Mount Union Investment Team Wins Stock Portfolio Competition

April 23, 2010

A group of young investors – Mount Union’s Investment Team – have been continuously competing throughout the school year against students from Duquesne University, Hiram College and Ohio Wesleyan University. Students at each institution actively manage various stock portfolios, in hopes of garnering the highest return.

The returns and equity picks of each school are compared and the school with the highest percentage of return is awarded the “OAK Investment Team Competition Award of Excellence,” a traveling trophy won this year by Mount Union. Mount Union’s investment team acquired a 47 percent return. In comparison, the historical prices for January 1, 2009 through December 31, 2009 had a 15.42 percent on the DJIA, a 39 percent on the NASDAQ and 19 percent on S&P 500.

“This is an extracurricular activity that the students take very seriously,” said Dr. Patricia Matthews, advisor to the Investment Team, dean of the division of professional studies and professor of economics, accounting and business administration at Mount Union. “I’m extremely pleased on how the stocks performed, especially during this turbulent economy.”

   

Following Mount Union, Hiram College garnered a 23 percent return; Duquesne acquired a 16 percent return and Ohio Wesleyan University had a return of nine percent.

The opportunity for college students at Mount Union to manage real money is beneficial and practical, as it provides a valuable learning experience. Students not only learn the skills necessary to invest money, but they also learn what it is like to work in a fast-paced business environment.

Ryan Sigler, senior business administration and economics major and president of the Investment Team from Canton, OH, has been a team member for two years. He indicated that most stock decisions are discussed with Matthews, but the students on the Investment Team get to make all final decisions. Sigler also noted that the stock market is continuously changing, so sometimes text messaging is the best option when making split second choices.

Mount Union students began the school year actively managing $220,000, and are currently managing $280,000 throughout four different stock portfolios. The team’s competitive portfolio (small to mid-cap companies), which makes up approximately one third of the funds managed by the students,  is the portfolio that achieved a 47 percent return on investment for 2010.  The overall return on student-managed funds was approximately 27 percent for 2010.

Sigler explained one of the portfolios is a mutual fund and another portfolio is designated specifically for emerging markets. Other large portfolios include well-known blue chip companies such as Proctor and Gamble (Index: PG), as well as small to mid-cap companies such as First Solar (Index: FSLR).

“Some of the major things that we look for in a company are growth potential, sustained profits and high dividends,” said Sigler.

The investment team meets every Monday during the school year to discuss their portfolios and maintains constant contact through e-mail, phone calls and text messaging.

“It has definitely built a type of camaraderie between us,” added Sigler.

Originally, Oak Associates, an investment management firm in Akron, sponsored the competition, and at its inception nearly 30 schools were participating.  In 2007, Mount Union took over the sponsorship to ensure that this valuable program would continue because of the many benefits that it provides students.

In addition to Sigler, the members of the team included senior business administration majors Richard Brownfield from Canton, OH and Matt Decker from Russell, PA, as well as Greg Kemmerline, a junior business administration major and Todd Pence, a junior accounting and business administration major, both from Stow, OH. Pence will serve as the president of the Investment Team next year.

 
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