Wednesday, March 21, 2012

We Have Our Winners!

It has been a fascination 9 weeks, and just like in our first run of the UCU Investment Challenge, UCU2 has had lots of drama, ups and downs, and portfolios moving in and out of the top three positions, making for plenty of action!

Although it ended up in more work on our side, we were pleased to see more portfolios taking advantage of the trade day, which occurred on February 17th. In total 18 portfolios made position switches, some wholescale while others just tweaking. One of the portfolio leaders at that time dumped their equity holdings and put everything into fixed income to lock in gains. Others, put more risk on, and in the immediate weeks following had realized substantial gains from those positions.

At the end of the day, roughly $8,500 separated the 5th place position from the 1st place position, or only 6.6% of the closing value of the 1st place portfolio. That is close!

And The Winner's Are .....

Where it was really very close, was between the 1st and 2nd place finishers, and the 3rd and 4th place finishers. Let's go down the list of the top 5 portfolios:

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

We're Heading Into the Final Week!

Well, Week Eight of the UCU Investment Challenge 2 has come to a close, and we are in the final week of our contest. In and around the winner's circle we are finding things getting a lot more tight than in the previous week, and jockeying for position before the final push is intense.

At the end of Week Eight we find our leader remains Matthew R., but the extended lead he had at the end of Week Seven has diminished somewhat, given his portfolio softened a bit over the week, while others gained by a slight amount. Following eight weeks Matthew R. is up about 48%, but second and third place are not far behind.

Speaking of 2nd place, Alexandra F. has the distinction of holding that honour at the end of Week Eight, as her portfolio gained a slight amount, and has now returned almost 28% since the start of the contest. Her portfolio gained some distance from the previous week's third place portfolio, which has been replaced by Volodymyr V., who himself is no stranger to the top of the leader board as his portfolio was the dominating force in the first half of this contest, leading up to the trade deadline. So far, his portfolio has returned 24.8% - a very respectable return for such a short contest.

Finally, we give honourable mention to George F., whose portfolio delivered a whopping 33% return on the week, a tremendous showing.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Ukrainian Foxtrot

We had the opportunity to attend a lecture "Ukrainian Foxtrot: A century of cakewalks, two-seps, ragtimes, shimmies, foxtrots, charlestons, and more..." This multimedia presentation by Wasyl Sydorenko, composer and musicologist, was an incredibly pleasant surprise. He wove a very interesting story with a multimedia presentation that even included two live dancers who performed selected dance pieces.

As he spun his story, Sydorenko treated the audience to glipses of rare photographs, music scores, recordings, movie clips, and live dance. It was a journey to discover an aspect of Ukrainian culture that has been forgotten "far too long," according to Sydorenko.

Sydorenko's presentation was the latest instalment in a series titled "Circle of Fifths". Last year he introduced his audience to Ukrainian Tango. It was an entirely enjoyable way to spend a Sunday afternoon at St. Vladimir's Institute downtown. We can't wait till the next lecture in this series is announced. A short synopsis of the lecture follows:

Wealth Strategies Group Office open for business

Anna Procio greets Zenon Chwaluk, the first
person through the door on Monday morning.
The new Ukrainian Credit Union Wealth Strategies Group office at 2265 Bloor Street West is now open for business. The new Wealth Strategies team moved in yesterday. Michael Zienchuk, Roman Mlynko and Kateryna Litvinjuk are settling in and starting to meet with their clients in a brand new suite of offices. Anna Procio of our Estate Administration department is also based out of this office. The building also houses the marketing department and will soon welcome other permanent residents.

There's still a lot of finish work to do, some loose wiring ends to tie off, so if you are coming by in the first week or so, please excuse our mess!

Our very first guest was Zenon Chwaluk who dropped by bright and early on Monday morning to wish us all the best in the building that has been so near and dear to him for the many years as a n employee of So-Use Credit Union.

Monday, March 5, 2012

When in the Lead, Run Faster!

Following our trade day we had a change of leadership in our UCU Investment Challenge 2 contest, but at the end of last week, our leader gained more ground and widened the distance from the second place spot.

Matthew R., who made some shrewd trades on our trade day which carried him into 1st spot, extended his lead as his portfolio gained 20% this past week. His portfolio is now up over 79% since the start of our contest, with two weeks remaining.

The 2nd and 3rd positions see a very tight contest between Alexandra F. (up 26.8% so far in the contest) and Yuri B. (up 26.2%). Both of these portfolios have a 4%+ advantage over 4th spot, currently held by Volodymyr V. (up 22%), who himself is marginally ahead of 5th place Adam M. (up 20.5%).

Outside of Matthew R., no portfolio generated double digit gains on the week, and most of the top 5 portfolios either lost some ground or remained flat since our February 28th position marks. Other notable gainers on this past week include Oleksiy S. (up 4.2% on the week), Bob P. (up 3.9%) and Matt S. (up 3.4%).

Curling in St. Catharines

Kateryna Litvinjuk and Yuriy Diakunchak
discuss strategy
On Friday UCU sent a team down to St. Catharines to take part in the Greater Niagara Region Chamber of Commerce's Bonspiel. Our team consisted of Svitlana Rudenko, who heads up our branch in St. Catharines, Michael Zienchuk and Kateryna Litvinjuk of the Wealth Strategies Group and myself Yuriy Diakunchak.

Though between the four of us we had been at a total of three previous curling outings, we ended up having a great time and even improving our meagre skills somewhat.

We played three teams, the Huevos Rotos, who represented Xerox, The Sparkies representing the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and the Verge Insurance team. The Sparkies went on to win the "Most Honest Curlers" award!

More photos are on our Facebook page in the Curling in St. Catharines album.