Volunteer Spotlight Archives

    Volunteer Spotlight | April 2015

    Southern Classic Research Challenge Judges

    The Atlanta Society of Finance and Investment Professionals has just wrapped up year 7 of hosting the Research Challenge, and Rex Macey has been a Final Round Judge for each of those seven events. For the first year, there were only Atlanta schools involved but since 2010 Atlanta has partnered variously with South Carolina, Tennessee and Alabama.  David Allison, President of CFA South Carolina and committed to promoting the Challenge among South Carolina schools, arranged for Kendall Anderson to come from South Carolina to join the panel in Year 2.  Aki Pampush came on board a year later in 2011, and this triumvirate reigned until 2014, when more judges were added as the number of teams in the final round increased.   Anuja Singha joined the gang in 2014 and Randy Loving in 2015.

    The original triumvirate - L-R:  Kendall Anderson, CFA, Rex Macey, CFA, Aki Pampush, CFA

    Rex Macey has been volunteering in various roles with the Society since he got his charter in 1986, including teaching - the ASFA’s Foundations of Investing and later CFA exam review courses, serving as Trustee on the Society’s Board and currently on the Strategic Advisory Board. He stresses the importance of networking and advocates continuing education and promoting local CFA member societies.  Being an active volunteer member is how he fulfils this objective.  Pondering the growth and success of the Research Challenge over the time of his tenure as judge brings to mind other ideas for collaboration between local societies and universities and/or the public, and more fun networking opportunities – how about stock market trivia/”Jeopardy” type competitions, or our own local “Shark Tank”?

    Rex P. Macey, CFA is Chief Allocation Officer for Wilmington Trust Investment Advisors, the investment advisory arm of M&T Bank. He is a senior member of the firm’s Investment Strategy Team.  Before joining Wilmington Trust, he served as the director of research at KPMG Investment Advisors, where he led the development of investment policies and asset allocation research. Earlier, he was chief investment officer for American Financial Advisors, LLC, and developed the only financial software program that projects future wealth by using Monte Carlo simulation to model both investment and mortality risk. Macey is also a co-founder of Möbius Group, a leading third-party provider of information on money managers.  He holds an MBA from Kenan-Flagler Business School and earned a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from Vanderbilt University.

    Kendall Anderson rode his Moto Guzzi  Norge  motor bike from Rock Hill, SC - where he’s the only CFA charterholder -  to Atlanta in 2010 to join the panel, and he’s done the trip on his bike every year except this one (the bike needs work, he says).  That trip from Rock Hill, SC to Atlanta is a leisurely drive compared to the thousands of miles he rode during the Iron Butt Rally in 2013. Judging the smart kids in the Research Challenge at the end of it might move the balance a little bit though. Kendall is a long time board and society member of CFA South Carolina and credits David Allison for getting South Carolina involved in the Challenge and finding good people to carry the torch.  He is gratified to notice great improvement in the quality of the event over time. 

    Kendall J. Anderson, CFA, is President of Anderson Griggs Investments in Rock Hill, SC, where his family firm provides “Common Sense Portfolio Management for Intelligent Investors”.  He is proud to have his son and daughter working in the business with him.

    Aki Pampush got involved with volunteering through the Research Challenge. She enjoys coming back every year as a judge and has great appreciation for what today’s students are capable of.  Their commitment and the quality of their work is definitely worthy of our support in the Challenge, she says.  And one way to support the students more, she suggests, is to make the oral presentation longer.  Currently teams have only ten minutes to make their case to the judges.  She suggests increasing the time to 15 minutes to allow three distinct five-minute segments covering:  1) company and industry, 2) financial analysis and 3) overall recommendation.

    Aki Pampush, CFA overseas Equity Investment Strategy for the Private Wealth Management division of SunTrust Bank.  She holds both the Certified Public Accountant and Chartered Financial Analyst designations.  A graduate of the University of North Carolina, Aki has been with the SunTrust organization for over 20 years.

    Anuja Singha got her PhD in Economics at Emory University.  As a graduate student, she enjoyed teaching and helping students.  After having spent 17 years in the asset management industry, she is excited to be volunteering to work with students and universities through ASFIP.  Volunteering in education with ASFIP – liaison with Georgia State University, grading reports for the Americas Regional Research Challenge, and judging the Southern Classic Challenge – provide additional exposure to university life.  Her work on the panel with the other judges has been a great enjoyment, she says, as that is another avenue to work with students and bring her experience in the industry to help and inspire those who want to pursue a career in the financial industry.

