Andrew Gustafson in a hard hat

For Ethan Howe, investing is about more than the money: it’s about the challenge, the thrill of taking risks, and the community that he has built around it. Aside from his involvement with student investment funds on campus, he has used his knowledge of the market to lead a UMaine team in a global competition, where they ranked in the top 5% worldwide.

Howe, currently a senior majoring in finance, transferred to UMaine from the University of Hartford after his freshman year. One of the elements of UMaine that convinced him to transfer was the active Student Portfolio Investment Fund, known by its members as “SPIFFY,” which manages about $3.9 million in stocks, bonds, and international funds of the UMaine Endowment. Howe leads a team of three student analysts in the financial sector.

“We make all the executive decisions by a voting basis which is really exciting because it puts the power in the students’ hands,” Howe says. “We feel like we’re managing it ourselves which is a great opportunity to have as a college student before you get into the real workplace. That has been really great.”

The Student Portfolio Investment Fund was established by the UMaine Foundation thirty years ago in 1993 by former professor and SPIFFY advisor Dr. Robert A. Strong, who is now the chair of the board for the UMaine Foundation. He proposed the idea to Foundation President Emeritus Amos Orcutt ’64. Orcutt and the board approved the Student Portfolio Investment Fund, and Orcutt and the board even raised the initial request for funds from $100,000 to $200,000 because they believed in the idea. Oftentimes, universities with similar groups do not use real money, but the Foundation had put its trust in the students, a decision that has paid off in a multitude of ways.

To read about Ethan Howe and the other students’ experience at the 2022 Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) Trading Challenge, the full article is on the UMaine News site.