By Oliver Brocato
The investment club is one of the many hidden gems of Byram Hills. It is the new club, founded in April of last year, that aims to educate students and promote an interest in finance through comprehensive lessons and presentations. The club started off the year teaching members all there is to know about investing, including useful strategies, going long term versus short term, buying options, and placing puts. After about half way through the school year and months of extensive teaching, the club will shift from educating to actual simulated investing. Students will have the opportunity to implement the many techniques, trading styles and strategies they learned and pick out stocks. Club members will then write proposals and pitch various stocks to their peers. A vote will later take place where they pick the desired stocks and how much equity they want to pour into.
The club, consisting of over twenty-five members, excels under the strong leadership of co-founders Nathan Weinhoff and Jon Conte, in addition to the support of Mr. Savino. Nathan and Jon are two seniors who have had a passion for investing ever since they were young kids. Jon recalls “investing at the age of 10 when [his] dad helped [him] set up [his] first portfolio, but [he] didn’t really get into it until [he] was about thirteen, when [he] started reading and asking questions about everything there is to know about investing.” This past summer, he tackled a summer internship at Morgan Stanley, a prestigious investment bank, where he rotated through the different desks on the trading floor and wrote detailed reports on how the desks were interconnected as well as the services Morgan Stanley provided. Similarly, Nathan started his portfolio at a young age – in seventh grade with money he got from his bar mitzvah. He selectively invests in the biotech field, leveraging his knowledge from relatives working in the biotech and medical field. He is way beyond his years and it is clear that he is highly knowledgeable about stocks especially in the biotech industry. When asked what he looks for when investing in a biotech firm, he responded with something about PDFUFA dates (deadlines for the FDA to approve new drugs), followed by a whole sentence equally as complex. In addition to investing, Nathan tries out different strategies and critiques current ones using simulated investments. On one investing simulation, he bet big on oil, analyzing trends and past performance. His bet paid off when he racked in returns of over 100% in just a couple of months. He just regrets “not using real money.”
Nathan explained that many students not able to take the investment/markets class offered at school (due to scheduling reasons) have an opportunity to pursue investing by joining their club. Additionally, many students who already took the investing class at school are able to take what they’ve learned and bring it a step further by researching, writing analyses, and pitching stocks to the group. But the investment clubs does more than just provide the necessary tools and foundation for future investors; it teaches students how to take risks, apply concepts/strategies, and work as a group. All these skills not only make the members better at investing, but more equipped for the future. In fact, in order to further prepare members, Jon and Nathan are planning on having speakers that work in the financial sector come in and lecture on various topics related to investing.
Jon and Nathan are hoping the investment club can achieve a highly profitable simulated portfolio in order to provide a track record, which may allow them to use real money in the future. The investment club is looking for more members, as it just started this year and is still teaching students how to invest. Nathan and Jon explained that their club is predominantly upperclassman males that they and want to reach out to younger students along with females to join. The investment club is a great way to introduce yourself to investing and should definitely be checked out. It meets every other Tuesday. If you want to make money, better prepare yourself for the future, and learn many invaluable life lessons, be there at the library tech lab!