Brian Bruce may spend his days as director of global investments at PanAgora Asset Management Inc., Boston, but one night a week, his mind is in Texas - Waco - where he teaches investment management to students at Baylor University.
Fortunately, video conferencing technology saves him the 2,000-mile commute.
Mr. Bruce, a 21-year veteran of the money management industry, has taught classes at Brandeis University, Waltham, Mass., and was a full-time professor for three years at the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.
He's worked at State Street Global Advisors, Boston, and Northern Trust, Chicago; and he launched his own firm, Dana Investment Advisors in Dallas, before joining PanAgora in 2000. While at SMU, Mr. Bruce was one of the founders of the Association of Student Managed Investment Programs, a group of colleges and universities with programs that allow students to run endowment money.
When Baylor decided to launch an investment management program for students in 2000, they asked Mr. Bruce to design it. Then they asked him to teach it - even though he had moved to Boston to join PanAgora. "As a practitioner, they thought I was uniquely qualified," said Mr. Bruce.
His class of 13 students runs the Philip M. Dorr and Alumni endowment, a fund with about $400,000 in assets used to endow programs at Baylor.
Each class starts by discussing a different investment topic, but most of the time is spent managing money. Students make formal presentations on stocks they research, complete with industry analysis and analyst remarks, and then try to sell the class on their selections. After the presentations are made, the class collectively decides whether to make a change to the portfolio, which typically holds about 24 stocks. "That's when we get into the critical analysis session," said Mr. Bruce. "We act as an investment committee and make sure they are recommending a good stock."
Like any money manager, the class makes a formal presentation at the end of the year to the fund's board of directors. "They were about as professional as the money managers that come in," he said.
Judging by the numbers, the class appears to have passed the performance test. Since its inception in January 2001 through April 29, the end of the recent spring semester, the portfolio has returned -2.2%. For the same time period, the benchmark Standard & Poor's 500 indes, was down 16.1%. The board is so pleased with the performance, it increased the endowment by another $600,000 for the fall semester, bringing the assets up to $1 million.