By Thomas Scott
Union students are taking advantage of an opportunity to prove themselves in the realm of finance.
Since Oct. 15, six students from different academic backgrounds have combined their efforts to compile a small cap portfolio as part of the Adirondack Cup.
The value of a small cap company ranges from $300 million to $2 billion.
The team must manage their portfolio, which has a theoretical value of $1 million, for six months.
According to portfolio leader Michael Wollner ‘14, “Very prestigious colleges, all generally from the Northeast,” participate in the competition.
Wollner said that the team was required “to pick five stocks from five different sectors” at the start of the competition.
The group is comprised of Wollner and fellow juniors Frank Castiglione, Kyle Cavaretta, Jack Wilson, Tim Meyer and Andrew Kauffman.
The portfolio leader assigned each team member a sector of the stock market best suited to his area of expertise.
Castiglione, a mechanical engineering student, was entrusted with researching technology stocks, whereas political science students Cavaretta and Wilson examined energy stocks. Wollner, Meyer and Kauffman are economics, managerial economics and entrepreneurship majors respectively.
Wollner elaborated on his team’s vastly different backgrounds, stating that “it makes [the] team very well rounded.”
When the competition officially concludes on April 12, “the portfolio with the best return will win,” as stated by the website of Adirondack Funds, the sponsor of the contest.
There is no monetary reward for whomever wins the cup, instead “[a] networking and celebration reception will be held in Albany.”
Aside from festivities after the competition, benefits for participants include “a significant head start interacting with Adirondack’s network of financial clients and college alums.” Though students may have access to professional connections that “will be following the competition closely” and “rooting on their alma mater,” participants are obliged to behave ethically.
The competition’s Guidelines and Procedures maintain that an honor system is in place, such that “participating team members are expected to avoid stocks in which they have access to insider information,” particularly if “a parent is a CEO.”
While Wollner claimed that the team does not “have a lot of experience,” he noted that the competition has provided ample opportunity for the team members to hone their financial acumen.
Wollner asserted that during “the whole process [the team] learned about the different statistics, about how to do research and how to analyze the health of companies.”
Furthermore, he is adamant that the contest has “been a great learning experience” for all involved.
Currently Union’s team is in second place in terms of value behind Siena College, based on rankings from the Adirondack Funds’ website on Feb. 15. Union did not participate in last year’s cup, in which Ithaca College came in first place.
The competition’s sponsor, Adirondack Research & Management, Inc., acts as the only advisor to the Adirondack Small Cap Fund.
They have filled that capacity since April 2005.