The first and only electronic financial trading room located on a Tennessee college or university campus opened today at Belmont University bringing Wall Street to Belmont Boulevard for students learning investment and portfolio management.
The financial information laboratory is equipped with the latest technology including a nine-foot data wall, a 60-inch plasma monitor and a 12-foot ticker tape lighting up the back wall. There are 14 workstations with which to access and analyze financial data, plus a Bloomberg station with licensed Bloomberg hardware and software, for a total of 15 workstations. Each is designated as a Seat on the Trading Floor of the Belmont Exchange. Students began taking classes in the lab on Tuesday, January 25 at 9:30 a.m.
Working under the supervision of Dr. Joe Smolira and John Gonas (pictured at left), assistant professors in finance, College of Business Administration undergraduates will participate in the management of about $450,000 in investments for the Tennessee Valley Authority. Smolira and Gonas will make the trades on behalf of the students.
Construction for the new lab was recently completed on the first floor of Belmont’s Jack C. Massey Business Center with seed money provided by R. Clayton McWhorter and Stuart McWhorter.
“Wall Street comes to Belmont Boulevard thanks to the McWhorters, who have generously provided us with the start-up funds to build out the space for this exciting new project,” said Patrick Raines, Ph.D., Dean and Professor of Economics at Belmont’s College of Business. “In addition, we will be seeking ongoing operational sponsorships from the local financial community, which benefits from hiring Belmont College of Business Administration graduates every year.”
For the past five years, undergraduate and graduate students have managed a “live portfolio” under the direction of Smolira. The Bruin Fund manages $450,000 allocated by the TVA, and last year the students reaped a 29 percent return. Most have taken investment classes in Belmont’s business program.
“Creating this high-tech electronic trading room on our campus is consistent with Belmont’s focus on providing real world experience for our students,” said Raines. “The new lab will allow students to get a better feel for the pace and activity level on Wall Street as they access online information usually only available to professional asset managers. The lab, along with the theory taught in both the undergraduate and graduate schools, will help us continue to educate well-trained graduates in the area of investment management and security valuations,” he said.
Belmont University is the only private university in Tennessee with both its undergraduate and graduate business program accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International).
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