By Adam Hornbuckle
Association of Finance Professionals (AFP) meets every Thursday during common hour in the trading floor room, located in the lower level of the library. The club meetings serve as a venue for students with interest in stock trading and financial markets . “What we do is teach students how to analyze global markets and propose investments to peers with confidence,” Robert Williams, a senior international business major and president of AFP, said. “The skill sets and confidence you learn in AFP you can transition to the real world.”
Ray Pullaro, assistant dean of the college of management has been helping students and faculty revive this once defunct club. “I got here in June of 2015, at the time I was really happy to find that the university was making the substantial annual investment of managing the Bloomberg terminals,” Pullaro said. “I was also really happy to find out that one alumni had donated money to make students active [LIU-iF] investors,” Pullaro said. “The club talks about investment, markets and ideas.” Before joining LIU, Pullaro was the managing director for Blackstone Alternative Asset Management, which was responsible for over $32 billion in assets.
Long Island University secured donations from alumni to establish the LIU-iF, a student run investment firm that was launched in spring 2016. On April 4, several students who are members of the AFP club and LIU-iF met with Steven Hornstein, an LIU Post alumnus and member of the Board of Trustees for Long Island University. Hornstein is a top market manager in NYC.
“We met with President Cline, deans from the College of Management and Steven Hornstein to discuss the incorporation of the student investment fund along with policies and risk management and the growth of the fund,” said Williams. “It was a promising meeting with Mr. Hornstein and he is looking to possibly play a larger role in the club and LIU-iF.” Before the meeting, Hornstein spoke to the AFP club to discuss recent market activities, future investments and students portfolios.
The AFP was defunct last fall, and has made a resurgence this semester. “They weren’t focused as much on stock markets and trading as we are,” Williams said. “Our revamped trading floor, enthusiasm for stock markets and resources of the Bloomberg terminals and experienced professionals in the field like Dean Pullaro created the perfect opportunity to have a pro markets club.”
Membership in AFP is open to students of all majors and currently stands at 15 students, an increase from the seven students who re-launched the club in January. To qualify for membership in the student investment fund, LIU-iF, students must take Finance 32 or show proficiency in investments while holding membership in the AFP club. Students involved in LIU-iF are encouraged to execute investments with the funds donated by alumni.
Junior public relations major Andrew Taylor joined the club in February with the recommendation of his friend. “We invested in stocks previously and it was a nice and fun environment where ideas flow naturally,” he said. “The club is an intellectually-challenging club that is open for all to learn and enjoy the stock market.”
“What I see the club doing is making students more educated and more interested in the stock market. Through Dean Pullaro’s mentoring I believe new opportunities will open for the club with investors, making the club even bigger,” Taylor added.