    Anuja Singha, PhD, CFA is a Senior Investment Analyst at Herndon Capital Management, where she focuses on international and emerging market equities. Prior to joining Herndon she spent 16 years at Invesco, in various roles in risk management, quantitative research, Developed and Emerging market equity investments as well as Head of Small Cap Equity and Head of Equity Valuation Model.

    Randy Loving has had numerous volunteer roles with ASFIP.  Currently a Trustee of the Board, he has also been involved in University Liaison, and as both report grader and judge on the Research Challenge.  He has fun volunteering, he says.  And thinking back to some advice he got which set him on the investment/finance/CFA charterholder path, he thinks it is incumbent upon us professionals to be supportive of anyone willing to put in the extra effort at this student level to take the CFA path.  This includes ensuring that student teams learn from and act on the feedback they receive from graders in order to improve their presentations, and doing all we can to help improve “weaker” teams.

    James R. Loving, CFA is a Sector Portfolio Manager with information technology responsibilities at Silvant Capital.  Prior to that he was an Equity Analyst covering large cap equities at SunTrust’s Personal Asset Management division.  He earned his BSc in Economics from American University and his MBA in Finance from Emory University.

    The Atlanta Society of Finance and Investment Professionals is honored to spotlight the Research Challenge Final Round judges and  looks forward to continuing involvement with these and all other judges.  Thank you all for volunteering!

    L-R:  Rex Macey, CFA, Anuja Singha, PhD, CFA, Kendall Anderson, CFA, Randy Loving, CFA, Aki Pampush, CFA


     ASFIP Spotlight on Volunteers | December 2014

    Behind the Scenes of the Southern Classic Research Challenge with Grace Liao, Challenge Coordinator

    The Atlanta Society of Finance and Investment Professionals is in the midst of hosting its seventh annual Southern Classic Research Challengean event which only happens – and gets better each year – because of ASFIP’s dedicated volunteers. The competition provides university students from Georgia and nearby states with hands-on mentoring and intensive training in financial analysis. Students work in teams to research and analyze a publicly traded company, write a research report on their assigned company with a buy, sell, or hold recommendation, then present and defend their analysis to a panel of industry professionals. The winner of the Southern Classic advances to compete in a similar Americas Regional Research Challenge, and the three regional finalist teams (Americas, EMEA and Asia-Pacific) compete for the Global title. The 2015 Americas Regional and Global Research Challenges will take place here in Atlanta from April 15 – 17 at the Loews Hotel in Midtown.

    The Atlanta Society’s Research Challenge History

    It started because Vince Baria, President in 2008-09, was committed to bringing the Challenge to Atlanta. He had learned about the Challenge during the CFA Institute’s Society Leadership Conference in Washington DC in October 2007 when he was the Society’s Vice-President of Programs. Initially developed by the New York Society of Security Analysts for universities in the New York area, CFA Institute had just adopted and rolled out the event globally. During the spring of 2008, the Institute finished their second year of sponsoring the program, with 15 CFA Societies around the globe hosting 13 local challenges with over 80 universities participating. Vince had seen similar case competitions in graduate school and knew that hosting a local challenge would be a great way to increase awareness of the Society in the Atlanta academic and financial communities, promote best practices in equity research to the next generation and also offer smaller CFA Societies in the region (Atlanta is one of the larger societies in the region with approximately 1300 members) an opportunity to collaborate with Atlanta, share resources and host a larger, more competitive event. Atlanta was on board by year 3 of the global program, one of 34 local challenges hosted by 45 societies in 22 countries around the world.

    The first Southern Classic Research Challenge involved four Atlanta teams – Emory, Georgia State, Georgia Tech and UGA, with Georgia Tech taking the first title. While conversations with other Societies occurred during that first year, the proposed partnership did not get off the ground until the second year. Last year - February 2014 – there were 14 teams from Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama in the Southern Classic, one of the 93 local challenges hosted by 127 societies in 58 countries. The seventh annual Southern Classic Research Challenge will include 19 teams from Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama and the local final (oral presentations to panels of industry professionals) will be held on Saturday February 21, 2015 at the Georgia State University Campus in Alpharetta. All are welcome to this free event and registration details are at ASFIP.org.

