A crucial part of education, particularly a business-school education, is students experiencing real-world conditions — the knowledge and wisdom received from professors and mentors really takes root when it is applied and tested in actual situations. One group of finance students, under the direction of Dr. Shane Enete, took this idea a step further. If a career in financial planning involves making wise investments with clients’ money and resources, what better way to learn than with real money and real investments? With that, the Biola Student Managed Investment Fund (BSMIF) was born and today, after some recent donations drummed up by Enete, the portfolio currently sits at $50,000.

We asked outgoing BSMIF president Billy Chedester (’22) to talk about how he and his fellow students got hands-on financial management experience with the BSMIF.

What is the BSMIF?

The BSMIF started in late 2021 in conjunction with Enete, the Biola Financial Planning Association (FPA) and company sponsors who funded the portfolio. The investment fund is completely run by students in the FPA.

Having an investment portfolio where students can gain experience managing real money is critical to building resumes for graduates looking to get into careers in finance and money management services. It also opens opportunities to network with students from other schools who also manage portfolios, as well as with industry professionals who are interested in helping advise the fund.

The BSMIF is unique — it is the first student managed investment fund that invests solely in securities that have been screened to be in line with BRI criteria.

BRI investments generally engage in these activities:

  • Corporate engagement: Making the Christian voice known to management.
  • Negative screening: Not owning certain companies that do not represent the interests of Christians.
  • Positive screening: Finding companies to invest in that do represent the interests of Christians particularly well.

The club screens all investments with the Inspire Insight Tool to check and see if an investment can be considered BRI. An investment will only be added to the fund if it receives a positive BRI rating from the tool.

Who runs the fund?

The leadership of the BSMIF is made up of a President, a Vice-President, Investment Committee (IC) Members and Investment Analysts.

The Investment Committee (IC) is a group of students responsible for the management and allocation of the fund. The president and vice president of the fund are responsible for putting together the investment committee. In order to be accepted as a member of the IC, a student must:

  • Have actively been involved in Biola FPA for at least one semester (minimum of 3 meetings).
  • Complete the Crowell course “Busn 462: Investments.”

Any student can hold the position of Investment Analyst and pitch stocks so long as they value the investments appropriately and present a report on their investment option at one of the meetings.

The Investment Committee votes on the asset allocation of the fund at least once per semester and has to vote on each investment pitch from the investment analysts. If a majority vote for an investment is not reached by the IC for allocation of a security, then the investment will not be bought for the fund.

Managing the fund

The BSMIF is governed by an Investor Policy Statement (IPS) that was created and voted on by the fund’s advisors and the Biola FPA officers. Each month, the club hosts a meeting — open to anyone who would like to participate — where students come and pitch investment options for the club.

The fund is actively managed, which means that the role of the Investment Committee is to vote on asset allocation and make sure that its investment stays within the agreed-upon range. If any investments go outside of the voted allocation then the IC has to rebalance the portfolio by either:

  • Voting on changing the asset allocation,
  • Selling investments to stay consistent with the allocation, or
  • Buying more investments to stay consistent with the allocation

After a few months of the BSMIF being live, three stock positions were eventually selected by the student IC (H&R Block, Steel Dynamics, and B2Gold Corp). As of today, these stock positions have collectively gone up 22% over the last five months, which is a great accomplishment in today's stock market.

Future of the fund

The BSMIF will continue to be managed by students in perpetuity. Every semester, new students will be added to the Investment Committee as seniors graduate, and the Investor Policy Statement will be updated as things like asset allocation are updated by new members. Any earnings will be reinvested to the fund and students will continue to gain experience while trying to beat their stated benchmark.

What I learned as a student from the BSMIF

Running an investment fund was a great experience for me. There was nothing in the fund when we first started, so it was exciting to be a part of starting from the ground up. I knew that it was not everyday that — as a student — I would get the opportunity to be a major contributor in managing a portfolio by helping form an Investor Policy Statement (IPS), creating a team of investment analysts and an investment committee (IC), as well as being a major contributor of a fund’s asset allocation and initial investments. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to lead a team at the start of this process and it is my hope that a solid foundation has been laid so that the fund can continue to grow and run smoothly for future students in semesters to come.

Billy Chedester graduated in May 2022 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Financial Planning. He was President of the Biola Financial Planning Association as well as President of the Biola Student Managed Investment Fund. He held three different internships and was involved with the Student Missionary Union as well as his local church. Billy plans to continue his professional career at a registered investment advisor (RIA) while obtaining his CFP designation.

Learn more about the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and the Financial Planning concentration today.