SAN ANTONIO – The UIW Student Managed Fund entered its second year of investing in the fall of 2017.
The first group of student fund managers began planning the initial investments during the fall 2016 semester. The first purchases were made at the start of 2017 based on the work of the students.
Since its initial investments of $125,000 from the university’s endowment, the Student Managed Fund is now valued at more than $140,000.
The second class of student fund managers took over the investment planning at the start of the fall 2017 semester. The students (pictured below L-R) are senior finance majors Neal Fiorino, Apisit Uawongkul, Guillermo Rodriguez, Francisco Diaz and Khurelbaatar Purev.
The H-E-B School of Business and Administration checked in with faculty advisor Dr. Jose Moreno about the performance of the fund and the challenges the second group of student managers might face. The conversation is below.
HEBSBA: How would you grade the first year of the Student Managed Fund?
Dr. Moreno: “In my opinion, the first year of our Student Managed Fund has been a complete success, not only because the return earned in the portfolio, but mostly because the experience gained by our students (in that first cohort) is invaluable. Students (now all alumni) developed skills of leadership and teamwork that will help them in their careers.
“One limitation that we face in the Fund is the continuity of leadership in the Manager's team. The problem is mainly that the students participating as managers in the Fund are close to graduation. For that reason, one of the projects this semester for the new cohort is to look for options to develop a better continuity of the Fund's leadership, such as recruiting students in early stages of their program and keep them engaged in investment learning activities.”
HEBSBA: What are your expectations going into the second year of the fund? How do you think the new group of student managers will compare to the first?
Dr. Moreno: “My expectations are the same as the first time, which is that student managers learn as much as they can about how to make investment decisions in a real environment. This new cohort of student managers is really engaged because they understand the importance of this project for the school, and also for their career development. The only thing that is different is that this group is building on a good foundation that the previous group already created.”
HEBSBA: What challenges might this new group face that the first group did not?
Dr. Moreno: “The big challenge for this new team is to keep the good work that the previous group did, and to look for ways to connect and transfer knowledge to the next managers while they are still on campus.
“Student managers are already working on developing an Investment Club that allows gathering students interested in learning about investments, and maybe use that club to recruit managers for the Fund in the future."
HEBSBA: What does the SMF timeline look like for the fall 2017?
Dr. Moreno: “This semester, student managers will be meeting with the Fund Advisory Board at least four times (almost once per month). The agenda of these meeting is basically to keep the Board informed about the performance of the current investments and give recommendations to improve the risk/return tradeoff of our Fund.”
HEBSBA: Is there anything else we should know about the fund?
Dr. Moreno: “I think that is always important to recognize all the people that support this project, beginning with the Dean of our school, Finance faculty and our administrators. But mainly, our students. Without the students' commitment and hard work, this project wouldn't be possible.
“Finally, I want to invite all UIW students interested to learn about investments to contact us. I am sure they will find this area of Finance very exciting and full of opportunities to learn.”