Investing in a pandemic era is challenging. But students from Maryland Smith’s Global Equity Fund were determined to rise to the moment.
The team’s persistence through extraordinary circumstances is to be commended, says Kenneth Fuller, faculty advisor for the fund. With a combined effort from last year’s and this year’s teams, the fund grew to nearly $650,000, surpassing its 10% benchmark by almost 4% in this calendar year. The fund is managed by students from the Flex MBA, Master of Finance and Master of Quantitative Finance programs.
“Our prior team went right through the teeth of the pandemic and throttled the portfolio back to be very conservative. The new team took over the portfolio with only about 75% invested and tried to get back up to speed as quickly as possible,” says Fuller. “At the same time, looking at various countries and getting a sense of how they are recovering and identifying areas where they can position the portfolio was really quite challenging.”
Student fund manager Austin Clime ’21 says companies in China, Canada, Japan and the United Kingdom saw some equity gains. But that was just part of the team’s portfolio, which consisted of assets of 54 companies across 22 countries.
“Our big winners this year included tech companies and steel producers,” says Clime. “For example, Chinese video platform Bilibili was up 300% for us, while we also saw gains with Rio Tinto, a company that produces iron ore and is linked to China, as well as AMG Advanced Metallurgical Group, which makes specialized metal parts.”
Founded in 2009, the Global Equity Fund holds investments primarily in companies outside the United States and maintains a goal of outperforming the MSCI All Country World ex-US Index.
While this year provided its fair share of challenges, Clime says, the experience is invaluable.
“As my time in the fund ends, I’m really excited and optimistic for the incoming class, considering we’re already off to a great start in this last month alone, up 3.8%,” says Clime. “From where we inherited the portfolio to now, I think it’s in a great place to succeed as we continue to hope for greater macroeconomic recovery. Great things are ahead for this class and I’m really excited.”
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About the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business
The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate, full-time and flex MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, business master’s, PhD and executive education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning locations in North America and Asia.