From education to employment

Girls from across Scotland compete to be crowned the best new business brains

Next generation of female investors shortlisted by Future Asset

A hotly contested competition to find Scotland’s next generation of female investors is reaching the finishing line with schoolgirls nationwide vying for the top accolades.

Teams from Glasgow, Kingussie, Edinburgh and East Lothian, Oban and Clackmannanshire have all made it to the finals of this year’s Growing Future Assets Competition which encourages young women to consider a career in the world of investment management.

They’ve already beaten off stiff competition as the number of participants registered this year has rocketed by 90% to encompass 144 teams and 660 pupils. The total number of schools registering for the contest is also up by 38% and almost a fifth of all the country’s state schools are now involved.

Competition organisers and 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, showing how working in the sector can change the world for the better and give young women valuable, transferable skills.

With more girls than ever before taking part, the judges faced the tough task to whittle the shortlist down to nine teams who will battle it out to be crowned winners in junior and senior contests next month (March).

This year’s candidates competing for top spot in the senior 16-18 year age group are pupils of: Kingussie High School (Badenoch and Strathspey, the Highlands); Preston Lodge High School (Prestonpans, East Lothian); George Watson’s College (Edinburgh) and Alva Academy (Clackmannanshire).

Hoping to take the honours in the junior 14-16 year category are girls from:

Hillhead High School (Glasgow); Kingussie High School (Badenoch and Strathspey); North Berwick High School (East Lothian) and Oban High School (Argyll).

During the contest, youngsters must prove their ability to spot the next big investment prospect by researching, analysing and pitching a company they think will be a lucrative long-term bet.

They are assisted in the process by mentoring from investment management professionals, who share their experience and provide career insights, advice and inspiration, and the support of teachers.

This year more than 90 investment mentors from 32 firms, including Baillie Gifford, First Sentier Investors, Walter Scott and BlackRock volunteered to counsel the youngsters.

Now in its third year, the teams have already presented their case in a research report and three-minute elevator pitch. The nine finalists will deliver an extended pitch to judges in a live final on 9 March with the winners announced on 10 March.

The triumphant teams will receive £1,000 for the top school in the senior category and £200-worth of vouchers of the students’ choice for each team member; £800 for the best school with a junior team and £150-worth of vouchers each.  Senior and junior runners-up receive £500 and £100 of vouchers and £400 and £75 of vouchers, respectively.

Helen Bradley, Future Asset programme manager, says:

“This year’s competition is the most hotly contested yet. It’s been enormously gratifying to see the surge in interest from the youngsters and the commitment and dedication of their teachers and mentors.

“The popularity of the contest, particularly in state schools, means that youngsters who may not otherwise have had contacts in the industry are now plugged into the potential that a career in investment management holds.”

Sally Greig, Investment Manager at Baillie Gifford and Senior School and judge for the Growing Future Assets competition commented,

“Future Asset plays an important role in demystifying the fund management industry for young women and helping to plant those seeds of interest early on. Diversity of thought is core to successful investing and a career in investment management is a great option for both women and men from all backgrounds. 

“I was hugely impressed by the quality and creativity of the entries –  in particular, the importance they placed on how companies are dealing with ESG and the ability to identify what might drive a company’s success in the future – and hope to see some of them applying to Baillie Gifford in the future!”

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