This article was written by Stockpickr member Ira Krakow.
Boston's Babson College has a well earned reputation for its innovative programs that promote entrepreneurial leadership. The Babson College Fund (BCF) is an example of this tradition.
In February, the BCF won first place in the New England Investment Research Challenge (NEIRC) for the second year in a row, beating teams from MIT, Boston College and Boston University. So what's the secret to their success?
"The BCF is more than a student-run investment club," says the fund's program director Finance Professor Steven Feinstein. Open to both Babson undergraduates and MBA students, the BCF "is a combination of academic course, money management organization and investment portfolio, where selected students manage a portion [$1.2 million] of the Babson College endowment."
The BCF students are divided into four sector teams: technology, basic materials, consumer and industrials. Why? "Sector specialization provides students with a more manageable set of companies to research and understand," explains Feinstein.
He adds, "We encourage students to research and visit Boston-area companies to gain hands-on knowledge of the companies they are researching." Any guiding criteria? "Managers are encouraged to focus on small- to medium-capitalization companies that have low
coverage and are local to the Boston area."
Part of the course grade for all team members is based on the team's stock picking performance for the year. During the year-long program (which starts in April), the team must write and present a minimum of ten professional-quality research reports to support their stock picks."
The BCF Handbook
The BCF managers must follow strict guidelines, as detailed in the BCF Handbook. The investment philosophy adopted by the fund's 2006-07 student managers is:
"We believe there are opportunities to actively add value and take advantage of temporary mispricings that exist in the market as a result of behavioral factors, size and
constraints and low analyst coverage."
"Our goal is a
rate of return
on each equity sector portfolio, net of fees, that exceeds the rate of return of the respective sector
Some of the guidelines are:
1. The fund is expected to be nearly 100% invested in
, with only a small cash balance maintained for liquidity purposes.
2. When any stock has fallen 20% from its highest price since purchase, it must be re-evaluated or sold. If it is re-evaluated and held, the date of the re-evaluation becomes the new start of the holding period for determining future 20% rule triggers.
3. No single stock position can be greater than the maximum of 5% of the sector portfolio or that stock's weight in the sector benchmark.
4. Eligible companies must have a
greater than $100 million.
, are not allowed.
is allowed. However, only a fully-researched stock rated "sell" by BCF may be sold short. The research must be presented publicly prior to the opening of the position. The 5% position limit applies to any short position. Each equity team may have only one short position at any time. Finally, at the time the short sale is executed, a
buy order must be entered at a price no more than 20% higher than the price at which the stock is sold short, thereby limiting potential loss on the position to 20%;