UNORTHODOX investors have a new poster girl in Wendy Cheung Po-yee, whose go-it-alone choices in a recent investing contest earned her an annual return of nearly 15 per cent. The 26-year-old bank employee's winning portfolio was imaginary, but the US$5,000 mutual-fund credit awarded by Fidelity Investments Management is not. Ms Cheung vows to maintain her against-the-grain philosophy while investing the prize money. 'I wanted my choices to pop out from the crowd,' she said. 'I knew if I picked Asia funds, I would face a lot of competition [from other contestants]. So I decided to do something different.' Ms Cheung's choice proved prophetic because Asian stock markets slumped badly during the three-month period of the contest. She beat the crowd by putting half of her US$100,000 nest egg into Fidelity's Nordic Fund, which invests in the stock markets of Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. This fund put her well ahead of the pack, swelling by US$3,278 from June to August. The rest of her money was evenly split between Fidelity's European Smaller Companies Fund and its United States Dollar Bond Fund. The small-cap fund ended up adding US$465.66 to her bottom line. Her bond fund proved the one stinker in the bunch - though not a seriously damaging one - losing US$27.33. All in all, the portfolio earned 3.72 per cent in the three months, which translates into an impressive annual return of 14.88 per cent. Ms Cheung, who works as a customer service representative at First Pacific Bank, said she made her investment decisions by studying marketing materials provided to the bank, regularly reading the financial pages of various newspapers and consulting with her work colleagues each day over lunch. Perhaps it was these lunchtime discussions that prompted her to take an adventurous approach. About 600 people took part in the Portfolio Challenge contest. Of these, about half were employees of banks that distribute Fidelity funds and the others were investors and surfers on the Internet, where contest details appeared on the local Fidelity office's World Wide Web page. The Nordic Fund will again figure prominently when Ms Cheung sits down to invest her winnings. As before, half of her portfolio will go into the Scandinavian fund. This time, however, she will skip the European Smaller Companies Fund and instead put the remainder into the US Dollar Bond Fund, even though it disappointed last time.