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Investing group hopes to educate members

The McIntire Investment Institute (MII) will focus on attracting and retaining members by enhancing their knowledge of the stock market and introducing new forecasting techniques.

Founded in 1994 by former Commerce student John Griffin, the McIntire Investment Institute holds weekly meetings to discuss stock options and invest in various companies. With Griffin's generous $100,000 donation, students can actually carry out their investing plans and play the market.

Unfortunately, the perception of this organization as a club for Commerce students scared away many underclassmen who had little or no background in finance.

Fourth year Commerce student and current MII president, Wolfy Joffe, said, "I attended meetings as a first-year, feeling intimidated and lost."

Though the majority of members tend to come from the Commerce school, leaders in MII wish to attract students from various academic backgrounds. To help propel this push towards a more diverse group, MII now designates the second meeting of the school year to learning some basic investing skills.

"[By] taking our meeting on the 14th and devoting it to education, we hope to maintain a higher level of first and second-year involvement than in years past," Joffe said.

"Everyone has great ideas, . . . but it's important to understand the processes through which one can develop those ideas," he added.

Aside from the initial educational meeting, MII will also allocate the first minutes of each successive meeting to a "fundamental of week". Led by an upperclassman, these brief lessons focus on increasingly complex investing skills and financial concepts.

MII members said they hope first - and second - year students will then take these skills and pass them on to future members.

Jay Lasus, fourth-year College student and Information Officer of the fund, wants anyone to feel free to join MII.

"We want to get some new blood. It's not necessary to be an expert when you start."

"Through education, someday they'll be the ones leading MII," he added.

Third-year College student, Michelle Devereux, attended her first MII meeting last Tuesday and did not feel intimidated.

"I just have an interest in investing . . . so I went to the meeting," Devereux said.

"Members were really open to having new people there with new ideas and opinions on how stocks could be managed," she said.

In addition to educating its members, MII just created the Short Committee, a team of nine students in charge of investigating short positions for the fund.

"The Short Committee teaches students about the mechanism of a short sell and provides them with a tool to make money if the stock is a bad pick," Professor Patrick Dennis said.

Dennis is a faculty manager of the fund and oversees the group's activities with Commerce Prof. Randy Smith.

The Short Committee targets members capable of making more difficult and risky investing decisions. Students must undergo an application process in order to be selected.

"The Short Committee was designed for those students who wished to maintain their active involvement in the MII but [want to] step up to the level at which they could challenge themselves," says Joffe.

MII hopes to appeal to all types of students who share an interest in stocks. Instead of enrolling in a finance class, MII provides students with "another avenue to learn about investments," Dennis said.

The McIntire Investment Institute meets weekly on Tuesday nights at 5pm in Monroe Hall, Rm. 124.