WCBA Student Investment Fund places 2nd in investment competition

WCBA Student Investment Fund team members who placed second for the second consecutive year in the Undergraduate Growth Portfolio Competition. Back Row (L-R): Brandon Clapper, Tommy Murphy, Nicholas Woloschak, Jeffrey Senediak Sitting Front Row (L-R): Sunny (Hein Do), Michael Copanic, Joshua Phillips

The Student Investment Fund in the Williamson College of Business Administration at YSU placed second for the second consecutive year in the Undergraduate Growth Portfolio Competition sponsored by the Global Asset Management Education Forum hosted by Quinnipiac University of Hamden, Connecticut in March of 2021.

The Student Investment Fund’s portfolio is benchmarked against the S&P 500 Index and has outperformed the index ten out of the last eleven years. In 2020, the Student Investment Fund’s portfolio yielded a total return of 30.49% compared to the S&P 500 which grew 18.40%. This impressive 12.09% variance is the largest amount the portfolio has outperformed the S&P 500 since the club’s inception in 2008.

Jeffrey Senediak, president of the Student Investment Fund, notes that the “mentality of being a partial owner in the underlying business is a major reason why we continue to outperform the S&P 500.” All investment decisions are made by the students in the club, and Tommy Murphy, vice president, mentions that “each member brings to the table a unique perspective and fresh ideas about what companies the fund should add to or eliminate from the portfolio.”

The Student Investment Fund applies a disciplined value investing strategy for stock selection. As prescribed by the club’s investment philosophy, the students seek to buy and hold businesses that are dominant players in a growing industry with irreplicable competitive advantages, brilliant managers and impeccable financials.

“I am extremely proud of what our students have achieved," said Huaiyu Peter Chen, associate professor of Finance and faculty advisor. "Watching them learn how to make sound investment decisions in the stock market is the happiest moment of my teaching career at YSU. I hope their learning experiences with the SIF will unleash their potential and lead them to successful careers in the investment field."

The annual Quinnipiac G.A.M.E. Forum Portfolio Competition presents awards for graduate and undergraduate portfolios. The undergraduate awards are based on a fund’s investment style methodology, categorized as either Growth, Value, or Core. The rankings of the funds are based on a fund’s previous year performance. Over 40 schools from around the world participated in the Undergraduate Growth Portfolio Competition this year.

“The YSU Foundation is extremely proud of the student members of the SIF. Their long-term approach and focus on fundamentals has served them well,” said Tom Cavalier, managing director of investments at Stifel Financial Corporation and chair of YSU Foundation's Investment Committee. “It is difficult to accomplish what they have over the years. Most professional investment managers are hard pressed to consistently outperform the S&P 500, yet the SIF has done just that. Another feather in the cap of YSU!”

The officers of the investment club receive scholarships from the YSU Foundation in recognition of their SIF leadership. The dividends earned from investments help fund those leadership scholarships and member attendance at the annual G.A.M.E. Forum in New York City. This year the forum was held virtually, and the club sent 10 members to represent YSU and WCBA.

The YSU Student Investment Fund started in 2008 with $250,000 provided by the YSU Foundation’s endowment fund. From 2008-2013, the fund received an additional $50,000 each year from the YSU Foundation to invest. The students meet regularly to research and invest in specific stocks, learn from investment professionals, and track their investments. The portfolio has grown significantly over the years. As of April 21, 2021, the group was managing a portfolio worth $2.4 million.

SIF officers and their future employers include May 2021 graduates Jeffrey Senediak, president, who will join PNC Financial Services and Tommy Murphy, vice president, who will join Northwestern Mutual and Emily Phillips, secretary, and Angie Gopalakrishnan, treasurer, who will be continuing as officers of the club next year.