UM Business Students Earn D.A. Davidson Investment Award

Representatives from D.A. Davidson visited the School of Business to congratulate students and faculty on earning the Fred Dickson Memorial Award; foreground, D.A. Davidson’s Brad Cederberg presents a check to Business Dean Chris Shook.

Oct. 30, 2017

Students from the University of Montana School of Business Administration have received the Fred Dickson Memorial Award from financial services firm D.A. Davidson. The accolade recognizes excellence and adherence to the principles of the company's Student Investment Program, which provides teams at 20 universities with $50,000 to invest in the stock market.

 The investment program is designed to provide a hands-on experience in finance, stock research, portfolio management, and investment topics. For many students it’s their first experience investing real money, and the program lets them manage a diversified investment portfolio under the guidance of a broker.

 At UM, students analyze and discuss investment opportunities and implement their decisions – in 2016-2017 as members of the UM Finance Club and other years as part of the School of Business class “$50,000 Portfolio.”

Under the guidance of a broker, students manage a diversified investment portfolio for a semester. Students

“A number of us from the Missoula firm have either taken the course or taught it,” said Brad Cederberg, a 2006 School of Business graduate and vice president and financial advisor at D.A. Davidson in Missoula. “It was one of the things that steered me toward what has been a wonderful career in finance.”

 The Fred Dickson Memorial Award, now in its third year, annually recognizes one team for overall excellence and adherence to program standards. UM has demonstrated consistent long-term performance over 1-year, 3-year, and 5-year periods with strong results on an absolute and risk-adjusted basis, said James Ragan, director of individual investor group research for D.A. Davidson and head of the company’s Student Investment Program.

 “We congratulate Montana for earning the Fred Dickson Memorial Award, and we salute all student participants for their work in managing real portfolios,” Ragan said.

 The Montana team received a $2,000 cash award and an expenses-paid trip for five participants to the Davidson Institute, a D.A. Davidson educational and networking event to be held in Seattle in May 2018. 

 In this year’s investment competition, the University of Montana team posted a total return of 30 percent, putting it in second place behind Portland State University.

 UM’s return far exceeded the 16.2 percent total return for the S&P 500 Index, a standard benchmark for the stock market, for the same period, and was well above the 22.3 percent return for the Dow Jones Industrial Average for the period. An additional four schools also generated returns above the S&P 500’s: Oregon State University with 24.2 percent, the University of Idaho with 22.9 percent, Gonzaga University with 19.4 percent, and Idaho State University with 17.9 percent.

 The top-performing teams receive a check for their college, earning half of any portfolio gains above 5 percent. This year, UM earned more than $6,250 for its student-run portfolio performance, bringing its total prize money to $8,250 for the year.

 Montana-based D.A. Davidson provides $1 million each year for its investment program across 20 participating Western and Midwestern colleges. The company absorbs any losses on the student-run portfolios and has donated $552,900 in the 23 years since it began sharing profits with the colleges.

 Andrew Page, a senior studying finance from Newport Beach, Calif., was one of ten students on UM’s winning team. Page said that learning to build a diversified portfolio over the long term was one of the most meaningful aspects of the competition.

 “Every week we would get together to formulate our plan,” he said. “I think this shows we all did a great job.”

Photo: Representatives from D.A. Davidson visited the School of Business to congratulate students and faculty on earning the Fred Dickson Memorial Award; foreground, D.A. Davidson's Brad Cederberg presents a check to Business Dean Chris Shook.