The Garnet Group is the premiere student-run finance organization at Union College. In 1986, the Union College Student Investment Fund was established by Heinz and Ruthe Eppler for the purpose of providing students the opportunity to actively gain experience in managing an all equity investment portfolio. After rebranding in 2016, The Garnet Group is not only responsible for managing about $500,000 of the Union College endowment, but also presents students the ability to learn about the broader financial industry. Through mentoring, career advice and education, we aim to bestow the necessary skills to succeed in a range of financial careers. Using the investment fund as a learning tool by investing in stocks and bonds, we enhance students aptitude in investing and applying fundamental skills.
The Garnet Group seeks to educate students interested in the financial industry through two main platforms: the Wall Street Leadership Academy and the Student Investment Fund.
The Wall Street Leadership Academy, which began in 2016 with the rebranding of the Student Investment Fund, aims to provide students the necessary technical and professional skills to begin a career in business and financial services. Through an 8-week course taught by students with direct experience in the industry, participants become well versed in resume and cover letter building, networking, market analysis, valuation methods, and the confidence to compete.
The purpose of the Student Investment Fund is to educate and provide a real world learning tool for members through an actively managed portfolio. Sector Leaders, who are responsible for coverage on their respective sector of the economy, are expected to conduct market research, write trade proposals, present stock pitches, and serve as a resource to the whole body for sector analysis. It is the responsibility of Junior Analysts within each sector to stay up to date with financial markets, market moving headlines, and news in their sector to assist Sector Leaders in research and analysis.
An investment is made when a sector identifies an opportunity for a trade that serves a purpose of either conserving principle, providing income, or achieving long-term growth. The Sector Leader, and any Junior Analysts that covered the trade, will present a stock pitch to the whole body and prepare an investment thesis for the Garnet Group Leadership Team. It is at this point that this trade will be submitted or denied by a member(s) of the Leadership Team.
Investment Policy Statement (IPS):
The investment objective of the Student Investment Fund is three-fold: conserve principal, provide income, and achieve long-term growth of both principal and income. The fund will invest in a variety of asset classes including U.S. and non-U.S. stocks, bonds and exchange traded funds. The fund will not take short positions or use derivatives. All investments should be considered on a long-term time horizon of at least one year. At least 30% of the funds assets will be invested in cash or bonds to provide a source of consistent income. 50% should specifically aim to replicate the sector allocation of the S&P 500. 20% will be used for opportunistic ventures. The benchmark for the U.S. equity portion of the fund is the S&P 500, and the benchmark for the US bond portion of the fund is Bloomberg Barclays US Aggregate Bond Index.
Top 5 Holdings
- Bank of America Corp.
- Apple Inc
- Texas Instruments
- Wal-Mart Stores
- Gilled Sciences Inc
Governance and Administration of the Student Investment Fund:
(The governance and administration outlined here is based on the original document outlining the gift that established the Fund.)
The purpose of the Student Investment Fund (SIF) is to give Union College students “the opportunity to gain experience in the full range of management decisions encountered in the management of an investment portfolio.” The fund was established in 1986 through the generosity of Heinz and Ruthe Eppler, parents of Nancy Eppler Wolff ’75 and David Eppler ’82.
2. Student Managers
The fund is managed by student managers. Student managers must be full-time students in good standing and have satisfactorily completed Eco 334 and ACC100 or their equivalents. The student managers are appointed by a faculty committee described below. All students are welcome to be members of the fund. Students members are expected to participate in the fund’s activities such as research and investment pitches. Trade requests are submitted to a designee in Union’s Finance office with a copy to the faculty committee.
3. Faculty Committee
A faculty committee functions as a “stock holder” in SIF. The committee appoints and oversees the student managers. The committee will consist of at least three faculty members, who will be appointed annually by the Chair of the Economics Department.
4. Annual Report
The student managers prepare annual report due July 30th to the faculty committee who forwards the report to Union’s VP of Finance and Administration.
5. Fund Income
The fund’s income can be used for purchases such as reference material (including electronic resources), attendance at conferences, finance related travel, and the establishment of internships. The income available for such purposes in each fiscal year is limited to 2.5% of the average of last three annual values of the fund’s total assets.