Monday, November 27, 2017

Marquette Finance Students in NYC - The October 2017 FMA / New York City Trip was Again a Success

Dr. David Krause was jointed by Assistant Dean Terrian and Jeff Germanotta – along with 30 Marquette finance students – for the 14th FMA / NYC trip!

Fall 2017 NYC Trip Members (New York Stock Exchange Floor)

Dr. David Krause (Director of Marquette’s Applied Investment Management program) and 30 finance students were joined during their annual New York City trip by the COBA Assistant Dean, Dr. Joe Terrian. In addition, Finance Lecturer, Jeff Germanotta, also accompanied Dr. Krause and FMA President, Joseph Amoroso, with Marquette finance students as they visited NYC investment banks and asset managers over fall break. 

Dr. Krause said,
“The students and I appreciated having Assistant Dean Terrian and Mr. Germanotta as a part of the group during our New York experience. I know the students appreciated their involvement.  This is a special trip and I know Joe and Jeff enjoyed their time with the students.”

Krause added, “Michele Galioto, Marquette’s Regional Advancement Director in New York was also with us the entire time. Michele is invaluable member of the team given her understanding of NYC and her close work with our New York based alumni. She also played an important role in making the trip a success once again.”

Everyone stayed in the heart of Manhattan at the Sheraton Times Square Hotel and enjoyed the close proximity to major New York attractions. “While our busy schedule kept students focused on visits to major investment banks and asset managers, we still found time to view Central Park, Rockefeller Center, Grand Central Station, 5th Avenue, and other landmarks,” Dr. Krause added.
The visits on Wednesday afternoon included stops at Morgan Stanley, SS&C Technologies and Bank of America Merrill Lynch. This was followed at an Marquette alumni reception at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, hosted by John Barrett.

“We had another good visit with Armintas Sinkevicius of Morgan Stanley’s Equity Research group, as well as with Berent Kowarick of Morgan Stanley’s Private Wealth Management group. We also had an opportunity to hear from their campus recruiting team about internship opportunities. It was a good first visit and allowed the students an opportunity to hear from two of our younger alumni,” Krause commented.

The students then headed south to visit SS&C Technologies, a Connecticut based software and technology provider for the financial services industry. In the trips’ 14 year history, this marked the first visit to a FinTech firm. SS&C Technologies was founded by Marquette University alumnus, Bill Stone, and he remains the company’s Chairman and CEO. The AIM program has recently implement SS&C Learning Institute’s Zoologic web-based solutions into its curriculum. Dr. Krause said, “The AIM program has had a keen focus on FinTech for the fall semester so it was a valuable experience to visit SS&C – a leader in financial technology. The students really enjoyed learning about the company’s new wave of innovative learning technologies”.

                    Marquette students during a visit to SS&C Technologies

 The last visit of the day was to nearby Bank of America Merrill Lynch. This was a special visit with John Barrett which included a special presentation from Faiz Ahmad, a senior leader in the bank’s capital markets group. The students then had an opportunity to discuss a M&A case study with, Mr. Barrett, Tom Kruse and Ross Michler - all Marquette alumni. Additionally, recent AIM graduates, Tyler Sucharzewski and Haney Fam joined the presentation.

Dr. Krause said
, “Our alumni at BAML put together a fantastic visit. Besides the presentations of a senior leader, the case study was a great idea. John Barrett and Jeff Germanotta had conversations about this prior to the visit – and it paid dividends. This was a great way to give students a deeper understanding of the roles in which investment bankers and corporate bankers serve.”

The students then proceed to the 51st floor of One Bryant Part (Bank of America Tower) for this year’s Marquette Finance Student & Alumni Reception.  Dr. Krause said, “We were pleased to be the guests of John Barrett and Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Not only were the views amazing, but it was a wonderful evening of Marquette fellowship and celebration. We are fortunate to have the support of many great friends and alumni – it was a fantastic networking event for the students and young alumni.”

View from the 51st Floor of Bank of America Tower

The first visit on Thursday morning was at BNP Paribas. Alumni at the firm include Louis Moran, Hendrik van der Zandt, Connor Muth and Jack Casey, and Brett Stuck. “We heard from Louis, Connor and Brett as well as numerous high-level members of the bank’s capital markets team. BNP Paribas has long been one of the strongest supporters of Marquette and the AIM program. We deeply value that relationship and again enjoyed the opportunity to visit for the morning BNP,” added Krause.

