Griffith Business School students have taken out first, second and third place in the 2014 AMP University Challenge.

Now in its fourth year, the national financial planning competition attracted a record 413 students from Australia’s leading universities.

The winning team, comprising Bachelor of Commerce students Matthew Baldi and Stephen McLay, was awarded the top prize by AMP Executive Director Financial Planning Steve Helmich at a reception in Sydney.

These students received $5,000 cash (to share), along with registration to attend the 2014 FPA Professionals Congress in Adelaide and a student membership to the association, as well as attendance to the 2015 AMP Planner Conference in Perth. Griffith University also received a $10,000 grant from AMP to put towards financial planning initiatives.

Matthew said taking part in the competition has helped him cement his future path.

“The University Challenge has provided an amazing opportunity that will help to shape my career. The ability to network with senior people in the industry as well as other students has confirmed financial planning is the career for me,” Matthew said.

Griffith Master of Commerce candidates, Yun Chin, Min Jun Kim and Mustafa Alansaritook out second place, while Bachelor of Commerce student Nilona Humphrey won third. These prizes respectively included $2,500 and $1,000 cash and student membership of the FPA. La Trobe and Deakin university students took out fourth and fifth place, respectively.

AMP scoreboard

Pro Vice Chancellor (Business) Professor Michael Powell has warmly congratulated the winning students. He said the strong result reflects Griffith Business School’s commitment to providing students with the tools they need to reach the top of their chosen profession.

“Griffith’s financial planning undergraduate and postgraduate programs are designed to produce graduates who stand out for their skilful, ethical and quality financial planning advice,” Professor Powell said.

All students taking part in the Challenge were presented with a complex financial planning case study for which they were required to develop a strategy detailing wealth creation and insurance analysis and solutions. This task had to be completed within 5 weeks.

The top five teams were invited to Sydney to battle it out on finals day.

These students faced a series of gruelling tasks, beginning the day by answering technical questions about financial planning and financial services legislation. This was followed by the afternoon session in which each student took on the role of a financial adviser and presented their strategy paper to “clients” who provided all sorts of distractions to test the students’ ability to focus.

Finally, the students were asked to research and present their ideas on how to engage more Australians in seeking financial planning advice.

AMP Horizons Director Amelia Constantinidis said the University Challenge is a great way for students to experience how fulfilling and rewarding it is to be a financial planner.

“We’re seeing continued growth in the number of students taking part in the Challenge every year and the calibre of applications remains consistently high. It’s a positive sign for the future success of the financial planning industry,” Ms Constantinidis said.

“The heart of the profession is to offer financial advice to help people live better lives. There’s no doubt that with the engagement we’re seeing from current students in their education this will continue to be the case.”