The contribution builds on the student-managed investment fund’s first transfer of $250 to the annual fund on last year’s #Giving2UCDay. Thanks to $29,500 in donations and about $3,500 in student-managed investment returns, the fund has grown in value from $35,000 in November 2018 to about $68,000 today.
The fund was started three years ago by members of the college’s student investment club with an initial $5,000 gift from the late Rev. Dr. Harold C. Smith ’55. It is now the focus of a one-credit course open to students of all majors, from first-year students to seniors.
The growth of the fund enables UCIMCO to increase its drawdown of funds to support the college and its own operations. After receiving operating support in its early phases from the Ursinus Department of Business and Economics, the Marcon Fund and donors, UCIMCO has also begun this year to cover the some of the costs of its research, field trips and semi-annual presentation dinners.
“As our fund continues to illustrate strong potential to donors and alumni, we have increased our fund’s position and it has allowed us to stretch our group’s capabilities. Donating a portion of our portfolio to the school allows UCIMCO to take a small step in reaching our overarching goal of maintaining the inter-generational wealth of Ursinus,” said Parker Wolf ’20, an applied economics major who helped get the fund off the ground during his first year at Ursinus. He serves as UCIMCO’s chief investment officer.
The fund manages two portfolios. One fund, managed by more experienced students, seeks stable returns through a diversified portfolio of stocks, bonds and real estate investment trusts (REITs) from around the world. A second fund provides training to beginners through the selection of three to five common stocks per semester. Students also create a newsletter, prospectus and website; make presentations about their work; and take a field trip each semester.
The fund is part of a set of offerings for students at Ursinus who want a liberal arts education while gaining valuable background for careers in finance. These offerings include the opportunity to concentrate in finance and accounting within the applied economics major, a minor in finance and accounting, and the Finance Scholars program. Finance Scholars can engage in additional study that helps them prepare for a variety of paths in the financial world, including the first round of the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) exam. UCIMCO co-founder Johnathan Myers ’19 passed the first round of the CFA exam on his first try shortly after graduation this past summer.
The fund has benefited from the support of a wide swath of the Ursinus community, including the board of trustees, the college’s business office, the Business and Economics Department, alumni, parents and the college’s investment advisor, HirtleCallaghan & Co.
“The Finance Scholars program has given me exposure to technical skills that will help me excel in a professional environment. UCIMCO has exposed me to skills in portfolio management and investment philosophies. The combination of both offerings is unique to Ursinus, and I have hopes that the growth and structure escalates in the future to create an even more holistic finance program at Ursinus,” Wolf said.