2020-21 Finance Newsletter

In This Issue

New Things Going on in the Major

Financial Planning Association

The Financial Planning Association® (FPA®) Club monthly meetings offer students great insight into different career alternatives in the financial planning field. Many of the club attendees are finance and accounting majors who are also pursuing the Certificate in Financial Planning. The Certificate in Financial Planning is the academic requirement of the CFP® Board for a person to be eligible to sit for the CFP® exam. Because Penn State Behrend’s Certificate in Financial Planning is a CFP® Board Registered Program, students have the ability to meet the educational requirements while earning their undergraduate degree. If planned correctly, completing this certificate doesn’t require any additional courses beyond the 120 credits required to get their finance degree. If you have any questions about this certificate please contact Mr. Rick Hedderick at [email protected]. We hope to see you at our next meeting.

Faculty Spotlight

Dr. Brian Boscaljon, Professor of Finance

Brian Boscaljon

Dr. Brian Boscaljon has been a finance professor at Penn State Behrend since 2000. He also teaches in the MBA program at Cranberry and has been part of the Financial Planning Association® since 2010.

What do you most want finance students to know?

Most students approach finance thinking it is all about making money. In portfolio management, you cannot control the amount of return you get. That is determined by the market. You can control the amount of risk, and that is where you should focus your attention.

What is an interesting research project you have worked on?

I spent a great deal of time developing a theory for how individuals should reduce allocations to risky assets as they approach retirement. There is currently no financial theory about this topic, and financial planners just reduce the allocation based on simple heuristics such as setting the percentage of equity allocation as 120 minus the investor's age. So, a 60-year-old would allocate 60 percent to equities (120 minus 60) and each year reduce it by another percentage. I was awarded a U.S. patent for a Time Utility of Wealth model that bases the allocation to equities on the individual's value of time and risk tolerance. The model determines a critical wealth point prior to retirement where individuals should start reducing equity investment based on this point and their retirement goal.

What’s the biggest misconception about finance professors?

Probably the biggest misconception about professors in general is that we spend most of our time teaching. We actually spend an equal amount of time doing research and teaching activities in addition to college service on committee work. For every hour in the classroom, we spend at least two hours outside preparing material. Hopefully, students spend at least two hours outside of the classroom for every hour inside as well.

Alumni Spotlight

Mario Riccadonna ’20

Mario Riccadonna

Mario Riccadonna received two bachelor’s degrees—one in Finance and the other in Business Economics. He also received a certificate in financial planning. He most recently passed the CFP® Exam and is searching for employment.

What would you tell your college self if you could go back in time?

You only get out what you put in. I would encourage myself to ask more questions to deeply understand the material being taught in all of my classes. This advice has helped me in all aspects of my life.

Which Behrend course has helped you the most in your career?

I can't name just one. I would say all of the courses in the financial planning certificate helped me the most. These courses were required by the CFP® Board to take the exam, but they were also some of my favorite courses.

Are there Behrend activities/courses you regret not joining/taking?

I wish I had been more involved in the FPA® Club. I look forward to giving back to the club by sharing the experience I gain in my career.

Student Spotlight

Joshua Bechtold ’21

Joshua Bechtold

Joshua is a dual major in Finance and Accounting working toward his certificate in Financial Planning, and he is a member of the Schreyer Honors College. On campus, he serves as the Mu Pi Chapter President of Delta Sigma Pi and a Financial Literacy Assistant for the Black School of Business.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received at Behrend?

The best piece of advice I have received comes from a professor my junior year who said, “Your GPA is really only a number in the end. You want to make sure it’s a solid number, but it’s the experiences at Behrend that will carry with you for the rest of your life. When you look back at your years in college, you should remember all of the things you’ve experienced and took part in, not simply what your GPA was.”

What has been your proudest moment at Behrend?

My proudest moment at Behrend was when I was inducted into the Schreyer Honors College (SHC) my sophomore year. The SHC is a highly competitive honors college with numerous requirements to maintain your membership. Most notably is the undergraduate thesis required for all students to graduate in the SHC. Personally, this is an honor because my brother was also in the Schreyer Honors College during his time at Penn State a few years ago. Naturally, the sibling rivalry kicked in, and I had to prove to myself that I could also be in the SHC.

Why did you choose finance? What attracted you to it?