After visiting the Paris-based global investment bank, the students walked down the street for a visit to Barclays. Alumnus Dan Gaide presented on the company’s equity research group and hosted a networking reception for the students.

Dr. Krause said, “This was our first trip back to Barclays in many years and the students really enjoyed the visit. The students appreciated hearing from Dan and speaking to him and his fellow analysts in the networking hour following the presentation.”

AIM Seniors enjoy lunch on the go between visits at Barclays and SocGe

From Barclays, the students headed west to Société Générale. There, we were met by Guido van Hauwermeiren, MU parent and AIM supporter, and Joe Kennedy, AIM alumni. The students then had the opportunity to hear from Guido and then from Joe and two of his peers. Dr. Krause added, “It is always a treat for the students to hear from Guido and this visit did not disappoint. The students were then able to hear from a group of younger analysts which gave students greater insight into life on Wall Street in the years proceeding college.

Again on the move, the group headed across Park Avenue to J.P. Morgan. Current Marquette alumni at JPM include Gerry Madigan, Ryan Loftus, Christina Starkey, Demetrius Liston, Mariano Sanz, Vanessa Foltinger Garcia and Kevin Cobb. Gerry hosted the large group in a conference overlooking his trading floor where the students had an opportunity to learn firsthand about the firm and the different functional areas represented at the gathering.  

After a long day, the group then headed back to Time Square where Dr. Krause took students on a walking tour of NYC to see many of the city’s sights. These included Time Square, Columbus Circle, Central Park, 5th Avenue, Grand Central Station and Rockefeller Center.

Marquette students at 30 Rock in Manhattan, a stop on Dr. Krause’s Thursday evening walking tour

On Friday morning the students and Dr. Krause started the day at hedge fund - Balyasny Asset Management, with New York offices in the famous GM Tower. Scott Schroeder, alumnus, current Marquette trustee and co-founder of BAM – along with Jack Sullivan, analyst and AIM alumnus – organized the event. 

Jack Sullivan explained his role and responsibilities as a consumer goods analyst and then proceeded to bring in numerous speakers to talk about the different functions within the hedge fund, including portfolio management, trading, business development, and data analytics.

Dr. Krause said, “Many of the students indicated to me after the visit to Balyasny that this was one of the major highlights of the trip. The firm’s culture is very unique – with an enormous amount of collegiality and cooperation. You could see that people at BAM genuinely enjoy working there and function well as a team.”
During their visit, Dr. Krause met Michael Bloomberg

 The students then made the short walk to Bloomberg tower. Breaking into small groups, the students were taken on a tour of the global media and financial services giant. The students had a special treat as they had an opportunity to hear from Tom Keene and Charlie Pellett, both a veteran Bloomberg Radio news anchors. Mr. Pellett is also known as NYC’s most recognizable voice where he famously sounds, “Please Stand Clear of the Closing Doors” on the NYC subway system. The Marquette students then had the opportunity to travel to one of the top floors of the famous NYC skyscraper and view Central Park and Midtown Manhattan and enjoy snacks and drinks.

The AIM program is a Bloomberg subscriber and Bill Gottlieb served as the host demonstrating the newest features and functions of the information system. Specifically, the team presented to students on new features that aggregate news and social media data from around the world to inform investors.
Next the students had to navigate the NYC subway system in order to reach lower Manhattan, but not before Dr. Krause had the opportunity to speak with Mr. Bloomberg himself for a brief moment in the lobby of Bloomberg tower following our visit.

Oculus Station
Upon exiting at the Fulton Street station, the students had the opportunity to walk through the newly finished Path Station, also known as Oculus, and up into the Brookfield Place winter garden for a short break before the final visit of the trip, RBC Capital Markets.

The alumni hosts at RBCCM included Jason Spacek, Les Vowell, James Bergin, Michael O’Carroll, and Colleen Osborne as well as Anna Toshach from neighboring OppenheimerFunds. RBC graciously provided lunch for the students and a short break after a busy morning of visits and travel. The visit again afforded students an opportunity to learn more about different functions areas of a major investment bank and hear from the banks recruiting team.

