The 2023 Chartered Financial Analysts Ethics Invitational took place on April 4, sponsored by the CFA Society of Tampa Bay.
Members of the University of South Florida’s Ethics and Debate team, composed of Muma College of Business undergraduate students Olivia Stimpson, Alicia Sullivan, and Thiago Vieira, have a new championship title: 2023 CFA Ethics Invitational winners.
Upon arrival at the Ethics Invitational, the trio knew they were facing fierce competition. The USF students were up against students from Florida Gulf Coast University, New College of Florida, Stetson University, and the University of North Florida.
Sue Ryan Goodman coached this year’s USF ethics team. Goodman, who has a background in private equity for large European pension funds, was an important asset to the team’s success.
Todd Youngs, CFA from CI Doyle Private Wealth, also provided the team with advice ahead of the competition.
“It was such a great experience. The students were so creative and thoughtful with their analysis and presentation,” said Youngs.
At this year’s invitational, the students evaluated a “ripped from the headlines” case involving cryptocurrency trading platform FTX, that collapsed in late 2022 due to fraud. The fall led to many venture capital firms losing over $8 billion dollars.
The students had to be prepared with a solid debate on company ethics.
The students inspected the case, checking it against the CFA Institute's Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct to determine what standards the venture capital firms may have violated.
The team cited a lack of diligence in analyzing the FTX investment opportunity as the investor’s biggest violation of the standards.
“By failing to uncover the fraud, they did not perform appropriate research for the investment analysis, recommendation, or action,” Goodman agreed.
In addition to their diagnoses of ethical violations, the students were also expected to recommend policies that should be put in place to prevent similar events from happening in the future.
The team suggested the venture capital firm create a risk management group, separate from the traditional investment process, to conduct a parallel due diligence investigation and analysis. They further suggested that the team present the results of both analyses to the investment committee.
The judges awarded the three USF Muma College of Business students a championship win, a trophy, and a $1,000 cash prize.
For more information on the CFA Society of Tampa Bay and the CFA Ethics Invitational, click here.
For more information about the University of South Florida’s Ethics and Debate team, click here.