Young traders enjoy crypto rally in 2019 CMC Markets University of Auckland Trading Challenge
Auckland, New Zealand – Wednesday, 29th May, 2019
The ninth annual CMC Markets University of Auckland Trading Challenge has come to a close, with third-year students
James Lilley and Ben Julian securing first place from among a field of more than 160 teams.
The three-week challenge, hosted in association with the University of Auckland’s Management Consulting Club (MCC),
provides students with the opportunity to put their investment strategies to the test and experience real-world trading
via the CMC Markets online trading platform.
The teams (comprised of one or two people) went head to head in a quest to secure the best return on investment
(ROI).This year’s challenge saw teams each given a NZD$50,000 CMC Markets virtual fund – increased from NZD$10,000 in
previous years, in order to enable students to build a more diversified portfolio.
This year also marked the first-time students could trade on a number of cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Cardano
and Ethereum – in addition to the usual range of financial derivative instruments such as shares, global indices, and
commodities such as gold and oil.
A combination of factors, including US President Donald Trump’s trade tariffs, the RBNZ’s recent cuts to the official
cash rate, and the unpredictability of cryptocurrencies, resulted in high levels of volatility throughout the
competition – and a constantly changing leader board.
In the end, the Lilley-Julian duo came out on top with an ROI of 85.54 percent and final account balance of over
Lilley says, “The competition allowed us to gain an interesting insight as to just how fast-paced and ever-changing the
markets can be. We learnt that you can lose it all just as fast as you make it, and sometimes it’s important to take a
guaranteed win although it may be smaller.”
Julian, a student who entered from the Victoria University of Wellington, says, “Having to closely follow current events
and discuss what their impacts on the market might be was hugely enjoyable for us both. Locking in profits and
minimising losses were key given the volatility of markets in the past few weeks.”
Third-year Engineering student, Lachie Calder, achieved his second-place getting a 78.7 percent ROI using a high-risk
Calder says, “The competition was a great way to experience trading with real stakes and rewards. It gave me an
incentive to keep up with world news, in particular how global markets react in different ways. What was particularly
useful on the CMC Markets platform, was the ability to trade from my phone. I was able to adjust my positions and their
limits to news immediately while at university or work, rather than delay and miss a peak.”
Coming in third-place were second-year Commerce and Science conjoint students, Reeshan Kishore and Andy Yang, with a ROI
of 73.24 percent, mainly traded on currencies and cryptocurrencies.
Kishore says, “Our plan was to spend the first week making small trades with different types of products to determine
which were the most volatile and potentially profitable. From the second week onward, we focused mainly on those.”
Yang says, “The highlight of our trading experience was sticking through trades that were making losses, but we felt
still had potential for profits - and then later successfully closing these trades with significant profits.”
Caterina Barton and Zach Withers, Finance Events Co-Leads of MCC says the competition is a great chance for students to
trial what they’ve learnt in class and take risks in a realistic, yet safe environment.
“Having the benefit of practical experience is indispensable when it comes time for students to enter the industry and
start their careers. The volatility of the markets in the week the challenge started created an added element of
unpredictability, which meant participants really had to think strategically in order to gain a competitive advantage
over the other teams,” Barton concludes.
Chris Smith, General Manager of CMC Markets New Zealand says this year’s round of competitors were active risk-takers,
making the Challenge incredibly dynamic.
“Like many traders in the real world, we saw the students enjoy the highs and lows that come with trading on volatile
products like cryptocurrencies. We’re proud to continue facilitating an experience where these future traders,
stockbrokers and investors feel comfortable putting their knowledge to the test.”