Brooks' Investment Club isn't playing. After more than six months of careful research, consideration and counsel, last week the group put $10,000 in seed money donated by an alum this summer into the stock market, opening them up to real-world risk.
"We took our time to figure out what we wanted to do," said club officer Jason Gold '18. "Although we know the markets are at all-time highs, we invested in a few companies in the financial, technology, biotechnology, and energy sectors because of our long-term horizon." Their strategy? "Dollar-cost averaging over the next five months, leaving 7.5 percent in cash," said Gold.
The 25-student club, dedicated to learning about the basics of stock investment, selected their stocks by consensus. After dividing into four groups, each group proposed buying various stocks, discussed their options with the club and they created one proposal, which they ran by Brooks School Chief Financial Officer Paul Griffin.
"Then we revised it and perfected the fund allocations," said Niko Price '17, head of the club this year. Their portfolio now is comprised of 45 percent financials with stocks including JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, U.S. Bank, Technology Sector ETF, Regional Banking ETF, Pfizer Inc. and Exxon Mobil.
"To invest with real money gives you a feeling of really being invested in what you're doing," said fellow club officer Ollie Gorham '17.
Gold, Gorham and Price insist that their group's investment fever has been catching on around campus too. "I've had lots of people approach me and ask how they can get involved," said Gorham. "That's what's great about this club, as we're teaching ourselves about investing we're teaching others at the same time."
The club hosts virtual, online investment games for students to participate in and runs a companion website, currently off-line for an update, which shares investment information. "We wanted to make our club part of a learning experience for the community," said Price, who took a summer school class in finance last year at Harvard University. "So at meetings we help people set up the [investment] game, give advice and support people to learn individual strategies."
Each of the club's leaders has had a mentor that they've learned from as well. "My dad is a portfolio manager at an investment firm in Boston, and he introduced investing to me when I was 10 years old," said aspiring college finance major Gorham. "I remember I invested in Boeing when the stock price was at $70. It's very helpful to have a person to talk with about investing."
Ditto for Gold. "My dad works in finance and I ask him questions," he said. "Ever since I was in fourth grade, I've had a passion for finance and investing." Gold also seeks out his own answers, checking in on the markets daily and crunching numbers. "I love analyzing trends and positioning myself for the future," he added. "I really enjoy doing research and delving into companies too."
Price's interest in all-things-financial began with talks he had with his grandfather. "He passed away in September but I was able to give him the last [information] brochure that the club put together," said Price. "It was really special to me to share that with him."
Having worked at summer jobs last year — at a restaurant, a catering company and on a political campaign — the trio knows the value of a dollar. "We recognize that we're very fortunate to have the means to be able to do this," said Gold.
And it's an opportunity that they have no intention of squandering. "Our ultimate goal is to grow the fund," said Gorham. "We want to come back in 10 years and see that it's a lot more and is sustainable."