USF St. Petersburg and Bank of America Announce Half Million Dollar Investment in Kate Tiedemann College of Business
Grant to Support Merrill Lynch Wealth Management Center and Create Financial Literacy Programs
(March. 1, 2018) – The Bank of America Charitable Foundation awarded the University of South Florida St. Petersburg (USFSP) a $500,000 grant to support a state-of the-art venue for students to analyze stocks, assess investment opportunities and apply skills learned in class to manage wealth. The venue, named the Merrill Lynch Wealth Management Center, is within the Kate Tiedemann College of Business.
Half of the $500,000 grant will go towards operating the Merrill Lynch Wealth Management Center. The other half will support financial literacy initiatives. These include a finance academy for high school students, programs on budget management for college students and social security and retirement workshops for the greater St. Petersburg community. The initiatives will be modeled after Bank of America’s Better Money Habits® curriculum.
“Bank of America and USF St. Petersburg share a mission of supporting the development of young people in the business world,” said Bill Goede, Tampa Bay president, Bank of America. “This new initiative will allow students to take control of their personal finances – and good financial planning equals a bright future.”
Utilizing data on public companies and real money from a student management investment fund, the Center provides the venue for teams of students to make compelling stock valuations and presentations, earning the right to have their suggested stocks purchased. Such programs and student-managed funds have become signature elements of many top-flight business schools around the country and are an invaluable training tool for aspiring financial professionals.
“Finance students want to get hands-on experience with investments while in school so they are fully prepared to assist clients when they enter the job market,” said Sridhar Sundaram, Dean of USF St Petersburg’s Kate Tiedemann College of Business. “This investment will allow us to operate a program that will do just that and is a very significant commitment by Bank of America to our current students and future graduates.”
“We are truly grateful to the Bank of America Foundation for making this corporate gift that strengthens USF St. Petersburg and the entire USF System,” said Joel Momberg, USF Foundation CEO. “Their generosity will prepare our finance students well for highly competitive financial careers once they graduate.”
The Center will have resources and technology utilized by financial experts around the world. It features a custom-designed trading room equipped with computers that have extended monitors for vital split-screen display, the Bloomberg Professional Services platform and a LED ticker that stream the latest stock market information and public data powered by St. Petersburg company Intrinio.
The Center will offer students a state-of-the-art venue to analyze stocks, refine investment pitches and apply skills learned in class towards managing clients’ actual wealth.
“Our obligation as a university is to provide pathways for students to be successful by equipping them with the right facilities, tools and technologies needed to learn and apply new skills for their future career. We will continue to invest in infrastructure and programs like the Wealth Management Center for our students to excel,” said Martin Tadlock, USF St. Petersburg Interim Regional Chancellor.
The initial class to utilize the Center will begin this upcoming fall. Around 20 students will take part in a two-semester finance and investment analysis course, taught by USF St. Petersburg faculty with the assistance of outside advisors who have fund management expertise.
Students will learn portfolio management while overseeing the Kate Tiedemann Student Management Investment Fund. The fund was seeded by an initial gift of $250,000 from Kate Tiedemann and Ellen Cotton and matched by a $250,000 investment by Lynn Pippenger.
“We are very grateful for the Bank of America Foundation’s support of our students and of the St. Petersburg community,” said USF System President Judy Genshaft. “Kate Tiedemann, Ellen Cotton and Lynn Pippenger have done so much to advance USF St. Petersburg and our students, and this new gift is another critical investment in our efforts to prepare students for career success.”
The student-managed fund, which is very similar to a mutual fund, will play a significant role in bridging the gap between finance theory and investment practice. Students will identify and employ strategies to achieve a goal for the fund, and then be able to defend why they are investing in specific securities or commodities. They will meet with an advisory group every quarter to receive feedback, defend decisions and be held accountable for those decisions.
Sundaram expects demand for the Wealth Management Center and the course associated with it to grow, especially with its location in Tampa Bay.
“This region is a hotspot for the financial services industry, and there is a high demand for workers with financial and investment knowledge and know how. The Merrill Lynch Wealth Management Center is where we will prepare our students to learn and apply these skills for corporate finance, financial planning and investments,” Sundaram said.