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Class & Programmatic Activities

Class activities include on-site visits to a business or organization and use of practitioners to actively participate in classroom critiques or problem-solving exercises.

Other examples include:

  • Class field trips to various Wall Street firms in New York City, Dominion Resources GreenTech Incubator, BizWorks, Richmond FED, Henrico Doctor’s Hospital, etc.
  • Robins School faculty members have offered seminar classes involving short-term study abroad components to London, Dominican Republic, Guatemala and the Middle East.
  • Accounting 312/313 students staff an office for the VITA Program in downtown Richmond.

Programmatic Activities

Programmatic activities include student engagement in learning activities designed as part of a concentration or major, such as finance or experimental labs.

Student Managed Investment Fund (SMIF)

The Student Managed Investment Fund (SMIF) provides valuable, real-time experiential learning in securities analysis and portfolio management. Managers gain real world experience in topics and theories that are discussed in the classroom. SMIF is the capstone to investment studies in a sequence of courses developed by the Finance department over the past decade.

SMIF was created in 1993 to provide a "hands-on" experience in research, investing, portfolio management and the dynamics of the equity markets. The Board of Trustees started the program with a transfer of funds from the University's endowment.

Managers are chosen through a rigorous selection process that encompasses an application, formal interview and written research report. The existing managers make all decisions with oversight from the SMIF Faculty Advisors. Once selected, managers take courses in an "investment track" consisting of Financial Management, Fixed Income & Derivatives, Investments and Security Analysis & Portfolio Management.

The managers also receive one unit of academic credit for their participation in the Fund. Meetings are held at least once a week throughout the entire year to evaluate the status of the portfolios and execute any other administrative duties that are pertinent to its success.

SMIF is completely equity based and is split into a GARP (Growth At a Reasonable Price), Growth and Value funds. The three funds are each comprised of approximately five managers. A General Manager actively participates in all three funds and ensures the professional management of SMIF as a whole.

Managers act as security analysts and portfolio managers. Through many different research sources, information is gathered in an attempt to lead to a buy or sell decision. Practical investment knowledge, exercised through field trips, internships and a close working relationship with market professionals, has enhanced the educational experience for the fund managers.

The Fund maintains working relationships with alumni and other professionals in the financial services industry, acting as mentors for the managers of the portfolio. The managers work with faculty advisors from the Finance department as well as with an Advisory Board consisting of investment professionals in the Richmond community. Each year, the Fund continues to improve and plays a unique role in the Finance Curriculum. Through high caliber students, determination and professional conduct, SMIF will remain one of the most unique and prestigious programs offered at the University of Richmond.

General Timeline:

  • The application process typically begins the week after winter break during junior year
  • The application involves a few essay questions and submission of a resumé
  • Students are screened
  • Applicants are given a company to write up an 8-10 page research report along with assignment of a current SMIF manager mentor
  • Research reports are submitted
  • Interview process is four interview sessions with two people each. Interviews are structured like sales and trading and investment banking interviews
  • Managers are chosen

Selection Requirements:

  • An overall grade point average of 3.0 or better
  • A grade of B or better in FIN 366 – Investments
  • FIN 366-Investments must be taken before fall semester of senior year to participate in SMIF
  • Contact

Dr. John H. Earl, Jr.
Faculty Advisor
Associate Professor of Finance

The Lessing Trading Floor

The Center for Active Business Education maintains the Lessing Trading Floor located in Robins School of Business Queally Hall Room 100. The trading floor houses our financial data resources and is staffed with Financial Data Assistants who assist students in earning Bloomberg Essentials Online Training Program’s Acknowledgement of Completion and Morningstar Direct Certification.

Financial Data Resources

The Lessing Trading Floor has the following data and software resources available:

12 Bloomberg Professional Subscriptions, Morningstar Direct, Datastream, Wharton WRDS, Center for Research in Security Prices (CRSP), COMPUSTAT, Execucomp, Trade and Quote Database (TAQ), Value Line Investment Survey, Factiva, Lexis-Nexis and Palisade Decision Tools including @RISK.