MU Student on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange

Thanks to alumnus, Shari Noonan, Marquette alumnus and CEO of Rialto Trading, the students were again given the opportunity to be on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange to witness the closing bell. Dr. Krause said, “It was a great opportunity for student to see the floor of the exchange, the last of its kind, on a busy Expiration Friday”. After the close, the students were given tours and had the opportunity to speak directly with many of the floor traders. The students then had a chance encounter with Tom Farley, President of the NYSE. He spoke to students about the vision and purpose of the NYSE which enables entrepreneurs to raise capital that will help them in making their dreams and ideas become realities and to improve the world and heighten the quality of life for global citizens. 

MU Students with NYSE President, Tom Farley, on the floor of the NYSE

Marquette AIM student, Adam Hamilton, then had the chance to speak with Tom Farley individually. Both Adam and Mr. Farley attended to the same high school, Gonzaga College High School, in Washington D.C. and bonded as fellow Purple Eagles.

MU Senior, Adam Hamilton, with NYSE President, Tom Farley 

After visiting the NYSE, students took the opportunity to see sights in the financial district such as the Bull, Fearless Girl, and Battery Park. After another short walking tour, students returned via subway to the Sheraton Times Square where they enjoyed their free time. While most hit the town during the rest of the evening, they were in the lobby early on Saturday morning and on their way to LaGuardia Airport and back to Milwaukee by early afternoon.

Dr. Krause said, "This was again another outstanding trip – and it was all made possible through the support of our NYC Marquette alumni group. In addition to the pre-visit work done by Michele Galioto and Joseph Amoroso. We’d also like to thank Assistant Dean Terrian for joining us this year." 

"We are all extremely thankful for this special opportunity to visit NYC. Our alumni are fantastic – they go out of their way to open up their firms and allow our students to experience the workplace and corporate culture - it is an amazing opportunity for our students. I know for some that this visit is a career altering event," Dr. Krause said.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Tenth set of AIM student equity presentations of the fall semester will be on Friday, November 17, 2017 from 2:30 - 3:30 pm

AIM Class of 2018 Student Equity Presentations - Friday, November 17th

The tenth set of AIM student equity presentations of the fall semester will be on Friday, November 17th, 2017 from 2:30 - 3:30 pm.

Follow the link to review the student equity write-ups for November 17th (Write-up) presentations.

Location:  Marquette University, College of Business Administration - Straz Hall, 1225 W. Wisconsin Avenue, Milwaukee 53233 - in the AIM Research Room 488, 4th Floor

Equity presentations will continue the rest of the semester on Friday afternoons in the AIM Room except for the following dates:
  • Road Show in Chicago on December 1st

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Marquette University's Milwaukee Blockchain Conference Update

Milwaukee Blockchain Conference News

Last week's Milwaukee Blockchain Conference was a big success. The morning drew close to 300 guests and the room was abuzz with excitement over this groundbreaking technology. The full event footage is now available on YouTube at

The conference marked the beginning of what we hope will be continued conversation around this topic. In the interest of gauging your feedback about the kinds of activities we should explore, please take a moment to complete a follow-up survey at  Your feedback will be kept anonymous and will help inform our decisions as we plan future blockchain-related events and activities.

Finally, in case you missed it, reporter Jeff Buchanan wrote a follow-up article about the conference for Xconomy Wisconsin.

If you have any questions or comments related to Marquette's blockchain initiative, please do not hesitate to contact Heather Sullivan, Associate Director of External Relations at College of Business Administration and Graduate School of Management, Marquette University

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Jim Bianco will be guest hosting Bloomberg Daybreak on November 15, from 9:00am - 10:00am ET.

Jim Bianco back on campus
Jim Bianco Spoke at Marquette University Today

Jim Bianco of BiancoResearch visited some of his major Milwaukee clients today and took time to stop by Marquette’s campus at the end of the day. He talked with the students in the Investment Club, FMA, and AIM program about the financial markets, politics, Fed policy, and disruptive technology.

Jim Bianco is a nationally recognized expert on financial markets, interest rates, and geo-politics. His research is widely followed on the Street and he is a frequent guest on Bloomberg and CNBC. He's a Marquette COBA alumnus and a strong supporter of the College of Business.

