Credit Cards And Your Rights

03.08.2012 · Posted in Alumni, Financial Management

In a program presented by the Massachusetts Office of Attorney General, the Stonehill College student business organizations (FMA, MMA and AA) co-sponsored a visit by Stonehill alum Brittany Kaminski ’11 to talk to students about their rights and obligations with credit cards and other financial matters post graduation.  Brittany is currently a mediator for the state AOG and is using her role to educate college students in Massachusetts about this important and often overlooked part of their financial future.

Despite a series of legislative safeguards that are unique to residents of Massachusetts, students, young professionals and their parents are still potentially vulnerable to excessive interest rates, financial obligations and damaged credit history.  “Access to credit and its obligations, needs to be taken very seriously by both students and parents, especially if parents co-sign any credit obligations”, said Ms. Kaminski. Knowing your rights is important in all financial matters, but it does not stop you from making bad moves.  With credit card interest rates at 18-22% and potentially higher if you miss a payment to two, graduates can quickly find themselves way over their heads.  Add on student loan obligations and maybe a car payment and suddenly life is not so easy.

Our thanks to Brittany and her colleagues from the OAG office for an interesting presentation and informative Q&A.

Career Paths Take Many Forms On The Road To Success

The FMA was pleased and honored to have present to our association, Michael W. Herlihy ’83. P’05, President and partner of Resources Management Corp. of Farmington, CT.  Resources Management Corp. is a private asset management firm with about $400MM+ under management.  Ironically, as a Stonehill student, he majored in marketing and minored in communications.  And, as Michael pointed out in his presentation, that his good friend  in college was a finance major that is now a successful executive in Marketing.  So it is not so much what you are studying in school but rather if you make the most out of what you learn and that you make a point of using what you know the best way you can.  Opportunity came because Mr. Herlihy made himself available.  And that seemed to define his early career whether it was in restaurant management, commercial lending or investment management.  His move to Bank President at a subsidiary of Advest Group was because he viewed the opportunity to interview as a learning experience.  Paying attention to what the customer needed and where the business was going is what ultimately got him the job.  In 1994, he co-founded InsurBanc, a full service federal savings bank.  In 2004, he became partner of Resources Management Corp.  The firm is a client focused asset manager with a GARP style (growth at a reasonable price) approach.

Mr. Herlihy is both the son and father of a Stonehill grad.  We appreciate his ongoing support to the College and its students!

Thank you for a terrific presentation.

Northwestern Mutual Executives Visit FMA

12.09.2011 · Posted in Career Advice, Financial Management, Meetings

Mr. Jim Ditzel and Mr. Steve Misdea from Northwestern Mutual gave a captivating presentation on the personal finance and insurance industry at our Wednesday, December 7, 2011 meeting.  Both Jim and Steve work together as financial advisers for Northwestern Mutual and are based in Quincy, MA.  Jim is a graduate of Bentley University and entered the business immediately following graduation.  Steve is a graduate of Curry College.  An internship  with Northwestern Mutual in his junior year lead to his offer for a full time position after graduation.

Together they each provided interesting views of the business of financial planners and especially as representatives of the highly regarded Northwestern Mutual Company.  They spoke of importance of professional learning and the need to instruct their clients about the preservation of  wealth.  Working for Northwestern Mutual offers significant competitive advantages as it plays a key role in its ability to develop a wide network of clients, friends and business associates.  The company assists them in developing expertise in managing cash flow and building its business in a very professional way.  Nonetheless, they share significant independence as business managers and are able to serve their clients in the best way possible.

We appreciate the time and insights from Mr. Ditzel and Mr. Misdea.  Northwestern Mutual offers internships for Stonehill students interested in learning more about the financial services industry.  Contact Career Services for more details.

EyeGate CEO Talks About Entrepreneurial Finance

The Stonehill Chapter of the FMA was honored to welcome to campus on November 29 Stephen From, President and CEO of EyeGate Pharma.  In the continuation of our 2011-12 Executive Lecture Series, Mr. From led a captivating discussion on the topic of Entrepreneurial Finance.    Born and educated in Canada, Stephen appeared to catch the entrepreneur bug at a very early age with a variety of small business ventures to finance his education.  After graduation, he partnering with friends in starting a mortgage financing business.  But like many successful entrepreneurs, such early ventures have their ups and downs.  So when the bottom fell out of the real estate market in Canada and the mortgage business closed its doors, Mr. From went back to school to study accounting.  Why accounting?  “I felt like I could always find a job in accounting”, said Mr. From.  Post graduation, he spent time with Price Waterhouse –  Toronto where he garnered the Canadian Chartered Public Accountant designation (equivalent to the US CPA designation).

