Mukund Soni (starting Year 12) took first prize in the national Young Financial Journalist Competition with his impressive analysis of the decline of cash.
His carefully researched essay beat hundreds of other entries to take the top place in the 14-15 age group, drawing fulsome plaudits from the judges.
Mukund won £150 for himself as well as ten free places for QE pupils on the London Institute of Banking & Finance’s Lessons in Financial Education programme. The competition was run by the LIBF in collaboration with the Financial Times.
In his appraisal, FT columnist and TV mathematics expert Bobby Seagull wrote: “Excellent article! With a clear, nuanced view about how society might transition to cashless and a judicious use of data to back up key points! Sometimes, younger writers try to convince readers through an over reliance on stats, but this didn’t do that.”
His fellow judge, Claer Barrett, an award-winning journalist who has been the Editor of FT Money since 2015 and Consumer Editor at the FT, was equally impressed: “A fantastically well-researched piece on the decline of cash, which drew on international examples – and some from ancient history – to hammer the main points home.
“Highlighting the increased costs that small businesses face from using card payment and contactless machines instead of cash was particularly insightful. As well as what happens with digital payments if your phone runs out of battery!”
An abridged version of Mukund’s 830-word essay was published in the FT and he appeared in a LIBF podcast with his Economics teacher, Gus Ornelas.
Mukund, who this month was awarded a level 9 grade in his Economics GCSE, as well as eight other grade 9s and one grade 8, explained how he had benefited from taking part in the competition: “It was interesting to look at the topic in more detail, and I gained a much greater understanding of the benefits of a cashless society. I also think some of my other skills – like researching, finding good sources, referencing them and writing an extended piece – they increased quite a lot!”
Congratulating him, Dr Ornelas said: “This was a skilfully executed piece of writing in which Mukund not only investigated the reasons for the decreasing use of cash, but also highlighted the considerable problems that a cashless society presents.”