Golden Griffin Fund takes seventh consecutive win

By Rebecca Brandel

Features Contributor

At least once in any iPhone user’s life, they have accidently hit the wrong app, only to open the Stocks app and stare confused at the squiggly lines and arrows rapidly moving up and down. Playing and understanding the stock game can sometimes feel like learning a foreign language.

For the members of Golden Griffin Fund, this foreign language is one they understand quite well.

The Golden Griffin Fund is an investment-management course for undergraduate seniors at Canisius College, as well as students in the Finance Master’s program.

The Fund was designed with the intent to educate students about the inner workings of the market and provide them with real-world learning experience in investment-management and equity analysis, skills that are best learned by doing.

“The Golden Griffin Fund is an invaluable experience which helps prepare student analysts for a role in the real world. Through Dr. Wall and Professor Gattuso’s exceptional teaching, a

Finance/Economic major develops the skills and abilities that will help them excel in the working world,” said Jesse Culkins, ‘16 MBA (Team Captain).

Under the Golden Griffin Fund, every aspect of investment management is placed under the student’s control.

The GGF requires students to research, create, and manage portfolio holdings; analyze and recommend companies to add to the portfolio; and grow the Fund through the solicitation of new investors.

The GGF operates out of the trading room called the Nelson D. Civello Family Financial Markets Lab, located in Old Main 111. Inside the lab, there are television monitors broadcasting CNBC, Bloomberg News, and data projection screens, all of which enable students to receive up-to-the-minute information on the world’s financial markets. Students are able to utilize popular financial tools to conduct their research.

To prepare for the competition, the selection of the team occurs in September and work starts immediately after. The team puts in at least 300 hours of work, with the majority of that being done over winter break and the weeks leading up to the presentation in February. They perform intensive research into company drivers and risks in order to build accurate models to determine the company’s intrinsic value.

The team members have varied future career goals, ranging between investment banking, private equity, real estate investment banking, financial advisory, banking, and equity research. The GGF has prepared all of them for those future careers with the irreplaceable hands-on opportunity grow their problem-solving capabilities, develop exceptional presentation abilities, and increase their analytical expertise.

This year, for the seventh consecutive year, the Canisius College team took home first place in the Chartered Financial Analyst Institute Research Challenge of Western New York. The team is made up of  Jesse Caulkins ’16, MBA ’17 (Team Captain), Cory Cullen ’17, Meghan Federico ’17, Auston Ingram ’17 and Jeffrey Spencer ’17.

The competition was held at Canisius on Monday, Feb. 20. Canisius placed first, with University of Rochester placing second, and SUNY Geneseo placing third, followed by Cornell University, Syracuse University, SUNY Buffalo, and SUNY Oswego.

The CFA Institute Research Challenge is an annual global competition that provides university-sponsored teams with hands-on mentoring and intensive training in financial analysis.  

The competition tests the analytic, valuation, report writing, and presentation skills of students studying business, finance, and economics. The teams are challenged to research a publicly-traded company and write a written report with a buy, sell, or hold recommendation. The teams must then present and defend their analysis to a panel of industry professionals who serve as judges in the competition.

“To have our hard work come to fruition was a phenomenal feeling, and we were all incredibly happy to continue to develop the dynasty that Canisius has held in the local competition. However, we still have a lot of work to do in order to continue to progress through the competition, ” voiced the team.

The team now advances to the Americas Regional competition in Seattle, Wash. on April 6-7, where they will compete with college and university teams from North and South America.  The winner of the Americas Regional competition then vies for the global CFA championship in Prague, Czech Republic on April 28, 2017.

To what does the Golden Griffin Fund attribute its success?

“We, a team, each carrying equal weight. A team that does not have equally-contributing members, who do not fully understand all of the research, will not succeed,” said Caulkins.

CFA Team Pic.jpg


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