IJL Wachovia of Winston-Salem, N.C. recently established the Wachovia Investment Fund, a portfolio managed by undergraduates at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. IJL Wachovia provides $50,000 for students to invest, along with substantial institutional support.
The fund is managed by the undergraduate investment club, a group of undergraduates interested in learning about investing.
Any appreciation at the end of the academic year is donated to the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the university, while IJL Wachovia absorbs any loss. A trial run in the spring semester resulted in a $4261 check from IJL Wachovia to the business school.
The program developed after Wachovia, seeking to broaden its college outreach program, contacted UNC last year.
"Education is a top priority of our firm," said Edwin A. Dalrymple, senior managing director of IJL Wachovia. "With the IJL Wachovia Investment Fund, undergraduate students can learn investing principles that will serve them for a lifetime."
Wachovia's relationship with UNC, including a strong alumni presence in the company, made the school a "natural choice," said Jane Shoemaker, a spokesperson for IJL Wachovia.
"Although many graduate programs exist, we wanted to create something for undergraduates," she said.
It is likely that the program will help IJL Wachovia with recruitment and public relations but these benefits are secondary to teaching students how to invest, she said. Nevertheless, the program will serve as an avenue for identifying the "best and the brightest" among the country's college students for the purposes of recruitment, Shoemaker said.
Publicity about the program is currently focused on UNC alumni and student publications, although it has attracted some general local notice. Community relations are sure to get a boost from the club's earmarking of donated money to support various charities, including a local soup kitchen.
Despite the "free money" from IJL Wachovia, the students take their management responsibilities quite seriously, said Mustafa Gultekin, a professor of finance and advisor to the investment club. The students have remained surprisingly focused on active asset allocation and long-term strategies through recent market volatility, he said.
The students receive substantial support from Wachovia to insure the educational success of the venture. John Lynch, an investment strategist for IJL, has worked with the club and local IJL financial consultants provide assistance with research and transactions.