University of Southern California

Director's Message

The Center for Investment Studies (CIS) originated in 2001 with a gift from Larry and Karen Tashjian. The CIS is a forum for students to acquire experiential learning, faculty to conduct research and industry practitioners to share valuable insights.

The CIS is particularly proud of its sponsorship of the Student Investment Funds (SIF). The SIF are administered entirely by student managers within the year-long seminar on Applied Portfolio Management. The funds are a part of USC's endowment and the investment gains are used to support the SIF. The original SIF was established in 1986 when Provident Investment Counsel provided initial funding for the Trojan Equity Fund for MBA students. We have received additional significant gifts from Robert Rodriguez, Catherine Nicholas, Brad Hintz and friends of Guil Babcock and David and Nancy Iben. Since then, we have added the Provident Growth Fund, the California Small Cap Fund, and the Marshall Fixed Income Fund. In addition, we have an Undergraduate Student Investment Fund (USIF). The new graduate Global Equity Fund will launch on March 31, 2011 and new student managers have been interviewed and chosen.

We are particularly grateful to David and Nancy Iben for their founding gift of a graduate Global Equity Fund and to Catherine Nicolas for her gift to the USIF.

Of course, it is the commitment of our student managers that is essential to success of the graduate and undergraduate Student Investment Fund programs. I have enjoyed watching them progress through the year.

I want to acknowledge the leadership of Professor Mick Swartz who has been an outstanding instructor for all our funds. He has worked tirelessly to make this a very successful year.

Next year, we will benefit from the involvement of Professor Suh-Pyng Ku as the new instructor. She is a full professor in the Marshall department of finance and business economics. She was the instructor for the Student Investment Funds from 2001-2006 and director of the Center for Investment Studies from 2003-2006. For the past couple of years, Professor Ku was one of USC’s Vice Provosts and has recently returned to teaching full time.


Randolph Westerfield
Charles B. Thornton Professor of Finance
Interim Director, Center for Investment Studies