Spotlight on Student-Faculty Collaboration
The Golden Griffin Fund (GGF) was the vision of Nelson D. Civello ’67, after he retired as fixed income division president for Dain Rauscher in Minnesota. In 2003, Civello joined the Canisius faculty as director of the GGF and worked with Richard A. Wall ’78 PhD to develop a program that exemplifies what can be accomplished with student-faculty collaboration. Three years ago after Civello’s second retirement, Steven Gattuso ’87 MBA, CFA, CFP, joined the Canisius faculty as director of the GGF. The program is primarily for students in their senior years of the economics and finance major, with some room for interested Master of Business Administration (MBA) students. About 30-35 committed (and brave) students apply to join GGF; however, space in the Financial Markets Lab in Old Main limits the cohort size to about 25 students each year.
The academics of the program are best described as a capstone experience, integrating the entire economics and finance curriculum. Students not only take GGF oriented courses in finance but work directly with the faculty and outside industry mentors to apply their knowledge of investment research on live companies for possible inclusion in the GGF portfolio of stocks. The GGF portfolio is an actual sub-manager of the college’s endowment with about $400,000 in real funds under management. In addition, students collaborate with each other, sharing research and recommendations. The process involves research and analysis on economic and financial markets, as well as the selected companies. Over the course of the year, the research is related directly to concepts of valuation and performance, in-depth analytics, written reports and professional quality presentations leading to recommendations for the portfolio.
GGF graduates from Canisius are highly sought after by well-known companies in banking and finance with a near 100 percent placement rate as entry-level analysts. The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Institute Research Challenge team is selected each year from the GGF cohort, applying the same research, analytical, report writing and oral presentation skills that led to the Global Champions of 2015 and a close call to nearly reach the global final four again just last month!
Submitted by: Sara Morris, PhD, associate vice president, academic affairs