Introducing: Student-Managed Invest Fund

Five years ago, a CoB student wondered out loud why Valparaiso didn’t have a student-managed investment fund. With his and other current and former students’ help, it appears to be on its way to becoming reality.

Teams of students currently are researching investments and soon will make presentations to a board made up of graduates working in the field and professionals in the community. The winning proposal will have $100,000 to invest thanks to the University’s Board of Directors.

“Other universities have student-managed funds in place,” says finance professor Phillip Humphrey, who also advises Valpo’s chapter of the Financial Management Association. “We’re getting close to creating our own.”

Graduate Ken Perkins, who now works as an equity analyst at Morningstar Investment Services in greater Chicago, proposed a student-run fund while studying at Valpo. Paul Yox, currently an analyst at Rocaton Investment Advisors in New York, helped shepherd the idea after Ken graduated.

Both, Professor Humphrey said, have offered advice to subsequent classes of students after earning their degrees and look forward to continuing to give back once the fund is up and running.

A series of seminars for current students led by professionals working in the field also has been proposed.

While the fund nears creation, Professor Humphrey says he’s been impressed by the quality and diligence of the next crop of analysts.

“They’ve been doing great work,” he says. “There’s a lot of careful attention to risk management and we’ve had a great response to it.”

More than 20 students signed on to begin research and assessment of potential investments and Humphrey and others are working to create a board of directors that will have final say on the winning proposal.

Student Kyle Crawford is the fund’s portfolio manager.

Humphrey’s eventual hope is that the fund’s returns enable a endowed scholarship. He also hopes the fund takes on a hierarchy that allows incoming first-year students to begin as junior analysts, then grow to become analysts, lead their own teams, and eventually vie to manage the portfolio.

“It’s great experience,” he says. “Students will graduate with real experience in research and investing. It’s a competitive field and we think the students will have a great advantage from this.”