Large group of students in business suits pose for a photo

GSIF continues rapid growth

The Gator Student Investment Fund (GSIF) made a $13,440 donation to the Machen Florida Opportunity Scholars Program this spring.

In 2017, the fund announced it would be making annual payments through an endowment-like structure that pays three percent of the portfolio value to the Machen Florida Opportunity Scholars Program, which pursues the primary goal of graduating first-generation, low-income undergraduate students.

GSIF, a student-managed investment fund that gives members a realistic asset management experience, has seen the fund grow to $561,667 assets under management.

The growth of the fund continues to impress those involved with it. William Harrell, Jr. (MBA ’04) sits on the board responsible for overseeing GSIF, and he has watched the fund grow from its beginning stages.

“I can’t even begin to overstate how impressed I am with the whole program and the kids coming through it,” Harrell said. “When Dr. Brown started it, I thought “OK, he’s got some exceptional kids right now, this will last a couple years and then peter out.” Instead, it has become a juggernaut.”

Harrell saw the impact up close as his company, Capco Asset Management, recently hired its first-ever analyst, a GSIF alum.

“The quality of the students coming out of the program is incredible,” Harrell said. “Their preparation and the ideas and tools they have been exposed to are way ahead of where we were at that age.”

Students who participate in GSIF understand the quality of preparation they’re receiving. The program provides students with a real-life experience that looks very similar to what their full-time job will be after graduation.

“Because we want GSIF to mirror a real-world Asset Manager, we have implemented protocols and activities in the fund that push us closer to that goal,” said GSIF participant Matt Schwarz, who will graduate this fall with his bachelor’s in finance and in May 2020 with his Master of Science in Finance. “We want our members to be able to make a difference in their internships and full-time jobs on day one. We know that growing our fund is a natural result of investing in our members.”

As the fund continues to grow, Harrell often thinks back to his commitment to the program. There are long hours spent returning to GSIF’s annual board meeting and other commitments to the program that can take away time from his job’s responsibilities, but the caliber of students graduating from GSIF always remind him why he’s involved.

“Bill Gates once said, “We overestimate what we can do in one year and underestimate what we can do in ten years.” I definitely think of GSIF as an example of that – from a kernel of an idea to a juggernaut,” Harrell said. “The next decade is exciting to think about.”