29 December 2015: Yale-NUS Student Investment Group aims to improve financial literacy at Yale-NUS

Written by Clare Isabel Ee | Image from YNSIG Facebook page

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A Yale-NUS student listens attentively to CEO Praveen Jagwani’s talk on ‘An Investment Case for India’, part of the CEO Speaker Series. 

Investment. Stocks. The financial market. These are topics useful to undergraduates as they approach the working world, yet seem inaccessible to many who may not know where to begin.

At Yale-NUS, a group of students founded the Yale-NUS Student Investment Group (YNSIG, previously known as Investment Masterminds) and have become a student hub of knowledge and information.

“Our mission is to improve the financial literacy of the student body at Yale-NUS,” said Lee Koon Min (Class of 2018), part of the core team that runs YNSIG.

To cater to the varying levels of interest in investment matters across the student body, the group offers a plethora of activities. These include opportunities for the core group to attend student-run conferences like the Asia Investment Banking Conference 2015 in Hong Kong so they can bring their learning back to their peers here, as well as organising the YNSIG CEO Series by speakers such as Mr Brooks Entwistle, CEO of Everstone Capital, and Mr Praveen Jagwani, CEO of UTI International (Singapore) Private Limited, who shared their professional experiences with the Yale-NUS community.

For those who do not have any background in investments, YNSIG also offers an eight-week Investment Seminar Series, where an external trainer gives weekly sessions to teach enrolled students about investment. The series typically ends with a Stock Pitch Challenge, where participants are tasked with writing stock analysis reports on a company of their choice, from which the five strongest teams would be chosen to proceed to the finals. During the finals, each team presents a stock pitch to and answers questions from a panel of expert judges.

The most recent course cycle saw 45 student participants, who formed 10 teams in the Stock Pitch Challenge (previously known as FinAnalyze). Their main sponsor for the Challenge was OCBC Securities, which visited the College to share about the OCBC Young Investor Program and take sign-ups on campus. An investment analyst from the company also sat on the judging panel during the finals.

“The Challenge is a fun learning experience at the finale of the eight-week series, and also provides a platform for the participants in the series to test their newly learnt skills,” explained Koon Min.

“I really enjoyed the Stock Pitch Challenge because it required us to connect the dots – [for example] how do the political protests in Bangkok affect SATS, the company that caters our dining hall meals? [Learning about] fundamental investing helped me figure out the answer,” said Jessica Teng (Class of 2018), whose team of three won the most recent Challenge.

Jessica found the whole course and Challenge very beneficial and is looking forward to learning more about investment in future. While she attributes some of her interest in investing to earning money, she also shared that the challenge of investing is also what drives her.

“I feel that investment is particularly interesting because it requires so much intellectual inquiry (analysing data, looking at macro factors, and so on) that incorporates elements of current affairs and human psychology, but at the same time, it’s still about chance and luck,” she explained. “This is a frustrating combination that can also be quite rewarding.”

On 22 February 2016, YNSIG will be hosting the Singapore Asset Management Conference 2016 (SAMC 2016) with J.P. Morgan as their main partner. Held on the Yale-NUS College campus, the conference will feature keynote addresses by senior management from J.P. Morgan and the Monetary Authority of Singapore, panel discussions, and a breakout workshop on skills related to asset management.

To find out more about the Yale-NUS Student Investment Group, head on over to their Facebook page. To register for SAMC 2016, check out www.samc.sg!