AUSTIN - Spokane, Wash., native and University of Denver graduate Erik Benzel has been named recipient of the 2005 Robert L. Gould Scholastic Award.

The $1,000 cash award was presented Tuesday by Tom McCullough, chief operating officer at DST Systems, prior to the close of the Investment Company Institute 2005 Operations & Technology Conference, held here.

In its 14th year, the award was created to honor the late Robert L. Gould, who died suddenly at the age of 54 in 1987. Gould played a prominent role in the rise of the mutual fund industry by creating accurate support systems and organizations. Beginning at Fidelity Investments in 1973, Gould helped mold the Boston firm's FMR Service Co. into an effective transfer agent. In 1984, he joined Kansas City, Mo.-based DST Systems and continued to pioneer industry innovation until his death.

McCullough said the goal of the award, where students write papers on emerging trends in the investment management, is to foster at the university level the degree of creativity and talent that characterizes today's mutual fund industry.

"The award is about attracting top-level talent to the industry and furthering Bob Gould's legacy," McCollough remarked.

A finance major who is following in the footsteps of his stockbroker father, Benzel said he initially participated in the award to earn credits towards graduation, but said he soon discovered that the paper was "a way to combine all I learned in class, and by researching mutual funds and companies, it made the whole finance thing sink in a little better and make sense." The topic of Gould's paper was asset allocation.

The award competition is open to all students in their junior and senior years that attend the University of Denver, Rockhurst University and Northeastern University.

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