The Garrison Financial Institute is an institute organized within the Sam M. Walton College of Business to advance financial education and knowledge through practice. Its mission is to enhance student learning through experience, foster research that extends and perfects best practices, and contribute to the economic development of the State of Arkansas and the welfare of its citizens.
The Institute was founded in 2005 with a $2 million gift from the Garrison Family to help build a nationally competitive financial services industry in the State of Arkansas. An additional $2 million was provided through the Matching Gift Program, made possible by the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation's $300 million gift to the University of Arkansas. Both grants combined to form the $4 million endowment for the Garrison Chair in Finance, which supports investment research and funds the Garrison Financial Institute.
The mission of the Garrison Financial Institute is to advance financial education and knowledge through practice.
Through its activities, the institute seeks to enhance student learning through experience, foster research that extends and perfects best practices, and contribute to the economic development of the State of Arkansas and the welfare of its citizens.
Strategic Alliances CFA, CMT, Bloomberg and the Global Financial Markets Center
We continued to develop our strategic partnership with the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Society of Arkansas. Through this partnership, we provided scholarships and academic support to students. Garrison Financial Institute obtained scholarships from the CFA Society of Arkansas for students enrolling in the CFA level I exam. Each scholarship covered the exam enrollment fees and books. Eight scholarships worth $810 each were obtained for a total of $6,480. Institute staff also taught a CFA level I exam preparatory class.
Garrison Financial Institute obtained scholarship funds from the Market Technicians Association preparing students to take the Chartered Market Technician (CMT) certification. The donation, valued at over $10,000 included practice exams, quiz cards, and access to the Market Technicians Association knowledge base, educational web/podcast series, archives, library, books and DVDs. Institute staff also taught a CMT exam preparatory class.
The Global Financial Markets Center is a state-of-the-art classroom equipped with over 60 computer workstations where students learn finance using the latest software and real-time market data. Institute staff train and support students using Bloomberg software because Bloomberg proficiency is a skill desired by potential employers. By agreeing to purchase an additional Bloomberg terminal, the Institute secured a donation of 12 free terminals over 2 years. This in-kind donation is worth $228,960 per year and $457, 920 over two years.
Advisory Board, Speakers and PIMCO Videoconference
Garrison Financial Institute connects students' to industry through our advisory board and guest speakers. At the fall 2010 board meeting, students participated in an investment competition judged by advisory board members. Guest speaker Teri Frisch, PIMCO Senior Vice President, offered a videoconference with Mohamed El-Erian, CEO and Co-CIO of PIMCO, the worlds' largest fixed income manager, as first prize. Dr. El-Erian is also a noted author, frequent commentator on CNBC, and a thought leader in the world of finance. Ms. Frisch, along with her colleague, PIMCO Senior Vice President Jeff Springer, also interviewed students while on campus. Graduating senior Adam Marden accepted an analyst position after his third interview at PIMCO's New York City office. The winning team, along with, Adam Marden and Professors Wayne Y. Lee, Daniel Pu Liu, and Craig Rennie took part in a videoconference with Dr. El-Erian on April 20, 2011. View more information and view the videoconference.
Joseph Boskus, Vice President, Merrill Lynch Global Wealth Management, spoke to 93 students and faculty members on March 10, 2011, about career opportunities in finance.
Gordon Massie author of "The Whistleblower's Dilemma: Confronting Fraud at AIG," which tells the story of exposing corporate fraud, and his rise and fall in the world of finance, spoke to over 130 students, Garrison Financial Institute advisory board members, faculty, and members of the public on April 28 and 29, 2011. The Arkansas Democrat Gazette featured his presentation on the front page of the business section on April 29, 2011.
Student Managed Funds, Student Placements and Internships
Under the faculty mentorship of Professors Wayne Y. Lee, Daniel Pu Liu, and Craig Rennie, Garrison Financial Institute oversees five student managed funds totaling over $10.7 million. The Rebsamen Trust has returned 33% for the latest one-year period, outperforming both the Russell 1000 which returned 27% and the S&P 500 which returned 26%.
The hands-on experience students' gain by managing these funds gives them a significant advantage in the job market. The average starting salary for finance majors graduating this spring was $49,250 versus $47,110 for all majors.
Student career placement remained strong. Students received job offers from Colgate Palmolive, Conoco Phillips, HSBC Investment Bank (New York), McDonals Systems (New York), Pettus Office Supplies, PIMCO (New York), PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Raymond James Bank (2) (Florida), Stephens Inc. (2) (Dallas and Little Rock), Tyson Foods, and Walmart.
Students had internships with these prestigious organizations: Ability Software, Arkansas Securities Department (Little Rock), Arvest Bank (Operations), Bank of the Ozarks, Colgate Palmolive, Garrison Asset Management, HSBC Investment Bank (New York), Longer Investments, Meridian Investment Advisors, Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc., Morgan Keegan, Northwestern Mutual Financial Advisors, Quattlebaum, Grooms Tull & Borrow PLC, Raymond James Financial, Sagent Advisors (Charlotte, NC), Stephens Inc., Tyson Foods, and Walmart.
Garrison Financial Institute provided $32,000 (through the Rebsamen Trust) to students for networking trips to New York City and Dallas.
Garrison Financial Institute provided a $500 award to 22 students travelling to New York City in October 2010. Students visited Garrison Financial Institute board members and alumni Mary Harmon at Goldman Sachs; Brian Green at J.P. Morgan; and Mario Ramirez at TIAA-CREF. Garrison Financial Institute board member and alumnus Jay Green IV hosted a networking cocktail reception for students and alumni at the prestigious Union League Club of New York. Alumni Craig Cox hosted students at Wells Fargo and Andy Blau hosted students at Stephens Inc. Students also visited Oppenheimer Securities, Market Technicians Association, Momentum Trading Partners, Museum of American Finance, and the New York Stock Exchange. In partnership with Walton College alumni relations, the Institute held a dinner for alumni and students at Vice Aversa Restaurant to thank our gracious New York City hosts.
Garrison Financial Institute provided a $1,000 award to 21 students travelling to Dallas in March 2011. Students visited Garrison Financial Institute board members and alumni Barry Davidson at Equity Momentum Fund LLP, Jonathan B. Deweese at Luther King Capital Management, and Mario Ramirez at TIAA-CREF. Students also visited potential employers AXA Advisors, Alvarez & Marsal, BNP Paribas, Entrust Capital Advisors, FTN Financial, PBS Capital, Stephens Inc., and Whitehorse Capital. Alumnus John Reap, Retired CEO of Town North Bank also visited with our students.
In partnership with Walton College alumni relations, we held a reception for alumni and students at the Crescent Club to thank our generous Dallas hosts.