The Black School of Business is known for their dual majors and I saw so many people with dual degrees in Finance and Accounting. After delving a little deeper into the area of finance, I realized that I enjoyed the aspect of forecasting and planning for the future. As I took more classes such as investing or corporate finance, I started to see how the two majors connected perfectly, and I could not resist adding the Finance major.

Club Updates and More

Financial Planning Association Club

Financial Planning Association® (FPA®) Club

FPA® Club has put efforts forward this semester to still meet virtually once a month. Our meetings consist of conversations with financial planners in the industry who offer insight and advice on how to reach success in the industry. It is always fun to have our alumni come back and talk with us as they are able to provide great insight on Behrend opportunities. If you are interested in joining FPA® Club, head over to Behrend Sync where you can find our page. There is a small fee to be a voting member and have your voice heard; however, we welcome all regardless of status in the club. You also will see upcoming meetings posted with the Zoom links available. If you have any questions, feel free to email Larissa Hedderick at [email protected]. Everyone is welcome to join! Whether you are pursuing a certificate in financial planning or simply interested in the topic, we would love for you to get involved with us!

Business Analytics Team (BAT)

The Business Analytics Team is an alumni-led club. We meet every other week on Thursday evenings at 7:00 p.m. ET via Zoom. We discuss current topics like Fed policy, the impact of COVID on small businesses, and commercial real estate markets. We also explore financial markets from the perspective of Wall Street veterans as well as topics relevant to commercial banking. This past semester we had a Black School alumnus talk with us about renewable energy finance. We usually take deep dives on interesting topics that are sourced by our alumni leaders. Our current president is a Behrend student, and we have two officers that are World Campus students. All Behrend and World Campus students who are interested in learning about banking and/or financial markets from Wall Street veterans are welcome to join our meetings. Our alumni leaders include a retired senior vice president from Bank of America, a vice president from PNC, a vice president from BNY Mellon, and sometimes we are fortunate to have a senior equity analyst from Jeffries join us as well. To learn more or get involved, contact the academic adviser, Mr. Eric Robbins at [email protected].

Financial Management Association (FMA) Club

The Financial Management Association (FMA) Club focuses on showcasing speakers from all areas of the finance industry, with a particular focus on asset management and corporate finance. This past year, we held eight speaker events and a virtual field trip with Troutwood, a financial technology company based in Pittsburgh. Hosting this virtual field trip were Gene Natali, CEO and cofounder, and John McDermitt, data analyst.

We kicked off the spring 2020 semester by hosting a talk on the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) program by Dr. Greg Filbeck, director of the Black School of Business, and Nick Findley, investment analyst with Erie Insurance. Following our CFA talk, we were pleased to host a talk on fixed income securities by members of the finance team at Erie Insurance. Presenters from Erie Insurance included Findley; Ron Habursky, senior portfolio manager; Ryan Bergquist, associate portfolio manager; and Kathy Tesore, portfolio manager. Our other spring speaker topics included real estate investing with Christine Hoffman, vice president of Hoffman United Real Estate, and commercial credit with Max Morrow, commercial credit analyst II at F.N.B. Corporation.

This fall, FMA shifted to a completely virtual format and welcomed representatives from Manning & Napier as our first speakers. Presenters at this first meeting included Ben Schreiber, talent acquisition specialist; Nikki Hamblin, director of advisor service; and Habibe Hakiqi, research assistant. For our second fall meeting, Aaron Filbeck, associate director of content development at the CAIA Association, presented Alternative Investments: An Introduction and State of the Industry. Our third meeting featured Adrian Pinto, who is a senior associate pursuing private equity investments for a U.K.-based, multi-billion-dollar family office. Pinto addressed a few topics from his experience working in corporate finance and investment banking. On October 27, we hosted a Black School of Business Finance Speaker Series event with George Emanuele, senior director and portfolio manager with BNY Mellon Wealth Management. Continuing an ongoing relationship with the Black School of Business and the FMA club, Emanuele discussed current market issues as we navigated an election year during a worldwide pandemic.

Looking ahead to spring 2021, FMA is excited to announce our upcoming spring semester virtual field trip with BNY Mellon in Pittsburgh, which is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, February 17. To learn more about the club, please contact faculty advisers Dr. Jeff Coy at [email protected] or Mr. Phil Stuczynski at [email protected].