by Marcus Koontz
A club that manages two hundred and seventy-five thousand dollars! That’s the role of the Whitman Investment Company. The company, whose motto is “To Inquire. To Achieve. To Learn,” and whose purpose is, according to CEO Nate King, “to educate its members about the strategies for and benefits of investing,” was established by an alumni endowment for the specific purpose of giving students the opportunity to learn about financial markets. The club meets every Tuesday at noon in G02 on the bottom floor of Reid.
After King opened last Tuesday’s meeting he gave the floor over to Tom Poole who presented a Security Update Report on one of the club’s holdings, NVIDIA (a company that makes popular video cards for computers). Poole talked about the trouble that NVIDIA has recently found itself in. Those troubles include possible delisting from the NASDAQ for not filing financial reports in a timely fashion, as well as probes into “incorrect” dating on executive stock options. Poole suggested that the information showed “poor corporate governance” and moved to sell WIC’s entire holding of NVIDIA stock. After brief discussion about the company’s current earnings ratios compared to the industry average, the motion was seconded by another trustee and passed unanimously. The sale of NVIDIA stock will add around $9,500 dollars to WIC’s cash on hand. This money will likely be put into a new investment.
The meeting also included the election of WIC’s executive officers for the semester to replace officers who stepped down in the middle of their terms. There were four people running for the two open positions: chief financial officer (CFO) and chief operations officer (COO). The CFO “organize[s] speakers to come visit Whitman and set up various other programs,” said CEO King, and the COO “record[s] meeting minutes and track[s] reports on investments we are following.” Sam Tate and Tom Poole vied for CFO and Ari van Schilfgaarde and Wynne Auld ran for COO. After intense discussion the trustees running for office decided to share the responsibilities for each position for the current semester.
Anyone can attend WIC meetings and learn about investing, but only trustees have a say in the major decisions of the company and can run for office. According to the company’s bylaws, “In order to become a trustee, an individual must: (1) attend three consecutive meetings; (2) present and defend a research report on a specific stock agreed upon by the applicant and the Vice President; (3) be nominated by a current trustee and elected by simple majority of the current board.” For more information on WIC, visit http://www.whitman.edu/wic.