FOUR budding economists from Ripon Grammar School have beaten more than 5,000 school teams from all over the world to make it to the semi-finals of a prestigious stock market challenge.
The ambitious fourth formers, competing against students up to four years older than themselves, have been positioned in the top 1% of those taking part.
The boys - Archie Heap, Shen Jie Yaw, Bertie Wood and Tristan Paris - now have their eyes set on the big prize - an all-expenses paid trip to New York.
The Student Investor Challenge, run by the London Institute of Banking & Finance, enrols teams to invest virtual money on the London Stock Exchange and trade stocks and shares to make a profit.
Archie, Jie, Bertie and Tristan, who are all from Ripon, made up one of the 5,622 teams who started out in October 2018 with £200,000 of virtual money to invest.
After just three months, they managed to boost their portfolio by an impressive £8,800, ranking them 62nd in the world among the teams - from countries including the States, China, United Arab Emirates, India, Spain, Malaysia, the Czech Republic and Thailand - taking part.
Jie, 14, who wants to be an accountant or an engineer, explained: “As well as investing in the Stock Exchange, additional investments can be made in 50 small companies and commodities such as gold, oil or house prices.
“This means we have to be up-to-date with the latest news about particular sectors, such as retail and technology, as well as researching specific companies.”
Open to students aged 14 to 19, the boys are among the youngest taking part and were initially also competing against teams of teachers, who were allowed to enter the first round.
Bertie, 14, who hopes to become a barrister, said: “It was quite difficult to begin with as I didn’t really understand how it all worked, but then I started to get to grips with it.”
Archie, 14, who wants to study accountancy, said he entered the challenge because he enjoys maths: “We didn’t know what we were doing at the start, so we had a lot to learn.”
Tristan, 15, who plans to study politics or economics, added: “We discovered that stocks can drop in seconds. We had a huge market crash at one point, losing £5,000 after our shares dropped 5%. But we soon picked up again.”
Jie, who puts their success down to planning, research and strategy, said they were all delighted to be among the top 500 teams to get through to the next round, which will run until March 15.
But he’s not prepared to reveal what, exactly, the team’s winning strategy is: “I think that will have to remain a secret,” he said.
RGS work-related learning co-ordinator Bob Walker said the students had picked up vital skills which would equip them well for the future: “I have been very impressed with the team’s work ethic and their interest in the world beyond what is taught in the classroom.
“They have learnt a lot about how the finance sector works, using research and analysis to get to grips with the movement of stocks and shares, currency fluctuations and central bank activities.
“They really have grasped the basics of investment and how economies work. It’s a tremendous achievement.”
The eight top-performing teams from the semi-finals will be invited to a live national final on May 3, with the winners getting to visit the New York Stock Exchange, Wall Street and other famous landmarks.