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Scots schoolgirls named as most promising future investors

Schoolgirls in Lochaber and Stenhousemuir have been named as the most promising next generation of business investors.

The youngsters, aged between 13 and 18, came out top in the Growing Future Assets Competition, a contest to nurture future women in investment and encourage them to consider a career in the industry.

But the winners faced tough competition to triumph in the finals, with entries up by a record-breaking 300% this year.

Pupils from Lochaber High School, Fort William, Inverness-shire won the senior 16 -18 age group category collecting £1000 for the school and £200 of vouchers of the students’ choice for each team member. Runners up were girls from North Berwick High School, East Lothian, winning £500 for the school and £100 of vouchers each.

In the 13-16 year category, the team from  Larbert High School, Falkirk, came out top, winning £800 for their school and £150 each in vouchers. Runners up were girls from Bishopbriggs Academy, East Dunbartonshire, picking up £400 for the school and £75 in vouchers for every girl in the team.

Financial educators Future Asset believe that being female should never be a barrier to progressing in a chosen career and the contest introduces senior schoolgirls to potential careers in investment, demonstrating how working in the sector can change the world for the better and give young women valuable, transferable skills.

Fund Manager for Artemis and judge for the Senior competition, Neil Goddin says: “What a fantastic finals day we had; the standard of presentations was extremely high and all the teams, both in the final and the wider competition, should be proud of the effort they put in.

“Watching the confidence and knowledge levels grow through the competition was great to see and I am sure we will see lots of young females joining the asset management in the coming years.”

Broadcaster, Writer and Author Iona Bain, a judge for the Junior competition, adds: “I was incredibly impressed by the quality and maturity of the finalists’ presentations this year. To see so many girls grappling with the complex, important world of investing at such a young age is heartening. The skills and knowledge they have built up during this competition will stand them in good stead, whatever careers they choose.

“But I’m sure some will now be seriously thinking about coming into finance and that gives me hope. They can give the investment industry a much needed kick up the bum by offering fresh, unique perspectives on the problems and opportunities facing investors in the 21st century. I look forward to seeing these talented young women shaking things up in the years to come.”

During the competition youngsters had to prove their ability to spot the next big investment prospect by researching, analysing and pitching a company, from a selection of 38 businesses, they considered a great long-term venture. Three out of the four top teams pitched renewable energy company Ørsted, the fourth picked Accsys Technologies which produces high-performance building material from renewable wood sources. All considered environmental sustainability of central importance.

Mairi Dudley, Head of UK Market Development at Ørsted, said: “We are honoured to have been chosen by so many of these high-achieving girls as their investment of choice. As the world’s most sustainable energy company, we hold social sustainability and inclusion at the highest value.

“Reducing barriers and widening participation in traditionally male-dominated industries is vital for us to keep achieving our goals and protecting the environment. It’s inspiring to see these values held in such high esteem by future generations.”

More than 80 groups, totalling almost 370 girls, took part from all over Scotland. They were mentored by more than 80 investment management professionals offering advice, inspiration and career insights, and supported by teachers.

Talia Stoddart, one of the S5 pupils from the winning Senior team at Lochaber High School, says: “I think the whole experience was almost better than actually winning.

“It really helped to open my eyes to a whole new industry that I could be a part of. I learnt so many things I never knew before – gaining new skills and developing others all at once – when my team finally finished writing our final script I felt an overwhelming sense of achievement and knew that even if we didn’t win in the final I’d still have all I’d learnt along the way and a potential new career to consider.

“It was a truly insightful experience that I’d recommend to any girl in the future. To win was such a fulfilling, amazing experience.. Not only do I feel the payoff of all our hard work but I’m also excited for the opportunities and pathways that have been opened for me. Winning this competition for me is the first step to starting my future career.”

Experts from journalism and business also advised the teenagers with Executive and Voice Coach Susan Room boosting their skills and confidence with online masterclasses in Mindset, Body Language, Speech and Voice and author, broadcaster and financial journalist Iona Bain explaining how to invest their way to a better future.

Chief Operating Officer for Martin Currie, Jennifer Mair says: “Martin Currie recognises the value of a diverse workforce, and we partner with a number of organisations to grow diversity in the investment management industry.

“We support Future Asset with their aim of informing female talent about financial services and the range of possible career opportunities in the sector.  We were delighted to act as mentors for and share insights with the team from North Berwick High School.  We are very proud of their achievement in the recent Growing Future Assets Investment Competition.”

Helen Bradley, Future Asset programme manager, says: “The judges were hugely impressed by all the teams. The standard was fantastically high and all the presentations were worthy of industry professionals. The winning senior team, Lochaber High School, delivered passion and commitment that the panel felt was unrivalled.”

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