A team of financial planning students from Kitchener, Ont.'s Conestoga College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning set themselves apart at the eastern edition of the 2016 Canadian Institute of Financial Planning (CIFP) Case Challenge.
Adeeba Shaikh, Aman Raheja and Stefan Brisevac placed first at the annual competition, which was held earlier this month at Fanshawe College in London, Ont. The team from Conestoga College formed one of eight teams from six Ontario colleges that had their financial planning aptitude tested.
The teams were asked to create a financial plan for a fictional young common-law couple, whose partners are self-employed, earn above-average incomes and are looking to start a family. However, the partners were prone to impulsive spending and were living paycheque to paycheque.
The winning team distinguished itself from its competitors by picking up on subtle details, such as the fact that heart disease ran in the family of one partner, Shaikh says.
"We addressed that [fact] in the insurance component," she explains. "When a disease like that affects the family tree, it makes you all the more vulnerable."
The Conestoga Collega team was also able to use its interpersonal skills to tactfully inform the "couple," who are represented by the judges of the event, that they needed to prioritize saving now so they can spend later in life through their retirement plan, says Shaikh.
The experience was a positive one for Shaikh and her teammates, who studiously prepared for the CIFP Case Challege for two months with the help of Conestoga College's faculty.
"These cases are very real, and being able to pitch our ideas in front of judges who are industry professionals gives you the confidence to go out and work in the industry," says Shaikh.
Anthony Williams, vice president of academic affairs with the CIFP, Ryan Laverty, content director for Toronto-based Financial Planning Standards Council (FPSC) and Paul Gomes, a financial advisor with Sun Life Financial (Canada) Inc. in Sarnia, Ont., were the judges at the eastern edition of the CIFP Case Challenge.
A team from Toronto's George Brown College of Applied Arts and Technology took second place while another team from Conestoga came in third place.
Fanshawe College, Humber College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning and Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology, both of Toronto, were also represented.
There was also a western edition of the competition earlier this month, in which Brent Slavik, Victoria Wyering and Caylee Mowbray of Edmonton's Northern Alberta Institute of Technology claimed the top prize. Second and third place went to two teams from Calgary-based Southern Alberta Institute of Technology.
Mount Royal University and Bow Valley College, both in Calgary, were also represented at the western edition of the CIFP Case Challenge.
Toronto-based Sun Life Financial Inc. was the presenting sponsor for the competition. Other sponsors include the FPSC, Lindsay, Ont.-based Plan Plus Inc. and Investment Executive.