 2nd place, won by Robin Twist, which saw him pick up €1,000 along with a guaranteed internship in Bank of Ireland’s Global Markets division. Other winners included Luke Harris (3rd place), who won €750, and Cian Percival (4th place) who cashed in €500.
Speaking to the College Tribune’s Alex Lohier, Robin Twist explained his strategy for placing 2nd; ‘’no point in a sensible, real-life, policy of diversification. Steady gains weren’t going to cut it. My plan was maximum risk, place or blow up spectacularly’’. Robin’s angle was to focus on currencies, focusing on the Pound Sterling. ‘’I needed volatility; Sterling it was!’’. He paired this against the New Zealand Dollar as it offered the greatest fluctuation, thus providing the greatest potential rewards (and, conversely, losses). Political and economical decisions made during Robin’s investment strengthened his position, resulting in his coming second in the competition. When asked would he recommend it, Robin commented that ‘’a Master’s is a busy year and the FX Trade Off Competition sucks up your time, four of us in the top seven made hundreds of trades each, but I highly recommend it’’.
The Investors and Entrepreneurs Society also won the prize for the best performing society in Ireland. This is an incredibly prestigious prize to win and saw the society receive €10,000 for their successful efforts. These wins are testament to UCD’s impressive track record in investing and finance, with the Investors and Entrepreneurs Society now the largest student-run business society in Ireland. The university is quickly gaining a reputation as the leader in financial education in Ireland and a big player on the European and world stage.
Patrick Doherty – Business Editor