Monday, February 27, 2012

Press Release - Wisconsin School of Business MBA Students Named Winner of Milwaukee CFA Institute Research Challenge

Madison, Wis. – The CFA Society of Milwaukee announced today the Wisconsin School of Business team from UW-Madison has won the local competition of the CFA Institute Research Challenge and now advances to the Americas regional challenge, where it will compete with universities from Canada, the United States, and South America.

The winning team from the Wisconsin School of Business: Brian Bernard, Canan Ozkan, Vincent McClendon, Andrew Bushey, and Andrew Lane.

The students presented their analysis and investment recommendation on Joy Global, a worldwide leader in high-productivity mining solutions. Their presentation at the Milwaukee finale was the result of three months of research, interviews with company management, discussions with competitors and dealers and presentation preparation. Members of the winning team include Brian Bernard, Andrew Bushey, Andrew Lane, Vincent McClendon, and Canan Ozkan from the Hawk Center for Applied Security Analysis. Drew Justman, CFA, an equity analyst at Madison Investment Advisors, served as Mentor to the team. Brian Hellmer, CFA, who is Director of the Hawk Center for Applied Security Analysis, served as the group’s faculty advisor. The panel of judges included Andy Romanowich, CFA, Daniel Murphy, CFA, and Greg Schroeder.

Wisconsin School of Business students competed against students from UW-Oshkosh, UW-Stevens Point, and UW-Whitewater. Each university sent a team of three-to-five students to participate in the challenge, which is hosted by CFA Institute, the global association for investment professionals. The Madison competition was the first step for a local team to advance to the Global Research Challenge. The students from UW-Madison will now travel to the Americas regional challenge, held on April 9-10, 2012 in New York where they will match wits and their analytical, presentation, and research skills with student teams from Canada, the United States, and South America.

“I’m very proud of this group of talented students” said Brian Hellmer, who serves as Director of the Hawk Center after a long career of managing institutional equity portfolios. “In addition to the normal demands of our MBA program, they worked many additional hours researching this company and preparing a presentation highlighting their conclusions. This is the third year in a row that our students have won the local Research Challenge championship, and it is a tribute to their hard work and dedication. We thank the Milwaukee CFA Society for putting on this event, and look forward to the next round of competition in New York.”

The Research Challenge offers students the unique opportunity to learn from leading industry experts and their peers from the world’s top business schools. This annual educational initiative is designed to promote best practices in equity research among the next generation of analysts through hands-on mentoring and intensive training in company analysis and presentation skills. This year, more than 100 CFA Institute member societies will host local competitions with more than 2,500 students from more than 546 universities in 45 countries participating.

The CFA Institute Research Challenge consists of the following components:

• Analysis of a public company – Teams research a publicly traded company, and company management presents to the team and participants in a question-and-answer session.

• Mentoring by a professional research analyst – Each team works with an investment professional who mentors the team on the research process and reviews their report.

• Writing a research report – Students produce an initiation of coverage report on the chosen company. The report is reviewed and scored by a group of judges.

• Presentation of research to a high-profile panel of industry professionals – The team with the highest presentation score is the winner.

The winners of the four regional challenges (Americas, New York, Europe, and Asia Pacific) will advance to compete in the global finale on April 11, 2012, also in New York.

CONTACT: Brian Hellmer, (608) 262-9039,

About the CFA Institute Research Challenge
The challenge gathers students, investment industry professionals, publicly traded companies and corporate sponsors together locally, regionally, and globally for a world competition. In order to promote best practices in equity research and company analysis, students research, analyze, and report on a company as if they are practicing analysts. Local CFA societies host and launch a Research Challenge in conjunction with the participating universities. The universities assemble teams of three to five business and finance students who work directly with a company in researching and preparing a company analysis. The team’s final presentations are locally evaluated by high-profile panels of heads of research, portfolio managers, and chief investment officers from the world’s top firms. The local champions advance to regional competitions in the Americas, Asia, and Europe and then to the global finale.

About CFA Institute
CFA Institute is the global association for investment professionals. It administers the CFA and CIPM curriculum and exam programs worldwide; publishes research; conducts professional development programs; and sets voluntary, ethics-based professional and performance-reporting standards for the investment industry. CFA Institute has more than 107,000 members, who include the world’s 97,890 CFA charterholders, as well as 135 affiliated professional societies in 58 countries and territories. More information may be found at

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Dr. Michael G. McMcmillan - Ethical Decision Making Presentation Summary

Director of Ethics and Professional Standards for CFA Institute, Michael G. McMillan, addressed a joint gathering of CFA Charterholders, CPAs and CFPs at the Palms Bistro. Dr. McMillan reminded attendees of the goals of ethics training.

1.To encourage you to become more conscious about your thoughts and behaviors, to increase the likelihood that you will notice and act upon ethical issues before they become destructive.
2.To recognize that ethical dilemmas are a normal and predictable part of most jobs.
3.To discuss approaches for dealing with ethical issues. On the first point situational influences have more to do with unethical behavior than a person’s character. Under the right conditions, good people can be led into acting in an unethical manner. Furthermore, the ethical dilemmas in which people find themselves often have more to do the culmination of small decisions and actions people take than unethical character traits. Therefore, it often requires an elevated situational awareness to understand that conditions for unethical decision-making may be present.

Secondly, recognize that ethical challenges are part of everyday decision-making. They can stem from an obedience to authority, the need to conform to an expectation, incremental movements toward unethical behavior, group thinking, and overconfidence or optimism. Tangential to this larger point, there is a difference between the letter of the law and the spirit of the law. Dr. McMillan stresses that the law is a minimum level of expected conduct. The role of ethics is to address situations not covered by the law and, subsequently, often lead to creation of new laws. The key point is that abiding by the law is no guarantee that one will behave ethically.

Finally, he offers advice on resolving ethical dilemmas. First, acknowledge that there is an ethical issue to deal with, determine who is effected by the problem and gather relevant data on the issue. Determine the right vs. wrong decision parameters and potential ethics-grounded resolutions. Finally, make a decision and be sure to reflect on what you’ve learned from the decision.