About to celebrate its 15th anniversary, the Centre is housed within UNB Fredericton’s Faculty of Business Administration. The Centre builds upon the solid performance and reputation earned by the multiple international award-winning Student Investment Fund (SIF) program. The CFS’ objective is to be a dynamic, collaborative and relevant center for first-class financial education in Canada and, in so doing, to bridge the gap between university learning and the transition to the real world.
The SIF program is a student-focused “investment firm” and is open to fourth year undergraduate and second year MBA students. In 1998, the New Brunswick Investment Management Corporation provided $1 million of real money for students in the program to invest in the capital markets. Despite several periods of market turbulence, the students have grown the Fund to approximately $3.4 million as at the end of December 2015 strictly from market returns.
In September 2011, in recognition of their investing prowess, the SIF program was granted oversight over an additional $2.5 million, a portion of UNB’s endowment funds. With this new capital, the students directly and indirectly have over $8 million to invest in the capital markets, making it the largest undergraduate student-managed fund in Canada in terms of assets under management. ($8.5 million at the end of June2016).
The SIF program is unique among North American student-managed funds with its embedded structured study preparation for the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Level I exam. The CFA is the most recognized designation of investment professionals worldwide. The undergraduate program is CFA recognize for its curriculum.
Students in the program have also enjoyed learning from seasoned investment professionals who make presentations to them in their learning space, the TMX Group Boardroom. The boardroom houses sophisticated industry standard software and databases which facilitates students’ investment decision-making and research. Field trips to Toronto and Calgary and New York City let students feel the “sizzle” of the real investment world as they visit senior investment professionals in their workplaces, including fast-paced trading floors. In 2010, Prof. Glenn Cleland, the founding director of the CFS, began taking two of his best students to see multibillionaire and investment guru Warren Buffett at the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholders’ meeting in Omaha, Nebraska. Students marvel that this is truly a fascinating way to cap off their university program.
The student’ abilities extend well beyond their impressive portfolio management skills. Over the years SIF students have earned a long and distinguished record of success at investment competitions including winning a category three times at the University of Dayton’s Redefining Investment Strategy Education (R.I.S.E.) and winner of the CFA Institute’s 2008 North American Investment Research Challenge, followed by a second place finish in the global competition held in New York City. UNB was the first Canadian school to achieve these honors.
The Centre’s futures Atlantic Symposium, the region’s premier financial recruitment and learning conference, has enabled us to bring meaningful financial education to university students throughout the Atlantic region who have gathered in September for (2006-2014) at UNB’s Fredericton campus. It lost its sponsors but got an even better sponsor Burgundy Asset Management this year.
The Executive-in-Residence speaker series brings a senior level investment industry professional to the Centre to present a public talk and to share their knowledge with students and faculty. This year in no different with Soo Boo Cheah (1999 SIF Graduate) Portfolio Manager of Global Fixed Income and Currency for RBC Asset Management will have a lunch and learn session.
In 2012 the Centre established influential Advisory Councils, in Calgary, Toronto and the Atlantic region, to guide the founding director going forward. For the 1st time ever, an executive in residence will co-teach with the center’s director. Don Wishart, President, Seamark Asset Management will be mentoring students as Executive in Residence.