11/12/09

This Club Pays Big Dividends

Imagine being given $20,000 to invest as a 20-year-old. If you bought stocks and invested in nothing else over the next 47 years, you could reasonably expect to have more than $1 million by retirement.

Of course, that hinges on making smart investments—like those made by Moravian's Amrhein Investment Club since its inception 47 years ago. Established in 1962 with a gift of $20,000 donated by Mr. And Mrs. Irving Amrhein, the Amrhein Investment Fund has grown to more than $1.3 million and is one of the largest student-run funds in the country. Each year, a portion of the fund's income is used for student financial aid; most years, the club contributes $10,000 toward the Amrhein Scholars awards.


"Amrhein members tend to get the jobs, even when competing against schools like Princeton," said Professor Ravelle, club advisor for the last 15 years.


Ravjot Chana '11, Vince Pelosi '10, Jessica Rosato '11, and Stephen Cunningham '13 research recent performance of DeVry, Inc., held by the Amrhein Club's growth fund. Club members report their findings at weekly meetings. Photos: John Kish IV

By managing the $1 million-plus portfolio, students learn how to make money. Even after the stock market plunged in 2008, Amrhein losses were not catastrophic (the portfolio was about $1.5 million at its peak). The club manages growth, balance, income, and small-cap funds by closely monitoring company news and financial reports. Fund committees then report back to the group at weekly meetings. Individual members make presentations on potential investments, and members decide together when to buy and sell. The club averages 30 to 35 members of all majors.

Employment Report

The dividends of club participation are much more than financial, says club advisor Linda Ravelle, associate professor of economics and business. Students also develop skills in research, public speaking, and leadership—all essential for success in business and most other careers.

That translates to real-world jobs, say alums who have been part of the club. "Amrhein members tend to get the jobs, even when competing against graduates of schools like Princeton," said Professor Ravelle, who has been club advisor for 15 years. "Many of our recent alumni work in the finance industry in New York City."

Several weeks ago the club traveled to New York to network with Moravian Amrhein alums, including Moravian College trustee Michael M. Ellis '72, in the Czech Republic Cultural Center. Professor Ravelle estimates the club has almost 500 alums nationwide. (The club seeks to strengthen connection to Amrhein alumni; alumni who participated in the Amrhein Club may contact Corey Koenig '11, club president, at stcck01@moravian.edu.)

Stock Tips

So what's the next big Google, we ask. "Nobody is sure what the market will do," says Corey Koenig. "The key to long-term growth is to invest in stable companies like Proctor & Gamble and Johnson & Johnson, which our club owns. They are doing extremely well.

"And take calculated risks. We conduct a ton of research before making any investments using Investor's Toolkit software, Yahoo Finance, Value Line, and other online news outlets."