Class gets firsthand lesson in investing

A student-run financial fund began with a $600,000 donation, one professor and five students, and is now worth $1.5 million.The Educational Investment Fund is a class offered in the School of Business, which offers selected students the opportunity to administer and manage an equity portfolio for the William C. Conner Foundation.

Stanley Block, professor of finance, said around 18 students manage a portfolio for this private foundation and then provide returns to TCU and the Baylor School of Medicine, the foundation’s two beneficiaries.

“TCU had the first student-managed financial fund in the country when it began in 1973,” said Block, one of the founding members of the fund.

Dan Short, dean of the business school, said money from the $1.5 million fund is primarily invested in the stock market and said 6 percent is paid out each year to the Baylor College of Medicine and TCU.

This student-managed fund, which earns students six hours of credit, is a class that lasts two semesters, Block said.

To participate in this class, students must go through a selective process, including an interview.

Block said, the average GPA of students in the class is 3.79.

Half of the students participating in the class are MBA’s and the other half are undergraduate finance and accounting majors.

This year, students in charge of the fund were the winners of the Large Cap Gross Stocks at the yearly conference held in Dayton, Ohio March 28 through April 1, said Stefan Wolf, chief administrator for the fund.

“We have to send in all of our buys, cumulative returns and bank statements to be audited by one of the top four consulting firms in the nation,” Wolf said. “I think the fact that we doubled the stock market return was the determining factor in our win.”

Last year’s winner in that category was Purdue University.

“This was the first completely student-run financial portfolio in the country, and now there are around 190 student-managed funds in many universities, many of which have modeled themselves after TCU’s original,” Block said.