Lose a Million

The Make a Million competition, as I’ve mentioned before, is an awful idea. It doesn’t promote investing or even “normal” trading, but rather massive, speculative risk-taking trading because the prize for performing well is nothing and the prize for performing best is significant.

I’m continually disappointed that Moneyweb continues to partner with this distraction.

As I’ve done in the past, I’ve analysed very quickly some of the results of the most recent competition. As background to that, the basic rules are:

  1. Put up R20,000 of your own money
  2. Trade over three months in currencies, commodities single stock futures and some index trackers.
  3. Whoever has the most at the end wins a million rand
  4. Everyone keeps what is left of their initial “investment”

So let’s be clear, there are no long-term investment learnings here.

The winner did return 165.5% over 3 months, which is not an impressive performance even though it might look like it.  The point is, given the volatility of the investment universe available for the competition and the encouragement towards rampant risk-taking, it’s entirely pedestrian performance.  It’s very likely an individual’s performance will be good given the wide range of possible outcomes.

Let’s look at some other statistics

Average performance -18.4%
Annualised average performance -73.4%
Proportion making a profit 26%
Total amount won -R1 020 762
Standard Deviation of performance 48.0%
Annualised standard deviation 96%

These are not performance statistics of which to be proud. They are similar to the losses incurred in prior competitions.

So in short, the competition cost the entrants in total just over a million rand. Losing a million rand is a great way to Make a Million.

Published by David Kirk

The opinions expressed on this site are those of the author and other commenters and are not necessarily those of his employer or any other organisation. David Kirk runs Milliman’s actuarial consulting practice in Africa. He is an actuary and is the creator of New Business Margin on Revenue. He specialises in risk and capital management, regulatory change and insurance strategy . He also has extensive experience in embedded value reporting, insurance-related IFRS and share option valuation.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.