On the second day of SMIF’s travels to New York, the group woke early to meet with Ron Baron at Baron Capital. Ron graduated from Bucknell in 1965 with a degree in chemistry. He later attended Georgetown Law School in the evenings while working as an examiner at the U.S. Patent Office. Ron got his start in the investment world in 1970, when he began conducting his own stock research and selling this research to large investment houses. From there he began Baron Capital in 1982. Baron Capital is a long term investment company, often holding securities for more than 10 years. As was reiterated time and time again to the SMIF class, Baron “Invests in People.” The company has seen many successes – they now manage over $28 billion. We thank Ron and his company for taking the time to host us that morning.
From Baron Capital, SMIF traveled to Blackrock, where we had lunch with several employees, many of which were Bucknell alums. We first heard from Maria Heyeca, who discussed a broad market outlook with SMIF, particularly discussing the turbulence regarding the upcoming French election. Next we heard from Dan Greenberg, a former SMIF student in charge of Blackrock’s high net worth Separately Managed Accounts business. Dan touched on the soft skills required in the Private Wealth industry, particularly when discussing personal finances with those who are less literate in investments. Later we heard from Morgan Beeson, who works with Blackrock’s Aladdin computer program. Aladdin is Blackrock’s proprietary research, trading, and investment optimization platform. It was fascinating to hear how Blackrock has both harnessed Aladdin for its own use, as well as monetized it through sales to other firms. Lastly we heard from Katrina Schmaltz, a former SMIF student, who worked with Blackrock’s Portfolio Consulting Group. Katrina discussed her role in optimizing many financial planners’ portfolios.
After visiting Blackrock, SMIF ended our lengthy day by visiting SMIF Advisory Board Member Joe Quintilian at the New York Stock Exchange. SMIF members were fascinated to see how the stock exchanged has changed in the past two decades; now very few people are on the once-crowded floor. SMIF students were able to have private meetings with market makers from Global Trading Systems (GTS) and Citadel; they were also able to witness the ringing of the bell to close the trading day.
All in all, though it was a busy day, these hands-on experiences in New York proved to ones that could only be provided through a program like SMIF. It was an incredible way to end the year.