The ANU Student Managed Fund (SMF) is administrated by the ANU Research School of Finance, Actuarial Studies and Statistics (RSFAS). It enables students to assume responsibility for the management of real money of over $0.7million, while simultaneously earning course credit. The Fund supports the RSFAS Student Managed Fund Equity Scholarship.
The SMF was established with a generous donation from Russell Clark, an ANU alumnus who completed his Bachelor of Economics and Bachelor of Asian Studies in 2000 and is a Partner at Horseman Capital Management in the UK.
Additional donations were made by the family of the Student Managed Fund’s Investment Advisory Committee member and alumnus Andre Morony (MEc 1974), as well as course convenor Associate Professor Geoff Warren and CBE Advancement Manager, Kerry-Ann Hugo. All donations were matched by the RSFAS on behalf of the University.
The SMF effectively manages a small slice of the University endowment funds, in accordance with its own Charter and Governance Structure and University policy, including the University Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) policy.
Entry to the course (FINM3009/FINM6009 – Student Managed Fund) is competitive. Students interested in applying to the SMF can find out more here.
WHAT MAKES US SPECIAL?
The SMF invests towards a specific purpose of funding a scholarship and takes a long-term perspective instead of trying to beat a benchmark index. Our perspective is that of an institutional asset owner, rather than a fund manager.
We are set up like an investment organisation, with students involved in every aspect of managing the fund. This includes not just undertaking fundamental analysis of selected stocks and performing valuation work. It also involves asset allocation decisions, portfolio monitoring and reporting, pitching ideas to the Investment Advisory Committee, and communicating with outside parties. These activities occur under four sub-teams – Asset Allocation, Active Australian Equities, Risk and Compliance and Relationships; which are led by a Chief Investment Officer who is also a student.
A key component of the ANU SMF is socially responsible investing (SRI), which involves one of the most comprehensive policies employed by University Student-Managed Funds in Australia. Rather than just relying on industry exclusions and quantitative ESG ratings provided by external parties, our SMF SRI policy includes a governance structure, detailed review processes and the integration of SRI issues into company analysis- find out more.
The manner in which students are evaluated is unique. Contrary to conventional university courses, students are graded on the contribution they make to the legacy, the team, and working towards the Fund’s long-term objectives. Short-term performance is not a key focus. Students are rewarded for aspects like training, educating and assisting other team members, building a model or process that helps the fund operate more efficiently & effectively, and conducting research that supports better long-term decisions.
We operate with two overlapping cohorts. Students enter the Fund as juniors, who are mentored and guided by senior members, and the cycle continues. This generates a very unique culture and fosters great learning for both the senior and junior members. It helps provide continuity as students roll in and out of the Fund over two semesters. It allows students to take on rewarding leadership roles which gives them the opportunity to pass down knowledge and insights onto new junior members.
The SMF is a transformative experience for students. It not only by facilitates a real-world experience that is the epitome of authentic learning, but it challenges them to embrace a purpose and take responsibility for pursuing it. This is not only personally rewarding but can also enhance opportunities for internships and graduate positions as they pursue their careers. The deep learning experience provided through SMF truly encapsulates the skills one would gain undertaking an internship position within the Finance industry.
FIVE KEY VALUES
The five key values provide an overarching framework to guide students' activities within the Student Managed Fund. Each value should be at the core of decision making, behaviours, and actions. Additionally, the five key values provide a framework for the assessment of students as an official RSFAS course. To find out more, please read below.
Team members are encouraged to leave a legacy by furthering the Fund’s progress. A legacy mindset helps focus students on using their tenure with the Fund to build for the future. This supports the Fund as a vehicle for creating its own legacy through its philanthropic activities, equipping students with valuable industry skills, and building a pool of connected alumni who may want to give back in the future creating a ‘virtuous loop’.
All team members are expected to contribute to both the Fund's legacy and team efforts. This may be expressed through senior members training junior members, supporting other team members or activities, building on investment processes, adding new insights, or enhancing the profile of the fund. Contribution towards long-term objectives is primary. Performance during tenure is secondary.
The SMF operates as a single team, comprised of sub-teams and team members. Team members are asked to consider the team first, participate in collaboration and sharing, and engage in team discussions based around ‘respectful contestability’.
All actions should be directed toward three objectives, set out in the SMF Charter and Governance Structure. These are: (A) Learning: building understanding and capability in fund management, ability to communicate and advocate an investment case, and operating in a team environment. (B) Investment: generate returns at least equal to the sum of the scholarship distribution rate and the inflation rate. (C) Developmental: build engagement between ANU, alumni, and industry; and attract additional donations.
The SMF is a long-term fund, with the aim of maintaining (or increasing) the real value of funds invested to support philanthropic activities in perpetuity. Students are asked to adopt a long-term frame of mind being concerned only with long-term outcomes and to see through the short-term noise and market fluctuations. Investment risk is seen as related to permanent loss of value, with a primary consideration being whether an investment will deliver its expected cash flows over the long run.