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Wall Street, California

You Can Count Them In Too

March 10, 1998|JOSEPH HANANIA and HELAINE OLEN

Just how many student-run investment clubs and funds exist at U.S. colleges and universities?

"There are zillions," according to Karen Wright, director of student programs for the Financial Management Assn. in Florida, who says she hears about such groups on an almost daily basis.

But no one knows the exact number. The National Assn. of Investors Corp., the Michigan-based organization dedicated to monitoring and advising investment clubs, keeps no separate accounting of university-based groups. Neither does anyone else.

Locally, there are a number of student-run investment clubs and funds. Both the University of Southern California and Cal State Northridge sponsor student investment funds containing more than $1 million in assets, with a portion of each year's proceeds dedicated to student scholarships.

Other groups are more low-key. Cal State Long Beach students and professors began a fund two years ago with $50,000. At the end of each academic year, all assets are sold so that the next group can begin in the fall with a fresh slate. "Incoming students are not obligated to live with previous decisions; they get to make their own," explained Richard Runyon, the fund's faculty advisor.

The Long Beach fund, interestingly enough, currently owns no stocks. This year's students, worried about the stock market's high valuations, have only approved the purchase of corporate bonds issued by Chase Manhattan Bank and Southwest Airlines.

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