FMWC 2020 – Stage 2 Review

By Andrew Grigolyunovich, CFA, CFM, FMVA
Chairman of the Financial Modeling World Cup

I hope this stage brought much more positive emotions to the participants. I think we slightly over-done with complexity at Stage 1 – the 2-hour timeframe was not enough to successfully solve all 3 cases. However, at Stage 2 we have probably struck the right balance – there were as many as 9 top-scoring participants who decided the winner based on the bonus points for an early finish.

Remember, that the FMWC format provides 10 bonus points for every full minute saved, however, the bonus is awarded only if a participant scores 90% of regular points for the cases. This also gives quite some tactical varieties for participants – for example, Andrew Ngai, World Champion 2019, went to score exactly 900 points and then finished earlier, getting 260 bonus points. Not enough for a win, but, probably, it was a profitable trade-off for him.

The Cases

This time we have created one simple task for a warm-up (Back to the Basics). This one emphasized the specifics of NPV and IRR calculations. Many analysts struggle with these formulas so we wanted to give an exercise to better understand the specifics of NPV, XNPV, IRR and XIRR formulas. There was 1 question on theory – but that was just to give a feeling of what the MIRR formula is all about without overcomplicating things. We don’t plan to have many of the theory questions in the future.

The case on e-car charging stations was designed to be easy enough. It did not require any specific knowledge from the participants. However, case 3 (follow-up with AFM), was testing the candidate’s ability to put together a 3-way financial model. This turned out to be tricky for many participants.

Summing up, it was the overall level of financial modeling + the speed of calculations that determined the group of leaders. Then it was their ability to put together the 3-way statement fast enough with no errors that decided the split of the places.

The Thrillers

At the very beginning of FMWC, we have committed to make it the very best financial modeling competition. I hope that our participants will appreciate that the results were published in the Power BI format and in less than 1 hour after Monday midnight at IDLW time zone (UTC-12, Howland and Baker Islands) when the stage was officially over.

The epic battle between Joseph Lau and Diarmuid Early continued again. These guys are so close and just so good! Diarmuid was the first one to get the maximum score of 1000 points at this stage, while Joseph made 1 mistake that cost him 15 points. Still, the winner of stage 2 was Joseph, as he spent 4 minutes less than Diarmuid, thus winning by a margin of 25 points.

In the overall rankings, both guys are split just by 15 points now – and it’s Diarmuid who is leading the pack. Both guys lead the Open and the Masters age group rankings. Amazingly, they both submitted their answers on Friday – seems that the guys just can’t wait until the next round of FMWC starts!

The battle for the Top U-25 position is now lead by Smith Jain from India followed by Artsiom Petrykeyeu from Belarus and Janis Reinis Beikmanis from Latvia. I’m very proud that Artsiom started his financial modeling journey at our company AG Capital a couple of years ago before moving back home – and he definitely has made great progress since then!

Here I also wanted to stress that some of the participants happen to work at FMWC sponsor companies and a couple of other guys, e.g. Artsiom Petrykeyeu and Dmitrijs Lukasevics are alumni of AG Capital. However, none of them has any access to the competition cases and they compete on equal grounds with anyone else.

On the regional level, an interesting battle is happening in Europe between Christian Hueber (Austria), Samir Asadov (Ireland) and Willem Gerritsen (Netherlands), twice a runner-up at World Championships. All of them are split by as little as 75 points.

Africa is comfortably lead by Jason Webber (South Africa). South America is still underrepresented in quantity, to our great regret, but not in quality, as it is lead by Tiago Carvalho da Silva (Brazil) who is comfortably sitting on top of the regional rankings here.

However, everything in the rankings can still change a lot, as we have 2 stages left this season with double points for stage 4 in December.

What’s next?

Next time we will try to bring you something different but as exciting. We will try to keep the format similar to stage 2 – one simple case for warm-up, then a comparatively simple case solvable with no specific knowledge and finally a more complicated case testing some specific modeling techniques like putting together a 3-way statement model (but this time it will be something else).

Stage 3 starts on November 20 and Stage 4 will be held at the end of December. We will consult with our participants regarding the choice of the dates for the December stage. BTW, don’t forget that Stage 4 will award double the amount of points. We might also think of running it for 3 hours instead of 2 hours. Again, we will be making a poll among our participants.

Like, Share & Comment!

Finally, I encourage you to spread the word about your results at FMWC to your network of contacts. Don’t be afraid of bringing in some extra competitors – the field is already strong anyway. The more participants we bring in, the larger the prize fund and the more massive event will we be able to organize next year.

We also thank our partners at the Financial Modeling Institute, Plum Solutions and personally Danielle Stein Fairhurst, Eloquens, Fintega, Joris Kersten, Best Ltd and SSE Riga IFund. And, of course, to our sponsors at AG Capital and

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