PORT DICKSON: When friends Khairul Hadi M Rahim and Shazril Mazlan were paired off with different partners last year for the Permodalan Nasional Bhd World Investment Challenge, they only managed to grab consolation prizes.
But this year, the duo used their decade-old friendship to their advantage and clinched the top prize of US$50,000 (RM185,000).
Last year we were paired off by the committee. But this year, we chose to partner each other. We are both from the same department, said Khairul Hadi yesterday after receiving the top prize from Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
The two, analysts in the International Fund Management Department of PNB, met when they were PNB scholars at Imperial College in London.
We are good friends and it helps because we generally have the same views and thoughts, he added.
I think this was helpful during the sessions, because we came up with the same decisions and made the same 'call'.
Our friendship was a bonus.
Khairul Hadi, 28, added that they also received encouragement and tips from their superiors and bosses at PNB.
They are the ones who have at least 10 years' experience, he added.
Shazril, 27, said that he did not expect to win as their team, Ilham Wealth LLP, was among the losers after the first day of trading.
When they announced the top participants, we were not among the list. But on the second day, we just did the job, he said.
There were 58 teams, comprising two people in each team, in this year's challenge.
The total prizes amounted to US$110,000 (RM407,000). PNB made a clean sweep of the top three prizes.
Although there were teams which had pairings of a man and a woman, PNB Corporate, comprised two women, Syarifah Kassim and Salfarina Zainal Abidin, from PNB's Corporate Finance Department.
They emerged first runner-up and received US$25,000 (RM82,500).
We strove to win, said 34-year-old Syarifah, who is assistant manager at the department.
It feels really good because we were competing against all the guys and fund managers. They were very skilled and experienced. We wanted to show that women could do it.
Salfarina added that while it was not her day-to-day job to deal with investment, she knew about the field as she had studied it in university.
Second runner-up was Team Steadfast comprising Idris Yaacob and Ismail Ngah Rabu from PNBs Investment Department who received US$15,000 (RM55,500).
This is the second year that PNB is organising the challenge, which is a simulation portfolio game where participants are given astarting capital of US$100mil (RM370mil) to invest.
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