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Seeking the next Warren Buffett

Lehigh University students will have the chance to show they have the investment savvy of a Warren Buffett when they participate in the “Clear Next Generation ETF Contest.” Launched last week, the contest is in its first year and is only open to students from Lehigh, New York University and Columbia University.

Exchange Traded Funds (ETF) are similar to mutual funds, with a few exceptions: they are listed on an exchange and can be traded throughout the day in the same manner as single stocks. They are perceived to be a more flexible option than traditional stock investing.

The contest is being sponsored by Clear Indexes, LLC. and will close on November 26. The winner of the unusual contest will receive $4,000 and a paid internship that includes transforming the winning ETF entry into a real financial product that will be launched by Clear Indexes in the spring of 2008.

It should come as no surprise, then, that Clear Indexes is seeking the most creative, original and marketable ETF ideas from students. They’re even promoting the contest on Facebook, where they’ll formally announce the winner later this semester.

The contest is being run with the participation of professors, student activity offices and career development offices at the three universities.

“The Clear ETF contest is the only one we’re aware of that lets students create an ETF concept for a real financial product,” said Andrew Corn, CEO of Clear Indexes, in a press release. “It‘s the kind of hands-on experience you can never get sitting in a classroom.”

It’s the type of opportunity that Rick Kish, chair of the Perella Department of Finance, has long supported. “Clear Indexes' contest offers a great opportunity for our students to utilize the financial and marketing concepts learned in the classroom and fire up their creative juices by designing an ETF that is original and adds value in the marketplace,” says Kish.

Participating students may submit up to five ETF ideas. Judges will examine each idea for uniqueness, differentiation, scalability and ease of explanation to investors.

In addition to the grand prize, two second prize winners will each receive $1,000, and 10 honorable mentions will also be given.

Further information, along with entry details and contact information, can be found on Facebook and by clicking here.

--Tom Yencho

Posted on Tuesday, October 16, 2007

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