Reflections on the World of Investments, Finance, and Wealth Management.

Finance MBA Program Ranked #2 in World

The Financial Times has ranked the Tippie MBA Program #2 in the world for finance in its 2015 Global MBA Rankings. One of the interesting aspects to this ranking is that a portion of the formula is based on surveys of graduates from 2011. This cohort of students was the first to graduate from Tippie following the overhaul of our MBA curriculum and the creation of the Finance Career Academy.

Financial Times 2015 Global MBA Ranking for Finance

Financial Times 2015 Global MBA Ranking for Finance

A Scary Image for Hawkeye Basketball Fans

As the #25 Iowa men’s basketball team heads into their tough road test this evening at #6 Wisconsin, I am reminded of a photo (see below) that was sent to me last season as part of a University of Iowa season ticket promotional package. I assume that members of the athletic department must have been aware of my mad skills as the starting point guard for North Central High School back in the late 1980s. Our team was legendary. In fact, during my junior and senior years, we posted back-to-back 2-17 seasons with a team shooting percentage that often topped 30% on a good night as we battled for the cellar of the Corn Bowl Conference. My career high school basketball record (freshman, JV, and varsity) was a combined 8-56. Needless to say, my basketball career provided a lot of character building opportunities. Hawkeye fans should rejoice that they will not be seeing the following jersey on the court anytime soon.

Basketball Jersey

Leaving London

Our London study abroad program wrapped up the final class session this morning. We have enjoyed the last couple of weeks, and our students have been great to work with. It is always a little sad to leave London, but I have been fortunate to teach in the study abroad program four times. London is such an amazing city. I am looking forward to returning home to Iowa City after nearly 3 weeks in the U.K., but I am less excited about the cold winter weather that we have managed to avoid. Today in London, the temperature reached 55 degrees.

The Accent Study Centre: Our Academic Home in London

The Accent Study Centre: Our Academic Home in London

Cottage Craven, Home of Fulham FC

This afternoon both London classes visited Cottage Craven and met with team representatives of the Fulham Football Club. Located along the banks of the River Thames in SW London, Cottage Craven stadium has been the home of Fulham FC (go Whites!) since 1896. We began with a tour of the 25,700-seat stadium, including the locker rooms and players lounge area. After the tour, we met with Stephen Pyke, Commercial and Fundraising Executive for the Fulham F.C. Foundation. Stephen gave an excellent presentation, explaining the business and challenges of managing a professional football club. He also engaged the students in brainstorming ideas for how a smaller club can boost revenues in a league where a few heavyweights dominate the landscape. In 2014, Fulham was relegated to the Sky Bet Championship League after 13 years in the English Premier League. It was fascinating to learn about just how different the revenues and TV contracts are between teams in the top tier and second tier of the English football system. Fulham has a long history of welcoming American players to the club, which is owned by Shahid Kahn, who also owns the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars. It was a great visit with wonderful hosts, and I think we converted a number of students into Fulham fans.

Tippie London Students on the Home Bench at Fulham FC (Jan. 8, 2014).

Tippie London Students on the Home Bench at Fulham FC (Jan. 8, 2014).

Company Visit Day

On Tuesday, London students in the Wealth Management course visited three different companies in the City. We began our morning with a visit to the European headquarters for Principal Global Investors. Our hosts scheduled a series of speakers, including an equity portfolio manager, a trader, a research analyst, and a member of the legal team. It was interesting to visit the London offices for a parent company based in Des Moines.

Our second company visit of the morning was at Source, an exchange traded fund (ETF) company with approximately $17 billion of assets under management. The visit was hosted by President, Chief Strategy Officer, and University of Iowa alum, Peter Thompson (MBA ’90). We were also able to speak with Executive Director, Sjef Pieters, and Source CEO, Ted Hood. They explained the strategic approach that Source takes to compete in the European ETF market as well as how the market has changed since the company launched in April 2009.

Tippie Wealth Management Students Visit Source (Jan. 6, 2014)

Tippie Wealth Management Students Visit Source (Jan. 6, 2014)

After lunch in the City of London, our final visit of the day was to Lloyd’s of London, one of the world’s largest and most reputable specialist insurance markets. Our group split into two groups and enjoyed a very interest tour from two excellent guides, both retired executives who once worked in the Lloyd’s building. They explained the origins and history of the 325 year-old insurance market that has evolved into present day Lloyd’s. It is impressive to see how the organization has maintained and upheld many of the traditions of its historical roots. While three company visits in one day were tiring, the students remarked that it was very interesting and educational.

Tippie Wealth Management Students at Lloyd's of London with Tour Guide, Peter (Jan. 6, 2014)

Tippie Wealth Management Students at Lloyd’s of London with Tour Guide, Peter (Jan. 6, 2014)

A Busy Start to 2015

Students in our London program have been very busy the first few days of 2015. After a day off for New Year’s, we met for class last Friday morning (Jan. 2nd). We gathered that evening at a nearby sports bar to watch the Hawkeyes take on Tennessee in the Bowl. The game kicked off at 8:20 p.m. London time. Even though Iowa did not play as well as we had hoped, it was still a lot of fun to gather to cheer on the team from across the pond.