    Bringing it all Together

    Vince is excited to see how well the Research Challenge has succeeded and is proud to have kicked it off, but he says its success has only been possible because of the legion of volunteers who have contributed so much through the years. The challenge uses volunteers for mentoring teams, grading written reports, judging oral presentations at the final, and the million and one things that need to be done behind the scenes from September through late February each year to make the event run smoothly. Bringing all this together is the job of the Research Challenge Committee, and especially the Challenge Coordinator. Each year the Committee must identify and secure a different publicly traded subject company for analysis, and recruit new and confirm previous participating universities, industry mentors, graders and judges. Chris Georgia did much of the organizing in the first year, and Craig Ruff was and still is instrumental in recruiting university teams. It is also thanks to Craig that ASFIP has access to the excellent space at Georgia State University’s Alpharetta campus for the finals venue.

    Establishing much of the organizational structure which still works well to this day, Joe Porter led the committee in the second and third years, with Sharon Margetson as Coordinator. Dustin Martin took over lead for the next year, followed by George Chen nd John Skinner in year 5, Steve Davenport and John Skinner in year 6 and this year John Skinner as Chair with Grace Liao as Challenge Coordinator.  

    Congratulations to Grace Liao, Volunteer Spotlight for December 2014

    Front, L-R:  R. Vincent Baria, CFA, Grace Liao, John Skinner, CFA.  Back, L-R: George Chen, CFA, CIPM, Sharon Margetson CFA, CIPM, Stephen Davenport, CFA, Dustin Martin, CFA, CPA. Photo: The Headshot Guy Atlanta.

    Grace joined the Atlanta Society in 2012 after passing Level 3 of the CFA exam. She immediately volunteered to help on the Research Challenge and her role on that project has steadily grown over time. She says she really enjoys volunteering and the added benefit is that it’s a good way to meet people.  Her volunteer history is testament to this – she started volunteering in her native Taiwan and continued after moving to Atlanta. In Taiwan she was involved with social service organizations whose goal was to improve education for Taiwanese aboriginal children and children of single-parent families.  In Atlanta she joined a Hands On Atlanta TeamWorks! project and helped out with communications and blogging for TEDx Peachtree. But the Research Challenge, she says, has probably been her most fulfilling volunteer experience to date. She explains that it is the most aligned with her career and she feels she has more skills, knowledge and passion to contribute to the Research Challenge than previous volunteer work. And that’s what Atlanta Society of Finance and Investment Professionals wants to provide – volunteer opportunities that engage members, align with our mission of education and offer great opportunities for networking. Volunteers are still needed on the Research Challenge – for all skill levels from timekeeping and registration on the day to working on the Challenge Committee or grading written reports. To volunteer on the Research Challenge or any other area, log into the member area of our website and complete a volunteer profile. 

    Grace Liao is currently a Senior Investments Compliance Analyst at UPS Investments Group, where she provides support with the compliance and governance obligations of the UPS Group Trust, a compilation of defined benefit plans with $28B AUM. In January she will be transitioning to Senior Investment Analyst in International Equity. Prior to joining UPS, Grace was a Senior Inspections Report Analyst at Public Company Accounting Oversight Board.

    Grace received a BBA in Finance from National Taiwan University in 2009. She was awarded a graduate full tuition scholarship by West Virginia University and graduated with a MSc in Finance in 2010. She has passed all three levels of the CFA Exam and will be eligible for award of the charter upon completion of the required work experience.

    In addition to her volunteer work coordinating the Research Challenge, Grace is beefing up her computer programming skills by learning Python. With the rest of her spare time Grace helps her husband Will, a Senior Mechanical Engineer at Coca-Cola, remodel the house they bought recently. When they are done with that project they will be able to get back to their regular hobbies, like getting a hundred or so miles logged on each outing on their road bikes. 

    ASFIP thanks Grace Liao for all she does for the Society.


    ASFIP Spotlight on Volunteers | September 2014

    Curtis and Marilyn Kimball, “Mr and Mrs CFA"

    The Kimballs have been volunteering with local societies and the CFA Institute for quite a long time, and they seem happy to keep on doing it!  The Atlanta Society of Finance and Investment Professionals is thankful for that, and very pleased to applaud Curtis and Marilyn as our first “Spotlight on Volunteers” honorees.  

    Marilyn recalls volunteering in Programs for the Atlanta Society in the mid-1980s and Curt was a Society Trustee in those days.  She says there was a notable spirit of volunteerism amongst the Atlanta financial community and an expectation that you’d “give back” but volunteering was always very fulfilling for her.  By the late 80s the Kimballs had relocated to Portland, and an encounter with Tom Bowman, then head of the CFA Program at the CFA Institute, resulted in both Marilyn and Curt “commandeered” as CFA exam graders.  They kept up the annual pilgrimage for over a decade, sometimes moving the whole household  to Charlottesville for a couple of weeks every summer.

