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CFA Institute Research Challenge Benelux

The CFA Institute Research Challenge is an equity research competition among student teams from the world's top university business and finance programs. It offers the best real-life experience for groups of young talents to produce a complete research report on a company and compete with other (international) teams! Ethics, education and professional excellence are core to the competition and it provides participants with the opportunity to showcase technical and soft skills and meet employersCFA Society Netherlands introduced the Challenge to the Netherlands as a means to promote best practices in research among the next generation of analysts through hands-on mentoring and intensive training in company analysis and presentation skills.

In 2010 the Challenge was expanded to include Belgium and in 2013 Luxembourg was added to create the CFA Institute Research Challenge in the Benelux. 

To get a better picture of what to expect, read the following:  

How is the Challenge organized?

Upon invitation from CFA Society Netherlands, local universities assemble teams of 3 to 5 persons each. Under guidance of a mentor, students write an equity research report on a publicly traded company, and present their findings to a distinguished panel of experts. 
The teams are judged on their written reports and the accompanying presentations and a winner is selected. The winning team receives a €1000 check and a one-day presentation training (market value €5000,-) to further develop their skills. The winners will advance to the Regional, Sub-regional Western Europe Finals and possibly even the global Research Challenge Finals in New York. The second team receives €500 and the third team €250 in prize money.

Throughout the competition, CFA Society Netherlands' investment professionals volunteer as mentors, graders and judges and teach students best practices in equity research and corporate analysis. 

For the 2024-2025 competition year, we are very much looking forward to a live - and no doubt lively - competition! The competition will start in fall 2024.

Participating teams in 2023/2024:

  • Erasmus School of Economics (2 teams)
  • Rotterdam School of Management,
  • HAN University of Applied Sciences (2 teams),
  • ICHEC Brussels Management School
  • Amsterdam Business School
  • University of Groningen (2 teams),
  • University of Leuven (KU Leuven)
  • Utrecht School of Economics
  • University of Liège
  • Universite de Bruxelles – Solvey Busines School
  • University of Luxembourg (2 teams)
  • Al Akhawayn University

Learn more about the CFA Institute Research Challenge.

Volunteers Wanted!

The CFA Institute Research Challenge owes its success to the invaluable input of volunteers who serve as committee members, mentors and report graders. Find out how you can contribute your time and skills to benefit the Research Challenge and help university students find their way in the investment industry. Download the job descriptions via  CFA Institute Research Challenge‚Äč or contact  Alex Morozov for more information.

Schedule for Research Challenge 2024-2025

Research Challenge Benelux:

  • 1st week of October 2024 (TBA); kick-off where students and mentors from interested universities are invited and the company to be researched is announced.
  • Two weeks after kick off (TBA); Deadline for participating universities to register their teams
  • Mid November 2024 (TBA); Company day; This event offers students the one opportunity to ask questions to the representative of the company investigated (Aalberts N.V.). They will receive tips and tricks and listen to a presentation on ESG, and the student teams will participate in an investment game.
  • Mid January 2025 (TBA): deadline for submitting research reports
  • Early February 2025 (TBA): announcement of 3 local finalists on the basis of the reports
  • End of February 2025 (TBA): Benelux Finals at Euronext, where the finalists will present their reports in front of a jury that will then put them to the test.

Sub-Regional dates:

  • Early March 2025: Local Champions Receive Sub-Regional Instructions/kick-off
  • Mid March 2025: Teams Submit Sub-Regional Presentations recordings
  • Early April 2025: Sub-Regional Announcements (The winning teams from each sub-regional competition advance to the regional competition)

Regional and Global Final Dates (for the 2023 / 2024 competition)

  • April 2025: EMEA Semifinals
  • April 2025: EMEA Final (format will be confirmed at a later date)
  • May 2025: Global Final 

The local events up to the Benelux Finals are organised and hosted by CFA Society Netherlands. The sub-regional, regional, and global competitions are hosted by CFA Institute.

Utrecht School of Economics wins CFA Institute Research Challenge 2024 Benelux finals!

This year’s Research Challenge was among our most successful competitions in history in terms of its reach. We started with 16 teams participating, including first-time participants Utrecht University and Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane (Morocco). Given the number of participants, we opted to expand the number of finalists to 4 teams, and given how tight the range of report grades was, we are happy we did!
Every year we try to challenge students when it comes to business complexity, and Aalberts was no exception, with several only somewhat-related businesses under one umbrella. Significant differences in these segments made the analysis challenging – understanding addressable markets, future competitive positioning, margin and cash flow generation – and test management team’s ambitious plans in the process – would be a tall task even for a seasoned equity analyst.
The reports quality was particularly good this year, and 4 finalists – Rotterdam School of Management (RSM), ICHEC-Louvain School of Management, Amsterdam Business School (ABS), and Utrecht School of Economics (USE) – were only separated by an unprecedented 1 point! While all report grades were remarkably close, the presentations revealed one clear and unanimous winner. Team Utrecht was complimented by the judges for its compelling investment case supported by well-articulated and organized evidence. What a debut for them in the Finals!

See here for the picture gallery.

Reports from previous winners

  • Report 2024 (Aalberts N.V.) - Utrecht School of Economics (University of Utrecht)
  • Report 2023 (PostNL - Winner HEC Liège
  • Report 2022 (Arcadis) - winner HEC Liège
  • Report 2021 (Alfen) - winner Maastricht University
  • Report 2020 (Barco) - winner HEC-ULiège
  • Report 2019 (Basic Fit) - winner HEC-ULiège
  • Report 2018 (Greenyard) - winner ICHEC Brussels 
  • Report 2017 (Nedap) - winner Erasmus University
  • Report 2016 (Biocartis) - winner Erasmus University
  • Report 2015 (Docdata) - winner HEC-ULiège
  • Report 2014 (Melexis) - winner Erasmus University
  • Report 2013 (Sligro) - winner Erasmus University
  • 2012 winner - Tilburg University
  • 2011 winner -  Solvay Business School
  • 2010 winner - Tilburg University
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