Launched in 2008, The Bulldog Investment Fund is a student-managed fund, taught as a course (FINC 450/525) in the Brock School of Business at Samford University by Prof. John Venable and his Regions Bank colleague Mr. Matt Smith. With final, binding decisions for investment trades resting in the hands of students--the hallmark of student ownership--this is truly a unique learning experience.
Students (undergraduate and graduate) are accepted by application (received in mid-October and mid-April for the next semester) and interview and have the opportunity to learn the science and art of investment management. The resulting team confronts real market issues, discovers and analyzes real stocks, and invests real dollars. As fund managers, they make regular presentations to the members of the Investment Committee of the Samford University Board of Trustees. Shortly after the inception of the Fund, the Board was so impressed with its ranking--among the nation's top three percent of student-managed funds--that Samford's Trustees voted to increase the investment pool to more than $1.7 million. Online MBA students are not eligible to participate in the Bulldog Investment Fund.
For more information about the program, contact John Venable, faculty advisor to the Fund.
Below is the current Bulldog Investment Fund portfolio with up-to-date information.
The Bulldog Investment Fund is an educational enterprise for its managers. Nothing herein constitutes investment advice.
In 2007, an anonymous donor pledged $100,000 for the purchase of four financial displays, including LED tracker, streaming NYSE ticker display, and two LCD panels, which turned an existing computer lab with instructor station and 34 student work stations into a center for live financial information and stock feeds. Students have access to professional-grade software and subscription services including Bloomberg terminals. The Fund uses a custom-built, limited-access SharePoint website to store and retrieve investment proposals, meeting minutes, investment sites' addresses, training materials and organizational documents.
The inaugural Management Team invited students from Hoover High School's Finance Academy to take a tour of campus and sit in on a panel of Bulldog Investment Fund members to ask questions about investing, college and choosing a university. They were also introduced to the technology in the Brock School of Business Trading Room (Dwight Beeson Hall #312) which has a live NYSE ticker and news update screen that continuously runs investing news. Since that time, a campus visit by Hoover High School students has become an annual event, usually in the spring semester.
Throughout the course, investment professionals frequently speak to student managers providing a real-life outlook on the economy and other aspects of investing.
Student managers have the opportunity to attend local and national conferences presented by top economic strategists and investment professionals. The Annual Redefining Investment Strategy Education (R.I.S.E.) Forum hosted by the University of Dayton is one such event. Selected management team members and faculty advisor Prof. John Venable heard from keynote speakers and panelists from Wall Street, corporate America, the financial media and the international community. Students are always a part of the conversation at R.I.S.E. and join the experts in economic forecasting through an on-site poll, with results shared almost immediately. The conference also offered breakout sessions on investments, career strategies, security analysis, portfolio management and an optional portfolio competition in addition to keynote presentations.
The Fund managers (pictured left with their faculty advisor, Prof. John Venable) have also attended the Annual Shareholders Meeting of Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway in Omaha, Nebraska.
Fund Managers have participated in the CFA Society of Alabama's Investment Research Challenge. The Challenge is a competition in which student teams from the top area business schools write an equity research report on an assigned company and present their findings to a panel of investment industry experts. The winning team advances to compete in the Americas Regional Investment Research Challenge hosted by CFA Institute. This annual educational initiative, based on the Investment Research Challenge originally developed by the New York Society of Security Analysts, is designed to promote best practices in research among the next generation of analysts through hands-on mentoring and intensive training in company analysis. It complements students' university curriculum by simulating the 'real world' experience of an equity analyst. The Challenge spans one semester, and consists of an analysis of a public company, mentoring by a professional research analyst or portfolio manager, writing an equity research report, and presentation of research to a panel of experts. The winners of the Alabama local competition advance to compete against local winners from North and South America.
Created in the Spring semester of 2008, the Fund consists of one faculty advisor, one co-facilitator and a group of students (collectively, the "Fund Managers"), who may be undergraduate or graduate students. Admission to the Fund's companion course is determined by application and approval of the faculty advisor. The course requirements and prerequisites are established by the Brock School of Business faculty. The companion course may be taken twice for course credit. The investment goal of the Fund is to maximize the long-term rate of return consistent with prudent risk limits. The Fund's objectives are: to deliver experiential education in securities analysis and portfolio management and to generate an investment return (capital gains and income) that consistently exceeds the benchmark's total return.
Bulldog Investment Fund Bylaws
Bulldog Investment Fund Investment Policy
In a remarkably difficult investing environment, one that has challenged the most experienced fund managers, it is impressive that throughout this time, student managers have outperformed 94 percent of the nation’s professional fund managers. The fund has outperformed the S&P 500 by 13 percentage points, which translates to a roughly $220,000 advantage to Samford.This impressive performance convinced the Samford Board of Trustees to add $700,000 to the Fund shortly after its inception bringing the total under management to more than $1.7 million. The Bulldog Investment Fund is now the largest such fund in Alabama and one of the top five student-managed funds in the southeast.
Alumni of the Bulldog Investment Fund have gone on to careers as revenue analysts, development directors, and sales representatives with companies ranging from the American Cancer Society, to BBVA Compass Bank, to the United States Armed Services.
Read about us in The Samford Crimson newspaper.
Nathan Troost sits down with John Venable to discuss the accomplishments of the students' work with the Bulldog Investment Fund.
Birmingham Business Journal features Bulldog Investment Fund in Wealth Management Section.
Resumés of current student fund managers.