St Mary's High School, Downpatrick, has emerged victorious in the annual Investec Wealth & Investment/Business Telegraph School Share Race.
Despite strong competition from other competing schools, St Mary's maintained their position at the summit in the final weeks and stayed in top spot over the last hurdle to take the title and first prize of £500 of gift vouchers.
Thirty-six schools entered the competition last October and each was given a fictional £100,000 to invest in shares selected from the FTSE 350 Index. Over the period the Index rose by 8% as markets continued their steady recovery of the past few years.
St Mary's portfolio increased by an amazing 24.67% over the four months the competition ran and they finished up over £4,000 clear of Bangor Academy & 6th Form College, who made an equally impressive 20.44% return. They win £250 of gift vouchers.
Lismore Comprehensive School, Craigavon, came in third, a further £2,500 behind Bangor, with a 17.9% return on their capital and they carry off £125 of gift vouchers as their reward. They just managed to pip Kilkeel High School at the final hurdle by just over £300.
It was encouraging to note that almost half of the school teams managed to outperform the rise in the index over the four months of the competition – no mean feat in these volatile markets.
To achieve an 8% return over such a short period of time is certainly worthy of recognition and would make many a seasoned broker envious in the current economic environment.
A big thank-you to all schools who took part and for those whose portfolio underperformed this time around, well, there's always next year!
Brian Craig is Senior investment director at Investec Wealth and Investment Ltd