Insurance Times reader scoops the equities jackpot

It's been a year of more frightful plunges than soaring highs on the stock market and competitors in our fantasy share dealing competition have had a white-knuckle ride.

But a year after it was launched, we have a winning analyst and a winning reader who have both managed to beat the market and increase the value of their fantasy portfolio.

And just proving that you don't have to be a full-time investment analyst to make money on insurance stocks, the best overall performance came from Gill Wilson, who took her fantasy £1,000 and turned it into £1,230.46.

As the winning reader, she earns a magnum of champagne, as does winning analyst Michael Deeny of the Association of Lloyd's Members.

He managed to increase the value of his stake to £1,217.78.

Both our winners owe a large part of their success to Kiln, after buying the stock at a lowly 56.5p nearly 12 months ago and watching it rise to 90p when the portfolios were valued just before the Christmas break.

But the crucial factor affecting nearly everybody's portfolios has been the huge falls in share prices across the market this year.

Kiln has pulled off a remarkable feat in achieving its growth, helped by a particularly strong set of financial results, against a background of generally poor values.

On the negative side, many of our investors' fortunes were damaged by the continuing difficulties at Royal & SunAlliance (R&SA).

The stock was a popular choice in January when it was priced at 401p. The omens looked good for a year of strong growth.

A year later, after reserving problems and radical restructuring many feel that R&SA was underpriced at its pre-Christmas level of 130p, but it would be a brave investor indeed who expected it to quickly recover the price it was fetching a year ago.

For those readers who entered, and those who wish they had, there will be another chance to predict the market when we launch another competition in the New Year.

Good luck from the Insurance Times team.

Analysts competition

First placed analyst: Michael Deeny of the Association of Lloyd's Members bought Atrium, Kiln and AIG* stock.

His selections are now worth: Atrium £473.63, Kiln £557.10 and AIG £187.05

Grand total: He has turned £1,000 into £1,217.78

*AIG: While the shares can be traded in London and therefore qualify for the competition, it is very much a secondary listing for the insurance giant.

2nd placed analyst: James Quin of HSBC split his investment equally between CGNU, Kiln and Amlin.

His selections are now worth: Aviva £191.20, Kiln £529.20 and Amlin £368.16. Grand total: He turned £1,000 into £1,088.56

3rd placed analyst: Chris Rathbone, Williams de Broë split his investment between Royal & SunAlliance, Kiln and Brit.

His selections are now worth: R&SA £108.52, Kiln £530.1 and Brit £328.44

Grand total: He has turned his £1,000 into £967.06

4th placed analyst: David Wharrier of Fitch Ratings bought CGNU, Wellington and R&SA stock.

His selections are now worth: Aviva £229.44, Wellington £195.64, R&SA £98.06.
Grand total: He has turned £1,000 into £523.14

Readers' competition: top 10.

Winning reader (and overall first place): Gill Wilson of Leadenhall, put most of her money into Kiln, with smaller stakes in Amlin and Brit. Her portfolio is now worth a grand total of £1,230.46

2nd Tony Keilty of GAB Robins bought Bradstock, Kiln and Wellington. His portfolio is now worth £1,026.06

3rd
Dave Harrison of Hyder Business Services bought Ockham (now Highway), Cox and Kiln. His portfolio is now worth £1,003.28

4th Stephen Clarke of Marsh invested his entire £1,000 in Ockham (now Highway). His portfolio is now worth

5th
Catherine Roche of Cornhill bought Cox, Ockham (now Highway) and Kiln. Her portfolio is now worth £971.25

6th Peter Brisbourne of Trafalgar Insurance Brokers, Chelmsford, split his £1,000 equally between Bradstock, Jardine Lloyd Thompson and Hiscox. The portfolio is worth £932.94

7th Julian Barker of Cornhill bought £400 worth of Kiln, £400 worth of RSA and £200 worth of SVB. His portfolio is now worth £903.26

8th Karen Sinden of Leadenhall invested in Ockham and Kiln but with the lion's share in SVB. Her portfolio is now worth £886

9th Colin Bird of Wren Insurance Services, part of Brit, showed faith in his boss and invested his entire £1,000 in his parent company. His stake is now worth £872.85

10th R Forbes of Cornhill bought CGNU (now Aviva), Cox and Kiln. His portfolio is now worth £867.25

How it works

Readers entered the competition in January of this year, picking up to three stocks for a fantasy insurance portfolio worth up to £1,000.

The reader and the analyst whose portfolios are worth the most wins a magnum of Champagne.

The portfolio valuations shown here were calculated using the closing price on Tuesday 17 December, with data from FT.com.