ETSU students deliver strong performances in regional investment competitions

Contributed To The Press • Updated Apr 23, 2018 at 6:49 PM

Three teams of East Tennessee State University business students performed strongly in the Tennessee Valley Authority Investment Challenge Program and the CFA Institute Research Challenge.

The ICP is a partnership between the TVA and 25 universities in the federally owned utility’s seven-state service area. Student teams gain hands-on financial asset management experience by actively managing stock portfolios for the TVA under the guidance of faculty members and within investment guidelines established and monitored by the TVA.

ETSU students Jason Marcum, Rosie Nguyen and Joseph Sadowski recently presented their portfolio philosophy at a TVA conference in Nashville. The ETSU team, which manages more than $500,000, is the only team to outperform the S&P 500 for three consecutive years and is one of only four schools to outperform over the last three-, five-, and 10-year periods.

ETSU received the Investment Challenge Performance Award for being one of 19 teams to produce returns above that of the S&P 500’s 21.83 percent. Their performance of 26.81 percent was the seventh highest total return.

Additional members of the ETSU ICP team are Darin Patterson, Logan Tweed and Robert White.

“The ETSU students who manage this portfolio have outperformed the S&P 500 in 10 of the last 13 years. This is a remarkable feat considering that 70 to 80 percent of active fund managers underperform the S&P 500 each year,” said Dr. William Trainor, a professor of finance in ETSU’s Department of Economics and Finance and advisor to ETSU’s ICP team.

Two teams of ETSU students competed in the CFA Institute Research Challenge, sponsored by a global nonprofit organization of investment professionals. The competition provides university students with hands-on mentoring and intensive training in financial analysis. Local CFA societies hold regional competitions and winners move on to compete at the national and global levels.

Under the direction of Trainor, ETSU’s equity valuation team had the top written report in the Nashville Region, but narrowly lost overall to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Equity valuation team members are Liu Bin, Arshene Baigvand, Yujie Liu, Zhitong Yu and Dylan Yates.

ETSU’s investment team also placed in the top five of the Nashville region and includes members Caleb Bell, William Schuettler, Jesse Bedard, Jason Marcum and Matthew May.

“The CFA competition gives students the opportunity to not only learn what is involved in valuing a stock, but what it is like to present a stock in front of investment professionals,” Trainor said. “A former student recently e-mailed me and told me the CFA Challenge completely altered the trajectory of his career. He is now the senior financial analyst of a major company. I can’t think of a better testimonial than that.”

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