Getting through to the UK Investment Banking Series finals

By Brandon Rodrigues, third year BSc Finance & Investment Banking student at the ICMA Centre


I had the opportunity to participate in this year’s UK Investment Banking Series (UIBS) event, and I must say it was a fun ride.

UIBS is an annual competition organized by 5 finance societies of various universities. It consists of a Sales & Trading challenge as well as an M&A challenge. My team and I registered for the trading challenge, out of curiosity (but also to get our mind off the piling workload that goes hand in hand with being third years!)

The Prelimnaries: Stocks

The preliminaries consisted of selecting 10 stocks from the FTSE 100 and holding them for 2 weeks with the aim of maximizing returns, with the opportunity to change our positions after the first week.

Easy enough? Pretty much!

After the first few days, our technical analysis with a dash of fundamentals paid off and 3 of our equities were the top performers of the FTSE. As if testing our patience, the FTSE then plummeted 4% by the end of week 1 and not a single team across the board had a positive figure! Undeterred, we changed our positions and our recovery qualified us for the finals held at Imperial College in London.

The Finals: Hedge Funds and Investment Banks

The finals greeted us in the form of a damp Sunday, but we were warmed by the reception upon arrival. The event started off with a briefing given by the Managing Director of Amplify Trading, William De Lucy, on the various roles we would be assuming as well as an overview of the players of a Sales & Trading desk at any investment bank or fund in the industry. The teams would be sorted either as a hedge fund or an investment bank, then the roles would be reversed after an hour and a half.

We started trading as a hedge fund whose goal was to maximize returns. We soon learned there were 2 types of investment banks; those that are greedy for commission, and those that are greedy for client loyalty. We took full advantage of the latter. It would also seem that the trading simulators at the ICMA Centre definitely gave us an advantage as we joined the flow of trading quite smoothly. For other teams however, it could only be called a nightmare as a ‘fat finger’ or two would wipe out any semblance of profits, causing some hedge funds to delve into 9 figure losses!!

The race to the finish…

After lunch, we scrambled into the sell-side as an investment bank and that’s when we realized just how hectic a sales trader had it. Apart from giving quotes to 20 odd teams and vying for commissions all around we soon fell into the flow of the role and the atmosphere in the room was almost maniacal since all teams now knew of what they were expected to do after round 1. The room’s tempo was hectic and stimulating and we enjoyed every bit of it!

I would recommend the UIBS to any student who is interested in working in trading or risk/portfolio manager roles. The wealth of information and invaluable networking opportunities made the entire day completely worth it. I would like to thank my teammates as well as the organizers for the fantastic experience. Keep it up!

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