The Greystone Funds
Students at Marist can, upon approval by Faculty, become student fund managers in the Greystone Equity Fund and the Greystone Fixed Income Fund.
The Greystone Equity Fund
In the spring of 2011 Marist College launched the Greystone Equity Fund with seed capital of $100,000. Participation in this student-managed investment fund is open to Juniors and Seniors, in all disciplines, who meet a minimum GPA requirement and who can provide a letter of recommendation from one of their professors. Candidates go through a screening process, including an interview, and those who are successful are admitted to the BUS 489, the elective investment management program focusing on equities.
This program, recently featured on the YNN cable channel, is designed to bridge the gap between the academic and the practical. As Samuel Johnson is reported to have said, “Depend upon it, sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully.” Similarly, managing a portfolio of real money gives students that feeling in the pit of their stomach that a paper portfolio cannot. They are motivated to thoroughly analyze the companies they are researching, as well as to study the industries in which those companies operate and the workings of the broad economy. They learn what drives stock prices and interest rates, and feel that anguish when the market moves “the wrong way”.
Since the Greystone Equity Fund is a student-managed fund, students taking part in the program are actually money managers, responsible for identifying potential stocks for inclusion in the fund’s portfolio. They spend several hours every day researching their stock picks, and performing fundamental analysis as practiced by Warren Buffett and other value investors. Over the course of the semester each student writes a detailed analyst report and makes a presentation to the class to pitch their recommendation. The entire class votes in a secret ballot on each recommendation and, if a proposal is accepted, the investment is made. The role of the professor is to oversee the fund; all decisions are made by the students.
The ultimate objective of the program, of course, is to prepare students for success in their interviews and their careers. To aid in that process we invite guest speakers to come to the Investment Center to speak to the class about what they do. These guest lecturers, practitioners from leading Wall Street and asset management firms including JP Morgan, UBS and American Express, speak on topics such as equity analysis, investment banking, derivatives and commodities. Students gain an understanding of these different functional areas, each rapidly evolving, that is practically impossible to obtain from books, while also having the opportunity to network and make personal contacts that can aid them in their job search.
The Greystone Fixed Income Fund
A second fund, The Greystone Fixed Income Fund, to be managed by students taking BUS 490, will be launched in the Spring 2013 semester. Students in this program study instruments such as US Treasury bonds, corporates, asset-backed securities, convertible bonds, futures and swaps, as well as interest rates, bond pricing, and fixed income portfolio risk management.