As a candidate in the Master of Financial Risk Management (FRM) program, one of the most rewarding experiences has definitely been the unique opportunity to attain a real understanding of fund management through involvement in the Student Investment Advisory Service (SIAS Fund). Every year, the FRM program at SFU attracts enthusiastic finance students from all around the world. In addition to having the support of a team of exceptional faculty members and top-notch industry experts, the true value of the program comes from the chance to obtain hands on experience from managing over $10 million of the university’s endowment portfolio. Initially, SIAS was funded by contributions from HSBC Bank of Canada and Lohn Foundation and its current market capital has grown to nearly twice the original fund value.
The fund follows a value investing mandate, set by the client (the SFU Treasurer, Mr. Michael Murdock) through a conservative Investment Policy Statement (IPS). The SIAS portfolio is composed of four actively managed asset classes: Cash, Canadian Equity, Global Equity and Fixed Income. At the beginning of the program (academic year), candidates (investment managers) go through extensive training via three sources: (1) the previous SIAS cohort, (2) faculty members and most importantly, (3) a group of elite industry professionals, before they are handed down the power. Additionally, the new investment managers are immediately grouped into six managing teams, namely Economics and Strategy, Canadian Equity, Global Equity, Fixed Income, and Risk Metrics. The activities of each team are closely monitored by the sixth team; compliance and performance, in accordance to the IPS. This team generates monthly compliance and performance reports for the fund which is sent to the clients and the faculty advisors. The fund also holds quarterly performance review presentations before a panel of industry advisors and a few of B.C’s preeminent portfolio managers, which are open to the public (see http://beedie.sfu.ca/sias/media.php for more details on how to RSVP). The next of which is set for Thursday, February 24 at 2:00 pm in the Segal Graduate School of Business Building.
As one of the largest student managed funds in North America, SIAS was awarded the best student-run value investment fund in North America in 2007 based on performance by RISE (recognized by Businessweek). SFU’s endowment portfolio is among the top 25% largest endowments in North America. As active contributors to managing SIAS; the $10 million baby fund of the SFU’s large endowment portfolio, FRM candidates also provide mentorship to a number of well qualified and trained SFU finance undergraduate students in their role as associate analyst for the fund. The outstanding performance of the fund is a direct result of the dedication, knowledge and active presence of all the motivated members of the FRM program which is evident from the super heated and loud SIAS weekly meetings.