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November 23, 2000 Students become stockbrokers



Seen here, left to right, are Ken Woods, Dr. Winnifred Potter, wife of the late Calvin Potter, Dean Mohsen Anvari and Professor Abraham Brodt.

Seen here, left to right, are Ken Woods, Dr. Winnifred Potter, wife of the late Calvin Potter, Dean Mohsen Anvari and Professor Abraham Brodt.

A group of aspiring investors in the John Molson School of Business have some real money to work with, thanks to a generous donation from a successful alumnus.

The Kenneth Woods Portfolio Management Program was developed by Woods, a Vancouver businessman, and Finance Professor Abraham Brodt, who will run the program. Right now, the program is extracurricular, but within five years, Brodt expects that it will be part of the curriculum.

The undergraduate students are handpicked for the venture, and commit themselves to it for two years, with the first-year students watching and assisting the second-year students.

While the students make the investment decisions, they must adhere to guidelines set by a client committee to ensure that they cover a variety of industries and investment instruments.

They meet twice a week each term, and report to the client committee every two months. Each student has at least three mentors, with whom they meet at least once a month.

The committee comprises seven senior professionals, including the chief investment officers of Bimcor Inc. and CN Investments. The students’ mentors include experienced investment analysts, portfolio managers and economists at Caisse de Depot, CIBC World Markets, Formula Growth, Goodman and Company, Jarislowsky Fraser, Nesbitt Burns, Scotia Capital, Standard Life and TAL.

Any profits made by the investments will be reinvested, and the students’ performance will be measured against the performance of a combination of industry indexes, such as the TSE 300 and Standard & Poor’s 500.

In addition, each student gets two work terms as part of the program. Professor Brodt explained, “The first is likely to be in Toronto, with institutions on the sell side, and the second in Montreal, with institutions on the buy side.” The first jobs were at Goodman and Co., Nesbitt Burns, Scotia Capital Markets, Caisse de Depot, P & C Holdings, and Standard Life.

Dean Mohsen Anvari was delighted with the innovative project. “It will give our business students first-hand experience of the intricacies of portfolio management,” he said. “They will graduate with practical experience and mentoring from key business leaders.”

Similar programs already exist at several other universities. Woods, a 1975 MBA graduate of Concordia, has dedicated the program here to a former professor and mentor, Dr. Calvin Potter, who died last year. Graduating students will be referred to as Calvin Potter Fellows.