Greystone Equity Fund: Investing in Experience

It is easy to mistake the Investment Center for something that one might see on Wall Street. With a fully functional trading floor, a stock ticker, large screen televisions, and computerized financial news feeds, students have the opportunity to utilize technology just like traders on Wall Street. Also offered at this highly esteemed feature of the Hancock building are the Bloomberg terminals, computer systems that allow users to analyze real-time financial market data. This can be done through convoluted graphs on the screens that compare the historical stock prices of several companies. By doing this, students are managing an equity portfolio with real money.

Marist College Investment Center

This was made possible in spring 2011 when Marist welcomed the Greystone Equity Fund with seed capital of $100,000. Juniors and seniors from all majors are welcome to participate but must go through a screening process, which includes a minimum GPA, a letter of recommendation from a professor, and an interview. Once a student is selected, they are admitted to an elective investment management program.

The Greystone Equity Fund is student-managed, which means the students taking part in it are money managers that are responsible for identifying potential stocks for inclusion in the fund’s portfolio. Megan Callanan ’16, a double major in Finance and Economics, completed the class in fall 2015, where she utilized the Bloomberg terminals everyday. “I researched various companies across all sectors where there is information on the company’s financial statements, financial ratios, recent news, comparative analysis, and basically any other detail you could ever want to know about a company.” she said. “There is also extensive information specific to different industries, economies, and worldwide news delivered in real-time. You can even set up alerts to receive briefs or breaking news on anything you are specifically interested in.”

Students like Callanan dedicate hours each day to researching and analyzing their stocks. As part of the Greystone course, each student writes an analysis report during the semester and presents their recommendation in front of their peers, who then vote on whether or not it is accepted. While the professor oversees the fund, it is the students that are responsible for making all of the decisions.

Professor Brian Haughey, who teaches the main student-funded classes, believes the goal of the program is to prepare students for success in their careers. “Many of our students have graduated and, despite the bleak economy, have found jobs in investment firms, banks, and hedge funds,” he said. “They credit their success in their jobs in large part to their participation in the Greystone Equity Fund.”

Callanan believes that she is very prepared for what lies ahead because of her work in the Investment Center. “Having knowledge and experience on the Bloomberg terminals has been a major differentiator for me while interviewing for internships and jobs,” she said. “This past summer, I interned at JP Morgan and was actually able to teach fellow interns and colleagues some tricks on the Bloomberg terminal! For many finance-related roles, the use of the Bloomberg terminals is a given so having the opportunity to learn and use the terminals both inside and outside of the classroom has proven beneficial.”

While business majors do have priority when it comes to using the Investment Center, specifically the Bloomberg terminals, the resources are open to students of all majors, ranging from communications to fashion. “There are other majors who might benefit from these facilities, such as pre-law or communications,” Haughey explained.

Professor John Finnigan’s Investment Analysis class also makes extensive use of the terminals. Finnigan had several reasons as to why he has his students use them. “In order to make good decisions while making investments, you need to do research on the company you are planning to invest in,” he said. “Therefore, you must analyze the financial records of the company which would include financial statements, ratios, company news, and other factors. The Bloomberg machines provide the students that information at their fingertips. We also utilize the machines for Bloomberg Market Concepts, the Bloomberg Aptitude Test, and other research.”

It is because of these unique features that many students interested in business choose Marist. “I remember being specifically impressed with the Investment Center when I first toured Marist even though I didn’t actually know what the Bloomberg Terminals did,” Callanan said. “It is a unique opportunity to pair a liberal arts education with an in-depth exposure to finance that the Center provides…The terminals are also a great networking tool through its extensive contacts listed as well as various tests that you can take which could recruit top performing students to internships and full-time placements.”

Written by Adriana Belmonte ’17

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