It was not too long when an opportunity to jump into the Investment Banking came along leading Stephen on an interesting journey to London, then New York.  While the demands of this business were high, so were the rewards.  But with a new family in the making, Mr. From explained that his priorities shifted and he took the position of CFO of a small biotech concern in Paris.  When offered the opportunity to be the CEO of a new company in the field of ophthalmology, the entrepreneurial bug bit him again.  Thus, he took the reins of this highly risky but no less exciting venture.  With the assistance of our own Professor Mullen, they moved the company from France to Boston, raised the initial financing and hired the team to initiate clinical development of EyeGate’s technology platform.

While the attached slides provide an introduction to EyeGate, Stephen focused much of his commentary on how the financing of a venture like this works and the importance of understanding what you are about and how you convey that message to investors and strategic partners.  “The mission statement of a firm is critical and has to truly define what the company is about”, commented Mr. From.  “You should clearly understand what a company does by the mission statement. It should be only one step removed from the day to day activities of the enterprise.”  To paraphrase his further comments, “There was a time when I did not believe in the value of Mission Statements.  Maybe it was because they were often written so poorly.  But I am now a believer in the value of a well crafted, well defined mission statement.”

Our thanks to Mr. From for a very interesting and insightful discussion. Stephen From Presentation

A Perspective On Global Value Investing

The Stonehill FMA continued its 2011-12 Executive Speaker Series on Wednesday, November 16, 2011 with a presentation on “Creating Alpha Through Global Value Investing” by retired analyst and fund manger for Wellington Management Company, Joseph H. Schwartz CFA.  A mixture of career perspectives, “unsolicited career advice” and detailed suggestions of what it takes to beat the market, Mr. Schwartz’s presentation provided numerous insights into the business of successful investment management.  Joe’s more than 30 year career, most of which spent at Wellington Management in Boston, was one built on hard work and being positioned to capitalize on opportunity.

As a “Value Investor”, Mr. Schwartz bases his investment approach on the philosophy, “There is a spectrum of relative pricing efficiency that exists in the global capital markets.  Focus on the areas of greatest inefficiency”.  In the Fixed Income markets, areas of opportunity include lower quality sovereign debt, structured finance products and credit default swaps. In the Equity Markets, he highlighted small-to-mid cap stocks, emerging markets and venture capital.  Markets are greatly impacted by human behavior and through out his career, human behavior often pushed markets to create attractive opportunities for his style of investing.

So what were the common elements that led to a strong investment performance throughout his career?  Joe highlighted 6 key points:

  • All were small-to-mid-cap stocks
  • All had negligible investor recognition and low valuations
  • All had strong core franchises, cash flow and balance sheets
  • They were important, but not yet leading industry players
  • Each had an attractive new product pipeline
  • Each had an improving competitive position

These elements were not in play every year, especially in the days of the “Dot Com Bubble”.  And while it was very hard in those days, patients prevailed and set up opportunities for the creation of alpha in the “eight years that followed”.  While Joe discussed a number of examples, in particular he highlighted an investment his firm made in orthopedics industry player, Smith & Nephew of the United Kingdom.  Taking the opportunity to visit the company in London and a frank discussion with its new management team proved to be the insight necessary to believe that value creation was the new mantra of the company.

As for career advice to the more than 50 students present at the meeting, among the points Joe made, he highlighted in particular:

  • Work very hard – you’re competing.
  • Never stop learning.
  • Get out of your comfort zone.
  • Be creative and open-minded.
  • Be skeptical of consensus thinking, but not cynical.
  • Be quietly confident; be humble.  Avoid hubris.
  • Keep an even keel with your emotions – it’s hard.
  • Share your success – be a mentor and give back.
  • Enjoy your career – it’s a privilege.

Mr. Schwartz ended his presentation with of list of readings for those students seriously interested in a career in investment management.  An active session of Q&A followed.

FMA President, Danielle Rellas presenting FMA gift to Joe Schwartz.

Joe is currently a Member of the Board of Trustees of his Alma Motta, St. Johns University and is active in pro bono work for other educational and charitable institutions.  It was a privilege to have him come to campus and meet with our FMA Chapter.  A PDF of his presentation is attached below.

