Although trading stocks and commodities may be accomplished almost anywhere in the world, Wall Street is still the iconic location for exciting lessons in finance. It’s also one of the destinations for students involved in Lauren Templeton’s Finance for the Future Initiative (FFI) at UTC. The College of Business is already known for its achievements. It was awarded a Top 100 Business Schools ranking by Business Week magazine. It has been selected as having the top business graduate program by Princeton Review and it has earned an AACSB International accreditation, given to only 10 percent of business schools worldwide.
In January, the Finance for the Future Initiative added a crowning component—a real-time, model trading floor actually located inside Fletcher Hall. The facility includes CNN market feeds, a live ticker and 12 Bloomberg trading terminals. The excitement is palpable. Now, College of Business finance graduates may become “Bloomberg Certified” in four areas, including equities, fixed income, foreign exchange and commodities through a self-paced program that has taken over a year to plan.
Last spring nine students from the School of Business toured the New York Stock Exchange as part of Finance for the Future. The action-packed three-day trip began with a tour of the New York Stock Exchange floor where students met with a NYSE specialist and market maker. At the New York Mercantile Exchange, students saw sugar and cocoa trade through the traditional open outcry method in their designated pits. Additionally, a tour of Bloomberg headquarters included representatives from human resources discussing internship and employment opportunities while top executives and leaders from Bank of America/Merrill Lynch, UNX, Liquidnet, and Credit Agricole spoke with the students.
The group also met the sponsors of the program—commodities-based hedge fund founder Renee Haugerud and her husband UTC alumnus, John Murphy. As Chief Investment Officer of Galtere Ltd., Haugerud specializes in global macro trading, which gives her a worldview most investors don’t get to experience. The couple’s $1.5 million gift will fund the transformative Bloomberg project giving students an unusual opportunity to enter the world of finance with a definite advantage. “Students with FFI training will have an edge over those from other schools,” says Templeton, who is director of FFI and teaches in the Bloomberg Lab. “Our students will be Wall Street ready. They can take the knowledge they gain from accessing real-time data in the lab, anywhere in the world.”
Murphy and Haugerud were in Chattanooga for the opening of the Bloomberg lab. At the event Haugerud discussed the fine points of trading that students would be exposed to in the program. “Students will come to understand both the science of trading and the art of trading,” says Haugerud. ”The science of trading focuses on the past and the art of trading emphasizes the future.”
As Director of FFI, Lauren Templeton brings a deep background in trading, value investing and behavioral finance to the College of Business. Aside from owning her own private hedge fund and investment firm, she has been engaged in exploring these topics with researchers funded by the John M. Templeton Foundation and other universities. An investor as a youth, Templeton says she made decisions under the influence of her father and her late great-uncle, Sir John Templeton. The Baylor School graduate began her professional career as a junior associate at Homrich and Berg and later under the hedge fund management company New Providence Advisors. In 2001 Lauren launched her own hedge fund company dedicated to investing globally using the same value investing methods as her famous uncle, Sir John. Clearly, Templeton’s opportunities have been unusual.
Although the role of women in the investment community may not have been prominent before, it doesn’t seem to be in a growth mode now either, according to some investors. “I’ve been on trading desks since 1980, and there are fewer women on trading desks now than when I started,” says Renee Haugerud. She says trading requires a personality type—a way of having confidence and the ability to sift through information. Her goal for FFI from its inception has been to foster a diverse trading culture by offering courses that examine all aspects of trading, from psychological factors such as temperament to bio-chemical variables. The trading floor experience is expected to have an enormous impact on women business graduates.
In addition to the cutting-edge trading floor, the College of Business has developed a Behavioral Finance Symposium for professional and individual investors in the broader community. The symposium is designed to address issues in this rapidly growing field of behavioral finance. The inaugural Behavioral Finance Symposium will be held on October 11th and 12th. The two-day symposium is designed as a venue for leading academic researchers and practioners to explore cutting-edge ideas related to the field and its applications.
Last February, a team of four UTC College of Business students traveled to Toronto to participate in the prestigious Rotman International Trading Competition at the University of Toronto. UTC faculty members, Dr. Chris Brockman and Lauren Templeton, accompanied the group—which took first place during heat one in the interest rate category and placed favorably against top Ivy League teams and big graduate school programs worldwide.
Producing graduates who are “business world ready,” says Templeton, is a top priority for the UTC College of Business and the Finance for the Future Initiative. The Initiative funds local, regional and national level internship opportunities and exposure to top business’ finance and investment departments. During April, the program organized a trip to Unum in which employees from Investments, Investment Accounting, ALM, and Treasury departments interacted with students through panel discussions describing their backgrounds and the skills and traits necessary for their specific jobs. In addition, students enjoyed the unique opportunity to tour Unum’s fixed-income trading floor. With Opporunites all around them, UTC business majors find themselves in the right place at the right time. “This is a Chattanooga story,” says Templeton. “How UTC and the College of Business works with the commintuy to build alliances.”
Photography courtesy of the UTC School of Business
This article was originally published in 2011 October/November Issue of Chattanooga Magazine.