Student-Managed Stock Fund Achieves Most Successful Return Ever

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In the seven years since the Student Managed Investment Fund began investing $1 million of Fordham University’s endowment, the fund has grown to $1,470,000.

But the fund’s return has never been as large as it was this spring. Students produced a 5.44 percent return for the semester, outperforming their benchmark of 4.64 percent by 80 basis points.

How did the group surpass its record? “Excellent stock picking through comprehensive security analysis,” said James Kelly, senior lecturer in finance and SMIF instructor.

Two other factors contributing to the accomplishment were the leadership of the fund’s chief investment officer, Dan Gerard, GABELLI ’17, and the analysts and portfolio managers’ teamwork.

Many of the program’s Class of 2017 members will apply their experience to the real world, as they have all landed jobs with leading investment banks, including J.P. Morgan, Barclays, and Bank of America Merrill Lynch, and with consulting firms such as EY. Another recent graduate, Shuai Shao, GABELLI ’17, has been admitted into a master’s program at the London School of Economics, where he will study investment management.

As part of the Fordham University Jubilee celebration on June 3, a group of six students gave a presentation on how they managed the fund. Clarissa Cartledge, rising senior, said that part of the students’ success rested on the choice of a pharmaceutical company, Acorn, that had a merger and rose 52 percent.

“That was a really nice investment,” she said, adding that the course was also invaluable for its real-world aspect, said Cartledge.

“Because it’s real money you feel it is a real job, even though it’s a four-credit class. Everyone is motivated to improve the fund’s performance. We watch the news, we follow the companies and challenge each other to make correct decisions.

“We’re grateful for the opportunity to invest the endowment, and to have the confidence of Fordham behind us as well as the learning experience they are giving us.”

Chelsee Pengal

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