Alumni gift to strengthen Student Managed Investment Fund

SMIF class meeting pre-pandemic

Class presentation during fall 2019

By Addie Rosenthal/University Communications and Marketing

Students in FIN 481 - Student Managed Investment Fund (SMIF) got a boost from 1986 finance grad Jim Avery. His $100,000 gift to the Miami University Foundation is specifically earmarked to grow the pool of funds for SMIF investing.

In this one-of-a-kind undergraduate course, students are responsible for managing actual funds from the Miami University Endowment. The students act as equity analysts and are placed on one of the sector teams, through which they are responsible for allocating the fund's assets into various publicly traded stocks. Students make all decisions involving trading, asset allocation and risk management, including managing the business side of the SMIF as well.

Finance professor Xi Liu commented, “We are very grateful for this incredible gift. Our alumni’s involvement and contributions have made a tremendous impact on our students. FIN481 is a unique class in which students are challenged to perform the best out of their potential and are held accountable for their investment decisions. As the Student Managed Investment Fund portfolio grows, it will provide more essential resources for Farmer School’s Finance Department, in areas such as student technology, scholarships and faculty support.”

Avery is very familiar with the class, serving as a guest speaker and as a judge during stock pitches from FIN481 students. That connection combined with his experience here as a student were major factors leading to the gift. He noted, “This real-world experience is exceptionally valuable to students as they start their careers. Investing real money, with real accountability, and a panel of alumni judges as the investment committee provides students with an unmatched educational experience. I am happy to play a role in their journey.”

Avery joined Tavistock Group in 2014 and is currently a Senior Managing Director. Prior to Tavistock, from 2003 to 2014, he was a Managing Director and Co-Founder of GCA Savvian, a boutique investment bank, in addition to holding the position of Representative Director for GCA Corporation, GCA Savvian’s parent company publicly traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Prior to GCA Savvian, Mr. Avery spent 10 years at Morgan Stanley, working in the New York and Silicon Valley offices where he advised clients across a number of industries on strategic, merger & acquisition and capital market transactions. Avery has also held roles at Edward M. Greenberg Associates, Burson-Marsteller, Westdeutsche Landesbank, and Republic National Bank of New York. Avery is currently a member of the board of directors of Boxer Capital.