Haslam Student Investments Beat the S&P 500

May 1, 2017

 John Thomas, chief financial officer of TVA; Ed Bronkhorst and Logan Jackson, both Haslam students; Darren Williams, Haslam lecturer in finance; Bill Johnson, president and CEO of TVA; and Tammy Wilson, vice president, treasurer and chief risk officer of TVA.
Pictured (l-r) are: John Thomas, chief financial officer of TVA; Ed Bronkhorst and Logan Jackson, both Haslam students; Darren Williams, Haslam lecturer in finance; Bill Johnson, president and CEO of TVA; and Tammy Wilson, vice president, treasurer and chief risk officer of TVA.

A team of seven students from the Haslam College of Business at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, took third place in the statewide TVA Investment Challenge Program (ICP). Haslam’s portfolio returned 16.7 percent during 2016, while the S&P 500 index fund offered only a 12 percent return.

During the competition, Haslam’s team actively managed approximately $500,000 in live stock portfolios for TVA, designing long-term investment strategies and selecting investments.

“Our class used a bottom-up value investing approach that was made famous by the great value investor Warren Buffett,” said Collin Pounders, a senior majoring in finance and member of the team. “Our goal was to find under-valued companies using methods such as a discounted cash flow model to analyze the growth rates of a certain company and determine what we believed was its actual value.”

Haslam’s team competed with 25 other universities across the Southeast over the 2016 calendar year. It was one of four teams to beat the S&P 500. As a result of its performance, the Department of Finance will receive an award of $4,620. The students involved said that the opportunity to invest real money at real stakes was invaluable.

“The experience I acquired from working on the TVA fund was the deciding factor in my job interview at USI Consulting Group where I will be working full-time upon graduation,” said Edward Bronkhorst, a senior majoring in finance. “My interviewers were impressed by the fact that I had spent time managing real money in an investment portfolio while adhering to guidelines rather than only having theoretical experience pricing single securities in a classroom.”

In addition to Bronkhorst and Pounders, Haslam’s team consisted of Nathan Hunt and Logan Jackson; seniors in finance; Natanael Prudhomme, a senior in management; and Sam Paganelli and Afua Otchere-Boateng, a junior and senior in accounting respectively. Darren Williams, a finance lecturer and vice president of Martin & Company Investment Counsel, advised the group.