    Meanwhile, back to Portland in the late 80s and early 90s - Curt had donned his Trustee hat again and was on the Portland Society board as Marilyn rose through the ranks to become Society President for the 1993/94 term.   By 1995 the Kimballs were back in Atlanta,  with Marilyn recruited back to the Atlanta Society as Trustee by Tom Martin, and Curt following up later as Membership Chair, or as he signs his society- related emails,  Our “Friendly Local Membership Chair”.  As well as being a highly effective Membership Chair for over 15 years, Curt is currently a Trustee, sharing his institutional knowledge and insight with the ASFIP Board of Trustees.  Marilyn stepped up again recently, recruited by Kathy Chrisman as a grader for our local Georgia/South Carolina/Alabama Southern Classic Research Challenge, and she continued grading student research reports for that competition for a number of years.

    When they’re not volunteering with us at ASFIP, they’re keeping busy elsewhere.  Marilyn has monthly Altar Guild duties at Holy Innocents’ Episcopal Church, is a longtime member and secretary of  two neighborhood book clubs,  is actively involved with ALTA and is a USTA ladies team captain.  Curt is also an avid tennis player and on an ALTA team,  and as a  volunteer member of the Investment Committee of the  American Society of Appraisers, oversees the  investment recommendations for their $1million-plus portfolio.

    On the subject of memorable CFA related stories, Curt remembers an incident while he was proctoring  the CFA exam in Portland.  The venue was a local college, and all went well for the morning session.  During the afternoon ,however, the summer band camp launched into full practice, no doubt startling the standard deviations out of those CFA candidates.  In any event, Curt was quickly able to persuade the band camp to continue their practice elsewhere. 

    Both the Kimballs remark on the enduring friendships they have made through their CFA volunteer work.  They enjoy meeting up with a network fellow graders and society volunteers whenever they can, but definitely at least once a year at the CFA Annual Conference.  As Marilyn says, it’s a great way to see and learn from the “best of the best” in the financial industry, along with reconnection with old friends and making new ones.

    Thanks to Curt and Marilyn Kimball for all they are willing to do. 

    Marilyn Kimball, CFA is an Investment Portfolio Manager in the Investment Advisory Group of SunTrust Private Wealth Management.  Marilyn graduated from the University of Michigan with a BA in Business and Economics and earned her Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation in 1989.  She began her career with Citizens Commercial & Savings Bank in Flint, Michigan.  During those ten years, she was the head trader for the Trust Department along with portfolio management duties.  Later, she joined First Interstate Bank in Portland, Oregon to manage personal trust portfolios.  In 1995, she joined SunTrust Bank and continues to manage private client portfolios.  Marilyn has over 30 years of investment experience.  She is a member of the CFA Institute and the Atlanta Society of Finance and Investment Professionals.

    Curtis R. Kimball, CFA, ASA is a Managing Director of Willamette Management Associates, a nationally prominent valuation and financial advisory firm, and Director of WMA’s Atlanta regional office.  He is a CFA Charterholder, an Accredited Senior Appraiser (ASA) of the American Society of Appraisers in business valuation, and a member of the Institute of Business Appraisers. He has been valuing companies and interests in companies, intangible assets and other property for a variety of purposes for over thirty years and was formerly with Wachovia Bank and, later, the Citizens & Southern Trust Company (now Bank of America) prior to joining WMA in 1988. He holds a B.A. in Economics from Duke University and an M.B.A. from Emory University. He is a contributing author to several standard reference works on private business valuation including: Valuing a Business, Valuing Small Businesses and Professional Practices, Financial Valuation: Businesses and Business Interests (1997 Update), Business Valuation Discounts and Premiums and The Business Valuation Handbook (2nd Edition). He also acts as WMA’s national director for wealth management valuations including estate, gift, asset protection, buy-sell agreement, trust, fiduciary liability, family, marital and charitable issues. Mr. Kimball has appeared as an expert witness on valuation issues in U.S. District Court, U.S. Tax Court, U.S. Bankruptcy Court and other venues. His most recent appearances include the U. S. Tax Court cases: Estate of Anna Mirowski (Mirowski Family Ventures, LLC), Estate of Georgina T. Gimbel (Reliance Steel and Aluminum Company), Estate of H. A. True, Jr. and Jean D. True et al v. Commissioner (True Ranches and True Oil Company) and Estate of Harriet Mellinger v. Commissioner (Frederick’s of Hollywood).