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Osprey Financial Group takes GRIC regionals, moves to national in NY

The Osprey Financial Group bested five other Florida universities, including University of Florida and Stetson, in the regional finals of the CFA Global Investment Research Challenge and will soon move on to the national competition.

Five students from the 10-person OFG represented UNF in Naples, Fla. Jan 16. Professor and OFG advisor Reinhold Lamb chose the five participants – two of whom were the only undergrads in the OFG class, said MBA student, Finance and Economics, and Chief Administrator Scott Schimmel.

“This is the third or fourth year that the competition has happened,” Schimmel said. “This is the first time Florida has sent a team, let alone UNF.”

Local Chartered Financial Analyst societies must back six schools in their area so the schools can qualify for the competition, but there aren’t enough Florida schools running programs like UNF, UF and Stetson. All the CFA societies in Florida joined together to get the six remote schools into the competition, said David Leighton, a UNF finance analyst senior.

In places like New York City, Los Angeles and Massachusetts, more schools compete, Schimmel said.

“Yeah those are big money centers, and they have a bigger pool to draw from,” Leighton said.

The competition requires students to analyze the price and potential of a given stock and make a presentation about the efficacy of that stock, Leighton said.

Students write a research paper suggesting whether to buy or sell their assigned stock. Contestants must submit a report prior to the competition, but they must also give a presentation and host a Q&A at the event. Judges evaluated contestant’s papers and presentations in the semifinal round Jan. 16, and a new set of judges scored the presentation and Q&A in the final round.

The competition, like the OFG class, is a year-long process. Osprey Financial Group members started research in October, and their paper was due on Christmas Eve. The next round is in March.

“Oh yeah, Christmas Eve we were all sitting there trying to get our [stuff] together,” Leighton said.

OFG spent all their free time while in Naples drilling for the presentation and Q&A, Schimmel said.

“They put the winner’s name on a big screen, and to actually see our team on the screen, it was a pretty unique experience,” Schimmel said.

Leighton agreed.

“Yeah we beat [UF], you can put that in the paper,” he said.

Lamb lets the students work and intervenes mainly in the case of an emergency, said Dean Brown, an MBA finance and economics student.

“This was all their deal. This [competition] is about as real life as it gets, and we’re very proud of them,” Lamb said.

Lamb did leave the team with the parting words, “Win, Rocky, win” before the competition.

The national competition will be held in New York, NY March 17 and the global competition, with a grand prize $10,000 grant from the CFA Institute, will be held in Hong Kong.

The Osprey Financial group is also responsible for investing nearly $750,000 – up from $500,000 when it was initially donated – portion of the UNF endowment. Each student covers a different sector of the economy, and some work as analysts or world economists, Brown said.

The program takes a top-down approach, where students first try to find the sectors that look most promising and then work on security analysis – how safe an investment is – for a particular opportunity within that sector, Brown said.

All of the program’s profits go back into the OFG endowment in order to perpetuate the learning opportunity. The program has netted almost $250,000 since the 2002-2003 school year, the program’s inaugural year.

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