The innovative Student Investment Group (SIG) at Houghton College, where students are entrusted with a portion of the college’s financial portfolio, saw a return on investment profit of 34 percent for the 16-month period of January 2016 through May 2017.
Students dive into this hands-on, experiential learning initiative, investing funds in accordance with Houghton’s investing philosophy, which includes technical analysis using data, discussion, and, in this case, a required 100 percent consensus by the SIG before any investment is altered. They are given “assignments to create short-term and long-term investment strategies” based on technical analysis, and some are on par with or surpass those found in the current market, according to Dr. Pil Joon Kim, assistant professor of finance and business.
This year that approach resulted in an annual rate of growth of 25 percent. Over the most recent 12 months, the equity portfolio has grown 20 percent as well. An average rate of growth for a similar endowment and investment size is between 3 and 10 percent, putting Houghton’s endowment in a category of outstanding growth and outperforming professional investors by a wide margin.
Kim also stresses ethical decision making when it comes to investing, guiding his students through a process that maintains a moral and principled center – addressing a hot-button issue among financial professionals today.
The SIG began in 2001 with the opening of the Business Investment Center, with the express intent of offering a state-of-the-art business experience for students that included real-time learning and training. Since then, Houghton business students have been equipped with the tools and experience to succeed at businesses such as the Buffalo Bills, Cardone Industries, Corning Inc., Datatel, Fisher-Price, Frito-Lay, HSBC Bank, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Paychex, Pfizer, Polo Ralph Lauren, The Vanguard Group, Yahoo, and more.
Earlier this year, Houghton was featured in The New York Times for the college’s endowment growth surpassing that of institutions with larger endowments, such as Harvard. A portion of that endowment was invested by current business students.