Radford University’s student-run investment portfolio reaches $2 million

SMIPO reaches $2 million
In late December, SMIPO students pushed the organization’s small mid-cap value fund portfolio past the $2 million mark.

Radford University’s Student Managed Investment Portfolio Organization (SMIPO) has pushed its small mid-cap value fund portfolio past the $2 million mark.

SMIPO, which manages funds for the Radford University Foundation, reached the milestone in mid-December.

“This milestone has been a goal for each and every member of the organization and reaching it is the culmination of everyone's hard work and dedication,” said SMIPO co-president Hunter Malcom, a junior Finance major from Covington, Virginia. “I am extremely proud to be a part of this extraordinary group and know that our organization will continue to strive for excellence.”

Malcom’s SMIPO colleague, co-president Keith Noyes, said he is “very proud” of SMIPO’s latest accomplishment.

“The group’s professionalism and dedication has made this possible,” said Noyes, a senior Finance major from Portsmouth, New Hampshire. “This organization has created such a great atmosphere that I love being a part of, and I know that, with continued effort, we will further the excellent legacy of SMIPO.” 

SMIPO provides Radford University’s Davis College of Business and Economics students with a unique opportunity to gain practical experience in the management and decision-making processes of a corporate structured organization by participating in hands-on management of the funds of Radford University Foundation's endowment.

The organization was founded in 2002 by the Director of the Center for Financial Education and Professor of Finance Clarence C. Rose, Ph.D., and former Professor of Finance Steve Beach, Ph.D., for the primary purpose of providing Radford students with a real-world opportunity to gain investment and portfolio management experience. Rose continues to serve as a faculty advisor along with Professor of Finance Abhay Kaushik, Ph.D. 

“We are very proud of our SMIPO students in reaching a $2 million investment portfolio,” Rose said.” Myself and all of our Finance faculty at Radford University expect hard work and positive results from our students, and our SMIPO students have continuously demonstrated sound investment decision-making and have achieved very positive results. Since the start of SMIPO, we have set our goals high, and our students have delivered.”

Kaushik said SMIPO student-investors are “gifted” students who “make decisions just like a portfolio manager in a professionally managed investment firm. It is an honor and pleasure to work with some of the best students and see them growing every single day in their selectivity skills and dedication.”

The Radford University Foundation jump-started the organization with an initial $100,000 and provided additional funding since the program's inception. SMIPO’s portfolio value reached $1 million in October 2013.

“The SMIPO students and faculty advisors have done a terrific job over the years. $2 million is a wonderful milestone,” said Radford University Foundation Chief Executive Officer John Cox. “We are very pleased with the results.” 

Under the direction of SMIPO faculty advisors, students decide how and where to invest the SMIPO portfolio. Since its founding in 2002, the student organization has been a tremendous success. In 2010, SMIPO delivered a 19.74% rate of return, beating the S&P 500 benchmark return of 15.06%.


“The students manage real funds for their client, the Radford University Foundation, and they do this on top of their full course loads and often part-time jobs or internships,” said Ashley Coake, who served as SMIPO president during her senior year at Radford. She now chairs the organization’s Board of Directors.

Coake used the experience she gained through SMIPO, she said, to found her own company, Cultivate Financial Planning, in Radford. “I can honestly say that my involvement was one of the key factors in my career success.”

Like Coake, many SMIPO alumni have found successful careers in various sectors of the finance industry. Working with SMIPO was “transformative experience,” for Jimmie Newton ’10, he said, recalling his days of researching materials and industrials for the organization. 

Newton, who now serves as a vice president and research analyst for Indus Capital Partners in New York City, said SMIPO “stimulated my curiosity in the capital markets, provided me with an acute understanding of how to develop and maintain a prudent investment process and supported my personal development in investment analysis and portfolio management. 

“In short,” he said, "SMIPO is one of the primary reasons I can do what I do now. It laid the necessary foundation for me to build my career.”

SMIPO students have put their financial prowess to work in recent years against similar organizations from other colleges, competing in such events as the Redefining Investment Strategy Education (RISE) Forum held in Dayton, Ohio, and the Global Asset Management Education (GAME) Forum held in New York City.

SMIPO utilizes numerous resources to build upon its success, one of which is the trading room, located on the second floor of the Davis College of Business and Economics. The trading room is equipped with a Bloomberg Terminal, Morningstar Direct and other financial analytic tools that enable students to channel their financial abilities into making sound business decisions.

“SMIPO is undoubtedly one of our best run student organizations that serves the dual purpose of experiential education by allowing students to gain valuable business and investment skills,” Davis College of Business and Economics Dean Joy Bhadury, Ph.D. said. “How this small group of students, supervised by two of our best faculty, Dr. Abhay Kaushik and Dr. Clarence Rose, has managed to take a small initial investment and build it up to a portfolio of $2 million is a story of extraordinary success that speaks to the caliber of our students and faculty and brings great pride to all of us in Davis College.” 

Jan 24, 2020
Chad Osborne