On Saturday, Jan. 3rd, both classes took a day trip via coach to visit Stonehenge and Windsor Castle. It was a wet, rainy day, so perhaps not the best to be outside looking at 5000 year old stone monuments, but it was still interesting to visit. This was in fact my 3rd visit to Stonehenge, having previously led students to the site in 2012 and 2009 while teaching in the London program. I joked with the students that I can now cross off “Visit Stonehenge 3 Times” from my bucket list.

What's the Meaning of Stonehenge?

What’s the Meaning of Stonehenge?

After Stonehenge, our coaches headed off to Windsor for a tour of Windsor Castle. We had two excellent Blue Badge guides enlightening us along the way. Windsor Castle is the largest and oldest occupied castle in the world, and it is the Queen’s favorite home. Our group was able to tour the lavishly furnished State Apartments and St. George’s Chapel.

Sunday was a day off for the students. A number of the students joined my family in attending a football match. The Queen’s Park Rangers (QPR) of the English Premier League took on Sheffield United from English League One in a 3rd round match of the FA Cup tournament at QPR’s Loftus Road Stadium. The visitors would pull off a huge upset of the host side 0-3 before a crowd of almost 17,000 fans.

You are never too old for a picture with Spark, the QPR mascot.

You are never too old for a picture with Spark, the QPR mascot.

Closing Out 2014 in London

The students in our London program began their New Year’s Eve celebrations yesterday morning by hosting guest speakers in our final class of 2014. Alex Boyce (BBA ’04) spoke to the students in both the Wealth Management and Business Ethics courses, and his spouse Lila Vasilevska also spoke with Prof. O’Boyle’s Ethics students. Alex was a student in my Krause Fund course back in 2004 and competed as a swimmer during his time at Iowa. He is now a senior associate with HCF International Advisors, which specializes in investment banking and consulting services to the metals and mining industries.

After class, we traveled to the City of London for a tour of St. Paul’s Cathedral. The picture below is of a group of Tippie students outside of St. Paul’s with our guide Rob. We toured the sanctuary and crypts beneath this massive 300-year old cathedral, then climbed the 500 steps to the top of the cathedral’s dome to take it the great views of London.

London has an amazing New Year’s fireworks display at midnight along the River Thames, where the crowds historically could be overwhelming. This year, the city began selling tickets to view the fireworks display in order to better control the crowds.

On the Steps of St. Paul’s with Our Tour Guide (Dec. 31, 2014)

Exploring London

The second day of our program began with an 8:45 a.m. coach tour of the major sites around London. This is a great way for the students to become orientated with the City and how close many of the attractions are to our flats. Our bus made a figure-eight around the Cities of London and Westminster taking us near Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, financial district, the London Eye, Big Ben, Parliament, Westminster Abbey, and Buckingham Palace. We enjoyed the services of two excellent blue-badge guides, Ruth and Ray to escort us around the city.

This afternoon, we met for our first class. I was teaching in a first-floor classroom with the blinds open. At times, people were walking by my classroom and looking in our windows at my PowerPoint presentation. This just shows the universal appeal of wealth management.

Viewing the sights along the River Thames near the Tower Bridge with our guide Ray (Dec. 30, 2014).


London Calling

Professor Ernest O’Boyle and I are teaching in the London program at Tippie over the Winter Break this year. Prof. O’Boyle will be teaching a course on Business Ethics, while I will be leading a course in Wealth Management. Today, all 51 Tippie students arrived in London to start their study abroad adventure. After the students settled into their flats, we tried to keep them awake through a brief orientation session before walking to dinner at Sartori, an Italian restaurant that features brick oven pizzas that are one meter long. The Tippie students brought their appetites and consumed approximately 14 meters of pizza.

After dinner tonight, my family and I journeyed to Cottage Craven to take in a football match between the host Fulham F.C. and Brighton & Hove Albion. Unfortunately, the visitors would pull out the victory 0-2. Our classes will be visiting Fulham next week to meet with the club’s management and learn about the business side of managing an English football.

A group of hungry Tippie students and Prof. O’Boyle in London enjoy a couple meters of pizza. (Dec. 29, 2014)

Introducing the 2015 Henry Fund Research Team

Congratulations to the newest members of the Henry Fund research team! The following 12 analysts will take over management of the $3.9 million Henry Fund portfolio with the start of the spring 2015 semester.

  • Krishnakumar Bakthisaran (Health Care)
  • Alec Davis (Industrials)
  • Bernardo Daza (Financials)
  • Kapil Dhingra (Consumer Staples)
  • Christina Erbe (Telecom & Technology)
  • Stuart Hemesath (Financials)
  • Ashutosh Kumar Jha (Technology)
  • Michael Kelleher (Utilities & Materials)
  • Jon Kerr (Technology)
  • Amit Shah (Energy)
  • Liana Tamakloe (Consumer Discretionary)
  • Royce Walton (Health Care)

This group represents the 22nd team to manage the fund since the program’s inception in the spring of 1994.

Death Valley

Todd Houge

Todd Houge is the Curt and Carol Lane Faculty Fellow in the Tippie College of Business. He teaches applied equity valuation, applied portfolio management, and wealth management courses to undergraduate and MBA students. Todd also supervises the department’s award-winning Henry Fund and Krause Fund programs, which provide a real-world, money-management opportunity for UI students.

Todd received a Ph.D. in Finance and an MBA from the University of Iowa. He also earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Wartburg College and holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation from the CFA Institute.