The student managed investment fund, STAR, has seen remarkable growth since its inception in 1999. In 2017, the fund posted returns of 25 percent compared to the S&P 500, which posted returns of 21 percent.
“All money managers have some benchmark, so our benchmark is the S&P 500 index, which is a common measure of stock market performance,” said Dr. Terry Pope, professor of finance.
The fund began in 1999 with a little over $110,000 from the university endowment and now, 19 years later, has an approximate valuation of $1.2 million. The fund earns money for the endowment and crossed the $1 million threshold in June of 2017.
Dr. Terry Pope advises the students who run the fund, but has no control of which stocks students buy or sell.
Students are assigned to the 11 different sectors of the stock market, such as the energy, healthcare or financial sectors, to do research and evaluate stocks within their sector for buying or selling.
“Each student will be assigned to a couple of those sectors, and what that means is that they need to have higher expertise in their sectors,” Pope said.
The fund is typically managed by 15 students per semester. These students have complete autonomy in choosing which stocks to buy and sell. The fund currently holds stocks in 36 companies, including Amazon, BlackRock and Microsoft. Most who participate do so for a class though many stick around beyond the class period.