MIPC organizing committee members from left to right: Matthew Wilson, Bhoomika Saxena, Rakan Lamy, Ryan Kalisky, Tania Kuoh, Thomas Mienkowski, Angel Jia Miao, and Darius Kuddo
The call to reduce our environmental footprint and move to sustainable business practices is being heard across the world. How can we combat climate change in a way that is responsible, effective and, most important, feasible?
This is the question that students faced during this year’s McGill International Portfolio Challenge (MIPC). Now in its third year, MIPC is the world’s largest buy-side finance competition organized by a team of BCom students with the support of Sebastien Betermier, Professor of Finance.
This year’s case involved a fictional asset management company responsible for managing Newfoundland and Labrador’s largest pension plans. The case asked students to devise a plan to transition to sustainable investing.
Eighty-seven teams from 15 countries across the world responded to the challenge. Of those, 25 semi-finalist teams proceeded to pitch their ideas to a panel of 35 industry experts from Canada’s largest asset management firms including the CPP Investment Board, the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, and Lombard Odier, to name a few.
“The winning teams looked for constructive solutions that provided clear win-wins for all stakeholders and aligned the funds’ fiduciary duty to generate returns to its pensioners with long-run environmental sustainability,” says Professor Betermier. “This is the type of thinking we need to push sustainable finance initiatives forward.”
Taking home first place and the $25,000 prize were participants from HEC Montréal, followed closely by the National University of Singapore ($10,000) and the University of Sydney ($7,500) in second and third place, respectively.
“Some of the solutions were particularly creative and gave food for thought to the industry experts who came to judge the proposals,” Professor Betermier notes. So, while students attended the event to find solutions to issues affecting investors across the world, experts were, in turn, able to walk away with innovative yet realistic ideas—a fine example of reverse mentoring.
There is no doubt that sustainable investing will profoundly impact our efforts to combat climate change. Following in the footsteps of Greta Thunberg, students are forging their own paths to protect the world they are inheriting.