SUNY Oswego senior finance major Kevin Stein will present a project of the School of Business’ Student Investment Club at Quest on Wednesday, April 13, detailing a strategy advocated by legendary investor Warren Buffett that has helped significantly boost the value of alumni gifts totaling $150,000 to date.

Working with Student Investment Club faculty adviser Mary Tone Rodgers and a professional advisory board, Stein as chief executive officer made a key innovation that has greatly reduced stocks-selection research time, helped boost club membership and contributed to the current $175,000 to $180,000 daily value of the invested funds, he said.

Stein, who interned with Manning & Napier investment managers in Rochester last summer, worked with the business school’s Bloomberg for Education financial analysis account to produce a custom screen that puts at the researcher’s fingertips billionaire Buffett’s 15 criteria for finding undervalued stocks for potential purchase.

The Bloomberg system can then display five-year trends in a company’s revenue, profits, price-to-earnings ratio and return on equity, to name a few of the criteria.

“It’s a very systematic stocks-selection method,” said Stein, who hopes soon to begin his Charter Financial Analyst examinations and to work for the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

Rodgers, a three-decade veteran of Wall Street who is the Marcia Belmar Willock Professor of Finance at Oswego, added, “Warren Buffett has identified (the stocks of) dozens and hundreds of good companies, but he doesn’t make a move until they’re cheap.”

Generous gifts

Two donations provided the seed capital for the fund: In 2012, Gordon A. Lenz, class of 1958, and his wife Carol directed that $100,000 of a gift they made to SUNY Oswego be made available to found the Student Investment Club; in 2015, 1981 graduate Christopher Tuohy and 1985 graduate Doreen Mochrie made the first of two $50,000 gifts to the fund, with the other pledged for this summer.

In addition to the advisory board and heavy faculty involvement, the club’s operating agreement with the Oswego College Foundation includes safeguards that help reduce the risk of loss. For example, no one investment can exceed 4 percent of the total investment fund.

Yet Rodgers said fully 85 percent of the Student Investment Club’s recommendations receive a yes from the board, as opposed to 5 percent no and 10 percent requesting further research. The students’ mandate is to at least match the S&P 500’s composite index.

“The students, for the most part, meet that goal,” she said.

Rodgers praised Stein’s willingness to dive in and work hard on the Student Investment Club. His leadership and innovation on the Bloomberg system have helped boost average attendance at club meetings from 20 to 40 students.

“Kevin made the leap to light speed on this project when he got the data organized on the Bloomberg system,” she said. “Stocks selection now becomes a manageable research task.”

Quest, the college’s annual spring symposium to celebrate faculty-mentored student research and creativity, as well that of faculty and staff, will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 13 in Marano Campus Center. The event is free and open to the public, and parking on campus is free that day.

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