UAF Student Investment Fund celebrates 30-year anniversary
The University of Alaska Fairbanks College of Business and Security Management this year is celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Student Investment Fund’s creation.
The fund began with $100,000 from the UA Foundation. It has grown to approximately $2.2 million, thanks largely to investment returns. Over its 30-year history, the fund boasts an average annual return of 11.3%, compared to the 10.8% average annual return of its benchmark, the S&P 500. It supports several needs-based scholarships each year.
“When the Student Investment Fund was formed in 1991, it was the first of its kind in Alaska, and it was a relatively novel development in higher education,” said faculty advisor Kim McGinnis. “It represents another way that CBSM has brought innovative and hands-on learning experiences into the classroom.”
Students in the Student Investment Fund class, an upper-division business course, gain real-world experience learning the principles of stock valuation and selecting investments. They’re responsible for the day-to-day management of the portfolio, including screening and evaluating investments and monitoring performance of current holdings.
“We use a fundamental analysis approach when evaluating stock,” said Jenifer Garcia, a student in the fall 2021 Student Investment Fund class. “This was very rewarding because I was able to read through financial statements, something I have learned in my accounting courses, and use the information gathered to help evaluate stocks. SIF really helped me see how accounting and finance work together in the ‘real world.’”
Students are responsible for all investment decisions. By overseeing a portfolio of high-quality, U.S.-listed equities, students experience both the growth and volatility of the stock market firsthand. Ultimately, the student fund managers acquire a deeper understanding of the concepts taught throughout their undergraduate and graduate business studies.
Several donors have supported the fund and the technology needed to stay ahead of the indexed markets. Gifts from McKinley Capital Management, Northrim Bank, Association of General Contractors and the Spirit of Alaska Federal Credit Union have helped to cover travel to conferences, specialized financial databases and other essentials for running the fund. These resources give students a competitive edge over their peers at other universities and better prepare them for professional success.
Student Investment Fund participants travel to cities such as Chicago, New York and San Francisco to attend investment management conferences and participate in career treks. In October 2021, three students attended the Student Managed Investment Fund Consortium in Chicago, Illinois. This was an opportunity for them to network with approximately 160 students representing 27 colleges and universities, as well as to engage with, learn from and exchange ideas with investment professionals.
“In the future, I envision working more collaboratively with our peers in the natural sciences and engineering, as contemporary investment management practices favor strong technical skills such as computer programming and deep industry expertise,” McGinnis said.
Real investment dollars have not only allowed students to acquire a better grasp of investing but also benefited other UAF students in financial need. Since its inception, the fund’s earnings have provided more than $135,000 in scholarships and helped 70 UAF students. In recent years, robust earnings provided more money for need-based scholarships, allowing four annual awards of $2,500 each.