Financial Data Assistants

Students with knowledge of Bloomberg, Morningstar and basic database skills work in the Lessing Trading Floor. These Financial Data Assistants provide guidance on obtaining Bloomberg Acknowledgement of Completion, Morningstar Certification and assist students working with all the financial data in the Lessing Trading Floor. 

Students must have taken Finance 366 and earn the Bloomberg Acknowledgement of Completion – all market sector, to be considered for the position. The minimum time commitment to be a Financial Data Assistant is six hours a week. This is a paid position.

Bloomberg Essentials Online Training Program

The Center for Active Business Education supports students who want to take the Bloomberg Essentials Online Training Program and earn an Acknowledgement of Completion in various market sectors by providing 12 Bloomberg terminals in The Lessing Trading Floor, providing detailed instructions and live support from Financial Data Assistants.

The Bloomberg Essentials Online Training Program is designed to equip financial professionals with comprehensive knowledge of the Bloomberg Professional service.  

For more information, detailed instructions are located on the start-up page of all computers in The Lessing Trading Floor or visit the Trading Floor when it is staffed with a Financial Data Assistant for further assistance.

Morningstar Direct Certification

The Center for Active Business Education supports students who want to earn Morningstar Direct Certification in The Lessing Trading Floor, providing detailed instructions and live support from Financial Data Assistants.

The certification program includes 11 courses designed to help the student achieve a comprehensive working knowledge of how to use Morningstar Direct for researching stocks and funds, constructing and tracking portfolios, and creating output for presentations. Each course provides a tutorial guide to help the student prepare for the certification exams.  

For more information, detailed instructions are located on the start-up page of all computers in The Lessing Trading Floor or visit the Trading Floor when it is staffed with a Financial Data Assistant for further assistance.

The Lessing Trading Floor hours are the same as the Robins School, no exceptions.

CFA Review

The Center for Active Business Education offers a .25 unit pass/fail Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) review course for seniors each spring.

The CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) charter is a professional designation awarded by the CFA Institute. The CFA charter serves a similar purpose for investment professionals that the CPA does for accountants. It demonstrates a mastery of a comprehensive body of knowledge important in the investment decision-making process. Many investment firms require entry-level employees to pursue the CFA designation as a condition of employment.

To earn a CFA designation, a candidate must pass three levels of exams (Levels I, II, III) and meet the experience requirement specified by the CFA Institute. The CFA review course at UR prepares you for the Level I exam.

If you are planning to sit for the CFA exam, it is recommended that you take the following courses:

  • FIN 366 Investments
  • FIN 361 Corporate Finance
  • FIN 467 Portfolio Management and Analysis
  • FIN 466 Fixed Income and Derivative Securities
  • ACCT 320 Financial Statement Analysis

The Center for Active Business Education maintains a CFA library that includes the following study materials:

  • CFA Economics
  • CFA Ethics and Quantitative Analysis
  • CFA Equity and Fixed Income
  • CFA Corporate Finance and Portfolio Management
  • CFA Derivatives
  • CFA Financial Statement Analysis

For more information regarding the CFA designation, visit the CFA Institute website.

Contact

Dr. John H. Earl, Jr.
Associate Professor of Finance

Next Generation Investors (NXG)

Next Generation Investors (NXG), is a student managed fund that employs a top-down investment strategy to manage a portfolio of exchange traded funds (ETFs).  This "top-down" approach to ETF investing emphasizes global, macroeconomic, and industry analysis rather than individual security analysis. NXG uses modern portfolio theory principles adapted to ETF investing and conducts innovative quantitative modeling to include tracking models, performance attribution analysis, arbitrage pricing factor analysis, iterative factor re-balancing models, and “smart” portfolio beta management. Student managers work in NXG for a full academic year, Fall-Spring, and receive 1 unit of credit over the two semesters for their participation in the fund.

This group was formally established in the Fall Semester of 2015 and fully invested in January 2016 with 8 student managers.  Student managers are selected based on a blend of strengths in economics, statistics, finance, computer technology, and communication skills required to manage the fund.

Contact:

Rob Dolan

Jerry Stevens

Center for Active Business Education

Director
David North, Ph.D.
Queally 285A
(804) 287-1938
cabe@richmond.edu