Company’s data analyst

During Epiphany Term you are required to construct a portfolio of assets and manage and monitor its performance throughout the term using the StockTrak Portfolio Simulation software (details of the way in which the programme operates are provided). The investment period runs from Monday 13th January until Friday 20th March 2020.

An initial fund of $1,000,000 is available to purchase assets (equities, bonds, mutual funds, and ETFs). A $10 commission is charged for each trade so more trading will entail greater transaction costs. The total number of transactions is limited to 200 for the simulation period.

Please note that you are required to register an individual account on StockTrak for the SIA Summative Assessment 2019-20.

The assignment will be assessed by means of an individual written report that critically discusses the following:

  • the nature of the prevailing economic and financial environment that shapes your investment decision-making and the potential impact of these on the performance of the portfolio.
  • the investment philosophy that underpins the construction of the portfolio and the investment strategy adopted (philosophy and strategy should be carefully distinguished from one another).
  • the rationale for the allocation of assets between broad sectors and the principles that have guided the choice of individual securities (the application of technical and/or fundamental analysis).
  • the performance of the portfolio in relation to a chosen benchmark (and a justification for the choice of benchmark). 
  • the risk/return characteristics of the portfolio using appropriate portfolio performance measures (consideration should be given to the performance of your portfolio in terms of security selection, market timing, and diversification).
  • how you might alter your investment decision-making if you were asked to construct a new portfolio at the end of the simulation period.

The discussion should be underpinned by appropriate academic literature throughout.

Overall word limit: 2500

Assignments should be typed, using 1.5 spacing and an easy-to-read 12-point font. Assignments must not exceed the word count indicated in the module handbook/assessment brief.

The word count should:

  • Include all the text, including title, preface, introduction, in-text citations, quotations, footnotes and any other items not specifically excluded below.
  • Exclude diagrams, tables (including tables/lists of contents and figures), equations, executive summary/abstract, acknowledgements, declaration, bibliography/list of references and appendices. However, it is not appropriate to use diagrams or tables merely as a way of circumventing the word limit. If a student uses a table or figure as a means of presenting his/her own words, then this is included in the word count.

2 examples of Comments written by examiners for SIA formative report:

Example 1(64 marks):

Structure and Presentation

The structure and presentation is good but could be improved.

The report is very well written but could be improved with by adopting a more professional illustrative structure. Report summary, contents page and page numbers are essential parts of both academic and professional reports.

Given that you were limited to a relatively short word count, the inclusion of diagrams and tables is essential. In industry, you will often have to convey complex concepts to managers, clients and shareholders. These stakeholders often have limited time or knowledge. As a result, your ability to demonstrate information and complex concepts illustratively becomes an extremely valuable skill.

Your report would be significantly improved with the inclusion of more diagrams and descriptive tables in text.

Relevance to Question

Goals, Philosophy, Strategy and Technique

You’ve provided an adequate discussion around the overall level of risk aversion, time horizon and goals for the portfolio. Risk metrics and control techniques are considered, but mostly limited to diversification and beta. This report could be improved with the inclusion of further pre-implementation risk analysis (Portfolio’s pre-holding period standard deviation, Sharpe Ratio, mean variance efficiency, optimal allocation etc.).

You demonstrate a good understanding of investment philosophies and the importance of establishing an investment philosophy. Your stated investment philosophy is clear. There is a good discussion around the development of a strategy which is coherently formed around the stated investment philosophy.

The report provides an adequate explanation of the techniques used to analyse and select securities that fulfil the criteria set out in the investment strategy.

Analysis, Discussion and Conclusion

Evaluation, Analysis and Critique

Your choice of benchmark is appropriate and justified. The overall quantitative analysis and evaluation of your portfolio performance is excellent. Your performance analysis could be improved with a comparison to the pre-implementation goals.


Referencing is good but could be improved. To improve you could utilise more up to date peer reviewed academic research to support your assertions about the nature of modern markets and the behaviour of market participants. You could also provide more critical perspectives with support from the literature.