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    UW College of Business - Portfolio Management in Patrick Fleming’s Trading Room

    May 07, 2015

    By: Jackson Bentz

    Power of Investing

    On the first day of Portfolio Management with Professor Patrick Fleming, I quickly found out that trading real money is way more inclusive than just the principle, “buy low and sell high.” Professor Fleming explained to us that the Portfolio Management classes, under his guidance, serve as investment advisors to the State of Wyoming for the University Permanent Land fund. In other words, this is serious and important. Prior to the class, I had very limited knowledge about investing and just knew I wanted to be the next Wolf of Wall Street. However, in order to become a successful investor, it takes a lot of hard work, skill, and practice. This class provides the tools to better understand the power of investing and how to take control of your own financial lives.

    It is our job to know

    As the syllabus states, the primary goal of the class is to provide students with a solid base for investment analysis and exposure to the fluctuations of global equity, bond, currency, and commodity markets. Everyday we analyze and record the spreads of the different markets to familiarize and look for patterns and changes. Additionally, we are individually assigned certain equities and an exchange traded fund (ETF) sector. It is our job to know and follow our ETF and be able to advise and bring new investment ideas to class. During lecture, we discuss the news of the market and look at factors such as any historical data, global economic conditions, upcoming announcements, and supply and demand news that will affect stock prices. We also do research and calculations to find potential trades for our portfolio.

    Figure out the game

    For investment advisors, it is imperative to try to beat the index and produce “alpha” (returns higher than the benchmark). Portfolio theory states that the optimal portfolio is comprised of diversified stocks and bonds that create the highest returns with the lowest amount of risk. As we know, the market is anything but predictable. This is one of the reasons why investing is so appealing, because of its competitive nature. Professor Fleming simplifies investing by merely calling it a game. Thus, it is our job to figure out the game through research, analysis, and calculations to ultimately beat the game and make money. The class also goes into depth and focuses on futures, options, basic technical analysis, and portfolio construction.

    This class is one of a kind

    The fact that this class is real-world trading with real money and taught by Patrick Fleming truly makes this one of a kind. Professor Fleming has more than 30 years of experience in investments and management and has worked in Tokyo, Hong Kong, London, and New York. His experience and knowledge as well as commitment to business ethics are impressive. As a marketing major and finance minor, this class was not a requirement for my degree but I am so glad I took this opportunity. Portfolio Management and Professor Fleming have helped solidify my career path in becoming a financial advisor or stockbroker. Nowadays I catch myself immersed in “the game,” watching CNBC, and talking to family and friends about investments and the market. We are very fortunate to have such a program at the University of Wyoming College of Business.

    Does this class sound fun to you? Is this class something you wish you would have had? Comment below!