Joseph Lau Wins Second Consecutive ModelOff World Championship

In a repeat of last year, Joseph Lau from the Commonwealth Bank of Australia has won the 2016 Financial Modelling World Championship, followed closely by Diarmud Early from Deutsche Bank in second place and Peter Suen from StepStone in third. This year’s London Finals brought together 19 of the best financial modelers from around the world who had battled their way through to the final from a field of thousands in the earlier online qualification rounds. Victory once again ensures Lau retains the iconic Golden Keyboard and picks up another £10,000 in prize money in 2016.

Diarmud Early (2nd Place), Joseph Lau (2016 World Champion) and Peter Suen (3rd Place)
Diarmud Early (2nd Place), Joseph Lau (2016 World Champion) and Peter Suen (3rd Place).

This was Lau’s third finals appearance and his second consecutive title, making him the first repeat champion in ModelOff’s history. The win did not come easily though with the likes of Diarmud Early pushing Lau throughout the 5 hours of rigorous testing. However, it was Lau’s experience and calmness under pressure that finally prevailed as he scored the equal highest marks in the last 2-hour challenge and edged out Diarmud by just 3% on the final scorecard.

A lot was said last year about Lau winning the title at the age of 43 and it had even earned him the nick-name of ‘The Fine Wine’ because he just keeps getting better with age. As it turns out 44 years old (2016) is also a good vintage for ‘The Fine Wine’ Lau and he is showing no signs of slowing down with his eyes now firmly set on the 2017 World Championships.


Overall, the finalists agreed that this year’s testing was some of the most challenging that the ModelOff competition has produced. It was also the first time that time zone changes had been considered for the online qualifying rounds in attempt to even out the field and challenge the competitors. The Question Design Team of Dan Mayoh, Alex Gordon and Hilary Smart also looked to push the finalists by pressuring them with tight time deadlines during the finals to make them work both hard, and fast. However, despite these new challenges, the ‘champ’ prevailed and created history by winning back-to-back Financial Modelling World Championships.

A big thank you to everyone who supported the competition this year. Especially Intralinks, S&P Global, PwC and the whole product team at Microsoft Excel.


The ModelOff Golden Keyboard

Golden KeyboardDecember 7, 2014 was an exciting and emotional day at the Microsoft office in New York City, as ModelOff’s 16 Finalists competed with the hope to follow the footsteps of previous champions Hilary Smart and Alex Gordon. Matt Porzio, from Intralinks, had the honor of presenting 2014 winner Diarmuid Early with a custom deal toy provided by Altrum Honors.

The idea for a Golden Keyboard to be used as a first prize had come up earlier in the year during a creative discussion with the team at Intralinks. Upon hearing the idea, Altrum leaped at the challenge of creating such a fun but prestigious award.

The end result was a deal toy / trophy that featured a Lucite cube that displays the details of the event, upon which a symbolic golden keyboard is mounted. Altrum’s expertise in custom deal gifts and awards enabled the creation of a unique piece, which perfectly captured what ModelOff is all about. Keeping true to the financial modeling culture, Altrum made sure the keyboard did not have an F1 key! Analysts often need the escape and F2 keys to navigate through spreadsheets, and hitting F1 results in a help menu popping up, causing delays in their work. For this is the reason, many top analysts permanently remove the key from their keyboards.


The award ceremony was captured on video, and shows the passion of the participants, and their pride in taking part in such a widely recognized contest. Being crowned ModelOff Champion is a great honor, and our good friends at Altrum were able to commemorate this moment of victory with such a symbolic award. We look forward to seeing what the 2015 ModelOff First Prize award will be.


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