UNT Students Bring Home Gold from Regional CFA-Sponsored Competition

The UNT Student Investment Group (SIG) won the Portfolio Managers’ Competition at the annual Texas Investment Portfolio Symposium (TIPS) at SMU Saturday, February 15, 2014. Competing against finalist teams from five other universities, UNT’s team included Kai Liu (Master of Science in Finance), Harold Olaya (Master of Science in Finance), Rovshan Sultanov (MBA in Finance) and Oliver Day (BBA in Finance).

The UNT Investment Research Challenge Team was one of eight finalists in the CFA® Institute Research Challenge for the Southwestern United States, also held at TIPS. Members of this team were Keith Henderson (Master of Science in Finance), Wariner Stahl (BBA in Finance), Carlos Giraldo (BBA in Finance), Nasheen Quamar (Master of Science in Finance) and Ricky Simon (Master of Science in Finance). All UNT students on both teams are members of the SIG.

In its eleventh year, the Texas Investment Portfolio Symposium (TIPS) is held annually at a university campus and is a forum for students in Texas and surrounding states to learn more about investment management. This year, 38 universities from Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana participated along with 6 Central American universities. Student teams are invited to participate in two competitive events, judged by distinguished panels of practicing investment professionals.

Portfolio Managers Competition

The Portfolio Managers Competition is designed to replicate a presentation that investment firms make when competing for an institutional account. The competition consists of ten-minute presentations by the student teams representing each of the finalist schools, followed by a question-and-answer period. Presentations consist of an introduction of team members, a description of the team’s investment philosophy, decision-making process, investment style, and a review of the long-term investment results. The goal of the presentation is to convince the judges that they should hire the team to manage the hypothetical account. The UNT SIG Team worked for over a month preparing its proposal. The judges select a winner based on their perceptions of which team has the strongest fiduciary management system, rather than on historical performance.

CFA® Institute Research Challenge

In the CFA® Research Challenge, teams write an investment research report on a local company. An international level competition, the Research Challenge begins with competition between teams from selected universities within a region. Finalists are selected based on a written investment research report and analysis. Each of the team members in the competition is required to complete training in ethics and to prepare extensive investment analysis. The team had access to the latest financial information on the company and the markets through Bloomberg Market Data. The competition began in November when the identity of the target company, SolarWinds, Incorporated (SWI), was revealed. The UNT team spent hundreds of hours analyzing the firm and the markets in which it competes. The team was complimented by the judges for their excellent work, and finished just behind winner Rice University and runner-up Nicholls State.

“The team showed a combination of rigorous quantitative financial analysis skills and understanding of the industry,” said Dr. Ian Liu. “The team’s final report was very high quality and was comparable to some professional sell-side analysts’ reports.”

Finance faculty members Ian Liu, Lisa McDaniel, Mazhar Siddiqi, Niranjan Tripathy, and Marilyn Wiley, all CFA® charter holders, coached both teams in preparation for the competition. Dr. Rusty MacDonald is the faculty advisor for the Student Investment Group. Mr. Mike Mlinac, CFA® and Vice President for Finance & CFO of the UNT Foundation, assisted the portfolio management team with its preparation for the competition. The research challenge team was assisted by a mentor assigned by the CFA® Society, Andrew M. Hunter, CFA®, of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company. Faculty members and the team mentor were limited to a maximum of ten total hours of assistance for the team.

”Both teams did a superb job of presenting their research and recommendations to the judges,” said Dr. Wiley. “We could not be prouder of the UNT SIG and the teams.”

UNT Student Investment Group

The Student Investment Group was created with a gift in 2002 from Colonel Guy M. Cloud, Jr. that endowed the Student-Managed Investment Fund (SMIF) and a Student Scholarship Program at the University of North Texas. The main purpose of the fund is to create an educational investment experience for students at UNT who are enrolled in courses related to investments. Through committees and actions of the entire SIG, the group analyzes, recommends and makes investments in equities. As of January 2014, the value of the fund managed by the SIG was more than $400,000 with approximately 80% of the fund in equities. The goal of the SIG is to grow its portfolio to more than $1,000,000, at which point the fund can be used to provide scholarships for UNT students.

For more information contact Marcia J. Staff at Marcia.Staff@unt.edu or (940) 565-3063.