Jim Bianco will be guest hosting Bloomberg Daybreak tomorrow, November 15, from 9:00am ET - 10:00am ET. He will discuss a range of topics, including tax reform, earnings, interest rates and the morning's economic releases.

Jim Bianco talked about disruptive technologies
Founded in April 1998 by James A. Bianco, Bianco Research is located in downtown Chicago. Bianco Research L.L.C is an affiliate of Arbor Research & Trading, L.L.C. Arbor is a fixed income research and brokerage firm headquartered in Barrington, IL, with offices in New York, Ft. Lauderdale, London and Geneva. Bianco Research L.L.C. has been a source of objective research and unique insights into financial markets for nearly 20 years. 

Their team of macro strategists and data scientists boasts decades of experience in financial markets. We combine cutting edge analytics and a highly visual approach to provide clear, concise conclusions. Our clients trust us to provide objective, data driven analysis and market commentary on the latest themes in financial markets.  

A current AIM International Fund Holding: ICON Plc (ICLR) by: Brian Holland "A Strong Hold for ICON"

ICON Plc (ICLR, $112.83): “ICON Keeps Momentum after Strong Q3”
By: Brian Holland, AIM Student at Marquette University

Disclosure: The AIM Equity Fund currently holds this position. This article was written by myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it and I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.


• ICON Plc (NASDAQ: ICLR) is a contract research organization, which engages in the provision of outsourced development services to the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device industries.  The company operates in four geographical segments: Ireland, Rest of Europe, United States, and Rest of World.

• ICON’s acquisition of Mapi strengthens their existing commercialization and outcomes research business. The company continues to have a preference regarding capital deployment toward tuck-in M&A.

• Client Concentration continues to diversify with Pfizer declining to 16.6% of overall revenue.

• ICON posted a gross book-to-bill of 1.57x and a net book-to-bill of 1.32x.

Key points: ICON completed the acquisition of Mapi in the third quarter of 2017.  The deal was completed for $144.1 million.  Mapi is a leading patient centered health outcomes research and commercialization company.  The acquisition adds significant commercialization presence, analytics, and evidence generation and strategic regulatory expertise.  The acquisition enables ICON to access the Mapi Research Trust, the industries most subscribed library of Clinical Outcomes Assessments.  The acquisition of Mapi has led to a net revenue increase of 2.4% so far.  The company has substantial free cash flow to continue to seek attractive targets.

ICON has made an emphasis on diversifying client concentration for the company.  In the third quarter of 2016, Pfizer represented around 25.2% of the company’s net revenue.  However, in the third quarter of 2017, Pfizer accounted for only 16.6% of total revenue.  Revenue growth of 4.8% year over year was achieved in the quarter, with a 17% increase in non-Pfizer revenue.  The company expects Pfizer to account for around 18% of total revenue for the fiscal year and plans to reach 10-12% moving forward.

Finally, in the third quarter ICON posted a gross book-to-bill of 1.57x and a net book-to-bill of 1.32x.  The book-to-bill ratio is widely used in the CRO industry as a measure of demand for services.  A ratio above 1 means the company has backlog contracts or strong demand.  In the third quarter, Icon recorded business wins of $691 million, representing a 20.8% increase year over year.  Furthermore, company backlog was boosted by 8%.

What has the stock done lately?

ICON is currently trading at $120.47.  For the majority of the last 3 months, ICON has been trading around $105-$112.  However, on October 26, 2017 the stock jumped to $122.79.  The increase represented an 8.8% jump in pricing.  The increase was primarily due to a strong earnings report on that day.  The company reported EPS of $1.35, an increase of 13.4% from the third quarter in 2016 and $0.04 increase from last quarter.

Past Year Performance:

ICON has increased 57.10% in value over the past year.  The company has continued to perform strongly in the market, trading very closely to the company 52 week high.  The tremendous growth this year can be attributed to three impressive quarters and an EPS that has grown each quarter.

