The fund that has everyone stunned

Captains’ Educational Enrichment Fund beats the stock market in 2018, is on track to do so again in 2019

After the worst year in nearly a decade, many investors came out of 2018 with a significant loss while underperforming the S&P 500 index. Although the Captains’ Educational Enrichment Fund (CEE Fund), a student-run investment team at Christopher Newport University, was no exception, they still managed to beat the market in their university invested endowment portfolio.

At the end of 2018, the fund had roughly $200,000 in assets under management, up more than 176 percent since 2015, made possible with the help of smart investment decisions and generous donations. In fact, at the end of 2018, their endowment portfolio beat the S&P 500, their chosen benchmark by 78 basis points or 0.78 percent. They have also performed roughly in line with the market year to date posting a 14.89 percent return.

This is a tremendous milestone that many funds find difficult to claim. According to SPIVA scorecard data, 64.49 percent of fund managers have underperformed the market in 2018. In addition, 85 percent of fund managers have underperformed the market in the last ten years, according to CNBC.

The CEE Fund provides students with an opportunity that prepares them for life in business and finance outside of the classroom.

The fund was able to outperform the market due to investment pitches and current holdings analysis conducted by its members. The Executive Board’s focus on streamlining investment processes and narrowing the endowment portfolios holdings also contributed to their success.

“This semester, we have been working vigorously to trim our portfolio in terms of holdings to reach our target of 21-24 total equity positions, while also properly adjusting the weightings of our Exchange Traded Funds,” said Justin Corlett, Chief Executive Officer of the CEE Fund. “While doing this, we have maintained our focus on balancing our sector exposure to the areas that we are the most bullish on. As this trimming process has gone on, our Portfolio Management Committee has become vastly more competitive in terms of taking on new positions, and very calculated when determining what positions to cut.”

What is the CEE Fund?

The Captains’ Educational Enrichment Fund is a student-run investment fund at CNU that manages a portion of the school’s endowment fund. The CEE Fund currently has more than $200,000 under management across two portfolios. The Fund provides a hands-on experience to teach students the ins and outs of managing a real-dollar investment portfolio and non-profit organization. It currently funds a scholarship with future ambitions to donate more money to student-initiatives and scholarships.

The CEE Fund is divided into three teams: Investment, Finance and Operations.

The Investment Team pitches new stocks to add to the portfolio.

The Finance Team conducts a current holdings analysis and makes a recommendation to PMC (Portfolio Management Committee) on what to keep or sell.

The Operations Team manages the operational side such as outreach, alumni and community relations, the website and social media. 

In order for a student to join, they must go through a competitive application process at the beginning of either the fall or spring semesters. The CEE Fund is open to any student from any major and meets every Wednesday night. Individuals can reach out to the CEE Fund through The Compass for information regarding the application process. 

~Gabriel Rakoski, Staff Writer~

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