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RIC’s “Money Team’’ members, from left, Pedro Nimaja Morales, O’Key Casey, Esteban Giraldo, Melissa Lemoine and Brian Conley. Members not pictured are Kelvin Lopes and Benjamin Marchand.

At the suggestion of RIC School of Business Dean Jeffrey Mello, seven finance majors teamed up in October to become the first RIC students to enter the Adirondack Cup, a stock-trading contest designed for undergraduates interested in financial services careers.

“I knew firsthand the kind of unique, hands-on experiential learning opportunity this contest would provide for our students,’’ said Mello, noting that RIC is the only school in the state participating in the competition.

Created six years ago, the Adirondack Cup’s goal is to provide a setting for students to test their investment research skills tracking hypothetical investments in businesses not widely covered by analysts and the news media.

The contest requires teams from participating Northeast schools to create and manage a mock $1 million portfolio of five small cap stocks of the team’s choosing for six months. Small cap stocks are defined as publicly traded companies that have a market capitalization ranging from $300 million to about $2 billion.

When the competition ends on April 16, the team that emerges with the best return on their stock portfolio wins, earning an opportunity to attend a luncheon with professional fund managers from the Adirondack Small Cap Fund (ADKSX) and a potential chance for internships. Other schools with teams vying for the cup include Temple University, Ithaca College and Stonehill College.

Dubbed the “Money Team,’’ this group consists of students Pedro Nimaja Morales, O’Key Casey, Esteban Giraldo, Melissa Lemoine, Brian Conley, Kelvin Lopes and Benjamin Marchand. They’ve seen their fortunes soar and dip, just like the stock market, as the six-month competition inches past the halfway mark.

Each week, cup officials release results about how the schools’ portfolios are performing. The Money Team got off to a fast start, ranking second among the 24 teams after the first three weeks of competition. Due to the volatility of small cap stocks, the team’s ranking fell to 19th. However, in recent weeks the team members have staged a mighty comeback after reshuffling their stocks, currently sitting in fifth place. 

RIC Assistant Professor of Finance and Finance Lab Director Kemal Saatcioglu, who serves as the Money Team’s advisor, said the team’s extensive methodology for selecting stocks in their portfolio was impressive. As the competition’s rules dictated, each stock selected had to come from a different sector, such as technology, health care or consumer goods.
“The Money Team approached their stock selection like any professional fund management team would,’’ Saatcioglu said. “They researched and screened industries and stocks using Bloomberg professional software in the Finance Lab. They finalized their stock selections with each member making short stock pitches for at least two stocks in their assigned sectors and voted on their final five stock selections. To top it all, they used portfolio optimization techniques they learned in FIN 432: Investments and FIN 447: Financial Modeling to determine the allocations to each of the stocks.”

Money Team member and senior finance major Melissa Lemoine said the experience has been invaluable.

“I like that I’ve become more familiar with the Bloomberg technology, and honestly that was one of the reasons why I wanted to become a team member,’’ Lemoine said. “I’m excited about how beneficial this experience will be in my future.’’

Fellow senior and Money Team captain Pedro Nimaja Morales said he has used many strategies, theories and methodologies learned in previous finance courses to prepare the team’s stock portfolio for the competition.

“Being exposed to this level of competition is definitely a plus,’’ he said. “I can see how real microeconomic factors impact the returns on the stock market.’’  

Mello echoed that sentiment.

“Small cap investing is highly volatile and the Adirondack Cup competition greatly complements RIC’s already strong investment management curriculum in a manner available in only a select, chosen number of business schools,’’ he said.

To see weekly updates that show the Money Team’s standings in the contest, visit here​.​