Joseph Schwartz Presentation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Views On The Wealth Management Business

11.15.2011 · Posted in Alumni, Career Advice, Financial Management

 

“Nothing worthwhile comes easy” to paraphrase Stonehill grad Jeffery Keough ’88, First Vice-President at the KCH Wealth Management Group-Merrill Lynch Global Wealth Management.  Jeff was kind enough to take  time out of his busy schedule to spend the evening of November 8th with our chapter of the Financial Management Association.  Interest in career opportunities in wealth appeared high given the terrific student turnout.   And this in spite of all the uncertainties that appear to spiral around the banking and investment industry today. 
When asked the most important skill to develop to be successful in wealth management, Jeff replied, “being a good salesman”.  As Mr. Keough explained, Wealth Management has evolved over the past decade.  Because of the complexities of the business involving specialties such as asset management, insurance, taxes, estate planning etc., having the ability to communicate well with your clients and having access to the expertise from your partners and practitioners that you surround yourself, gives you a huge advantage in meeting your clients needs and growing your business.

Based in Boston, Jeff’s areas of specialty include Municipal Bonds, Rule 144, restricted stock, alternative investments and executive stock options.  Together with his group, Mr. Keough manages a combined $500MM in corporate, family and individual assets.  For a PDF file outlining Jeff’s discussion, please click on the link below.


 

Fidelity Highlights Intern Opportunity For Summer ’12

09.28.2011 · Posted in Alumni, Career Advice, Uncategorized

On Monday, September 26, Fidelity sent three of their employees to visit Stonehill College.  One of the Fidelity employees, Heather Cummings, is part of our Stonehill Alumni. She graduated in 2005 with a degree in Finance.  Heather was one of the members who spoke about Fidelity and their involvement in the business world.  She also mentioned how the Stonehill Business program has given her the experience and knowledge along with the communication and writing skills to advance as a professional employee.  Heather has been an analyst for Fidelity the past five years.

The presentation given by Fidelity was informative for those who attended because it allowed students to realize what is involved within this renowned investment company. They explained in detail the extent of what Fidelity does, and described each of their roles within the company. Fidelity provides the world’s largest financial services serving over 20 million customers, 500 mutual funds and accounts of $3.8 trillion worth of assets.

Fidelity’s mission is to provide life-long financial services while insuring integrity and honesty. Being a privately owned company, they are always interacting with their clients and customers. The employees have the mentality that the customer always comes first.  Fidelity has offices in Boston, New York, Texas, Utah, and North Carolina. The Stonehill students were intrigued about the various internship opportunities for this upcoming summer. Introductions were exchanged and resumes were collected.

The internship, as explained by the members representing Fidelity, would prepare students to enter the corporate world. Interns would become accustom to proper, professional dress, conducting oneself in business situations, speaking to individuals of higher position, and even learning proper ways to word emails. An internship with a big company would expose students to a variety of fields, and may even lead to a post-graduate position. The employees emphasized the importance of working in a cross-functional team environment. Working with others throughout the internship will better prepare oneself for post graduation opportunities, and will allow students to explore their career of interest.

THE FMA 2011-12 STOCK MARKET SIMULATION

09.21.2011 · Posted in Stock Simulation, Uncategorized

Tuesday night, September 20th, Professor Mullen was the guest speaker, and gave an excellent presentation emphasizing the opportunities being a member of the FMA. His first and primary point was joining the National FMA Organization. Professor Mullen explained that it is very easy to become a member. There is a thirty-five dollar entrance fee; however, the benefits exceed the fee of becoming a member.  Members receive a booklet including valuable information on career opportunities and professional certifications as well as the opportunity to receive the honorable Collegiate Fellow Award given to students academically worthy. We then explored the FMA International website, which then lead into Professor Mullen’s introduction to the Stock Market Simulation.

The Stock Market Simulation is open to all students and is meant to be a fun experience with tremendous upside. In addition to a great learning experience, the winner will receive a commendable prize. Students involved are required to invest a minimum of $100,000 in an unlimited number of stocks. The simulation is meant for students to tune into economic news and world development. To better improve your chances of winning, students were
recommended to research basic fundamentals of the economy, such as earning estimates and basic valuations of businesses. The idea is to follow “trends” that will help you better understand and appreciate what is going on in the world around you.

Introductory FMA Meeting

At the first meeting of the 2011-2012 academic school year, the Financial Management Association introduced the new FMA officers to the members of the Association. Danielle, Matt, and Chris presented the agenda and goals of the upcoming semester for the FMA. The officers explained the main mission of the year, which is to obtain recognition as a Superior Chapter within FMA International. The officers then explained the roles and requirements involved within each of the following committees: Programming and Events/Speaker, Publications, Membership Management, FMA Relations, and Public Relations/Marketing/ Promotion. Many of the members signed up to be a chairperson or member of these committees. Overall, the meeting went extremely well and bolstered a feeling of excitement for the opportunities to make strides in the mission of the FMA for the upcoming school year.