The George S. Dembroski Student Managed Portfolio Trust (Dembroski SMPT), the investment portfolio run by Edwards students at the University of Saskatchewan (USask), has topped the $2-million mark. The trust, overseen by a board of trustees that includes investment professionals, finance faculty and students, was valued at $2.034 million on March 1, 2019.
“As a board member, one of the most rewarding things is the terrific performance of these funds managed by students with the assistance of their professors and instructors,” said Scott McCreath, Senior Investment Advisor with BMO Nesbitt Burns and the Edwards Executive in Residence. “The power of this class and the results to date are a feather in the cap of Edwards. As time progresses it will continue to attract outstanding students and new donors.”
Through a $1-million donation, the fund was established in 2011 to provide students with investment experience in portfolio management. The classroom environment is comprised of third- and fourth-year Bachelor of Commerce students working alongside graduate students in the Master of Science in Finance program.
Faculty advisor Dr. George Tannous (PhD) said the Dembroski SMPT is an experiential learning opportunity in which Edwards students get to work with equity markets in real time with real money.
“Students put their core knowledge into practice managing funds in an investment account through a course where undergraduate and graduate students work together on teams to manage the fund,” said Tannous.
Since its inception, the Dembroski SMPT has delivered exceptional returns considered comparable with those of top professional managers. The current value is in part thanks to the excellent performance of USask finance students and from continued investment from donors. Donations, which are tax deductible, have totaled $1,258,998 to date.
The students see the greatest impact from the Dembroski SMPT, as a portion of the income earned is reinvested directly back into the portfolio. In addition, each year a committee allocates some of the income towards initiatives to enhance the student experience.
Fourth-year students Trevor Zentner and Reis Mysko are two of the students who have helped manage the fund throughout their time in the Dembroski investment courses. They felt the access to Bloomberg terminals and practical applications, such as presentation and analytical skills, were the most rewarding aspects of the courses.
“Understanding where a company’s value is derived from will help me going forward, no matter what path I pursue,” said Zentner. “It’s fundamental to understanding a business.”
Mysko explained the courses have opened her up to the idea of portfolio management and investments from a private equity standpoint.
“Analyzing market conditions, trends and funds in real-time in a classroom setting is something I can put on my resume and take it into my future career,” said Mysko. “Recruiters think it’s really interesting and it tends to be one of the first talking points in an interview.”
The extra opportunities available through the class were also an important selling feature for the students. There are scholarships and opportunities to attend conferences in New York, where students can learn and network with Wall Street professionals.
As Zentner and Mysko finish their degrees, they remain big supporters of the course and encourage students to enrol. Both now have their sights set on continuing their education, with Zentner off to Norway and Mysko planning to take the Chartered Financial Analyst Level 1 test this summer.
For more information about the Dembroski SMPT, visit Edwards.usask.ca.