Saturday, September 20, 2014

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Darden’s New Center for Asset Management Aims For Global Impact

The University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business on Thursday announced the launch of the Darden Center for Asset Management, which will serve as a hub of thought leadership and professional development for faculty, students, alumni and business practitioners in the field of asset management.

“The business of managing assets on a global scale has become increasingly complicated and competitive,” said Darden Dean Robert F. Bruner, who is a professor of finance and an expert in mergers and acquisitions and financial crises. “The Darden Center for Asset Management will prepare future leaders for the industry and will deliver a steady stream of thought leadership and practical application in this important field. We are incredibly grateful to the donors who have made the center possible.”

More than a dozen donors provided support for the center’s launch. Darden will continue to seek funding for the center as it develops new programs and research.

Darden finance professor Kenneth Eades will serve as the center’s interim director and academic adviser as a search begins for a new senior faculty director.

“Building on Darden’s strong foundation in finance, the Darden Center for Asset Management will explore the full spectrum of asset classes, including equities, fixed income, cash, currency, real estate, infrastructure, hedge funds and private equity,” Eades said. “By bringing together Darden’s finance professors with executives from top financial services companies, we will develop practical, new approaches that will make a big mark on this broad and global industry.”

The research center’s activities will include:

  • Research: Publishing leading-edge research in top journals
  • Conferences: Hosting highly regarded conferences such as the University of Virginia Investing Conference. The sixth annual conference will take place Nov. 14 and 15 at the Darden School and will explore the theme “Finding Opportunity in an Unpredictable World.”
  • Best Practices: Identifying best practices in asset management through research and interaction with practicing managers
  • Cases and Educational Materials: Developing asset management cases and other educational materials, to be published by Darden Business Publishing
  • Student Programs: Enhancing Darden Capital Management, the student-run investment fund, and creating new educational programs in the field of finance at Darden

The Darden Capital Management Club, a 120-member student investment organization, sets Darden apart from other business schools. Its members run a real-time, real-money asset management group. The group oversees five funds held by the Darden School’s endowment, each with a distinct investment objective – value, small cap, global, long/short and sustainable investment – with a total value exceeding $6.7 million. The objective is to prepare students for careers in investment management and research and other functions within the financial markets.

“No other school gives students such responsibility, accountability and opportunity in the field of asset management,” Bruner said. “Darden’s new Center for Asset Management will build on this powerful educational experience and will provide an array of new opportunities.”

“Our goal,” Eades said, “is to develop responsible leaders and to provide thought leadership that informs and inspires the industry.”

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