Source: FactSet

My Takeaway

ICON Plc has proven to be a great buy for shareholders in the past year.  The acquisition of Mapi should add a significant presence to ICON’s commercialization and improve analytics.  The company has successfully diversified their client concentration while continuing to increase revenue.  Finally, the company continues to post impressive book-to-bill numbers and business wins.  After a strong third quarter, ICON’s management believes the company will continue their success in the fourth quarter.  For these reasons, it is recommended that ICON Plc remain in the AIM International Equity fund for the time being.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Ninth set of AIM student equity presentations of the fall semester will be on Friday, November 10, 2017 from 2:15 - 3:30 pm

AIM Class of 2018 Student Equity Presentations - Friday, November 10th

The ninth set of AIM student equity presentations of the fall semester will be on Friday, November 10th, 2017 from 2:15 - 3:30 pm.

Follow the link to review the student equity write-ups for November 10th (Write-up) presentations.

Location:  Marquette University, College of Business Administration - Straz Hall, 1225 W. Wisconsin Avenue, Milwaukee 53233 - in the AIM Research Room 488, 4th Floor

Equity presentations will continue the rest of the semester on Friday afternoons in the AIM Room except for the following dates:
  • Road Show in Chicago on December 1st

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

A current AIM International Fund Holding: Kone (KNYJY) by Kevin Blank "Keen on a Kone Hold"

Kone Oyj ADR (KNYJY, $26.75): “Elevating Order Growth”
By: Kevin Blank, AIM Student at Marquette University

Disclosure: The AIM International Equity Fund currently holds this position. This article was written by myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it and I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.


Kone (OTC:KNYJY) is a global leader in the elevator and escalator industry with 41% of revenue coming from the Asia-Pacific region and 33% coming from the European market. The Americas, Africa and Middle East represent the remaining 26%.

• The underlying fundamentals in the Chinese real estate show a healthy market, but government policies and restrictions will decide short-term cycles.

• Urbanization and equipment aging in China may provide growth opportunity in new equipment sales and management has transitioned from a cyclical business to a more defensive business through required maintenance and servicing.    

• The Americas and EMEA have seen significant order growth and a growing market share. 

Key points:

Kone had a positive third quarter with orders returning to growth China and continued order growth in the Americas and EMEA. Q3 orders received grew at a comparable change of 2.1% and sales at 4.4%. According to management, the near-term market outlook remains mixed. The Chinese new equipment market is expected to remain stable for full year 2017 and government restrictions in the Chinese residential market will have a negative effect on new equipment demand for 1H2018. The outlook remains positive for services and other new equipment markets. Kone has a proven high-quality business model that provides reoccurring maintenance revenue and participates in upside from new equipment orders.

Concerns on a China slowdown, especially due to the fast price growth in the real estate market, will impact Kone in the short term. Government restrictions in place will affect property sales and inventory levels in China. Kone is a market leader in China with ~30,000 customers including nine of China’s top ten developers. Real estate investment in China has been driven by construction activity and rising land prices. China is the world’s largest elevator and escalator market by installed base and although new equipment orders will see pressure, the market in China may shift more to services and maintenance.

Urbanization and aging equipment provides an excellent growth opportunity for Kone in the future years. The number of people living in urban areas within China continues to increase. With the lack of space and land available, buildings will continue to be built higher. By 2018, it is estimated that elevators over 15 years old will increase 22% each year, showing the need for new equipment and required maintenance.

Growth of core cities in Europe and the need for affordable housing is driving new equipment orders in Europe. New residential construction expanded 8.8% in 2016 and 2017 is expected to be ~7% growth. New non-residential construction grew 2.5% in 2016 and 2017 is expected to be ~3% in 2017. The UK and Germany are Kone’s largest modernization markets and the aging installed base provides opportunity for new building and renovation.

What has the stock done lately?

KNYJY has hovered around $26 – $28, the month of October remained relatively flat posting a 0.65% increase in share price. The market saw increased volume heading into Q3 earnings, Kone’s performance was in line with the market. In 3Q17, global new equipment market was stable in units ordered compared to 3Q16.

Past Year Performance:

The stock has increased 19.81% over the past year. The 52-week range is $21.29 - $28.17. Energy efficiency has been a major trend in the industry and Kone has benefitted from replacing hydraulic elevators with more technically advanced, space saving, energy efficient elevators.

Source: FactSet

My Takeaway

Kone’s net sales are estimated to grow by 1-3% at comparable exchange rates as compared to 2016. Revenue from orders are back on growth track and servicing segment continues to expand. EBIT has been impacted by FX and raw material costs. Growth in Europe and China will be key drivers for Kone in 2018 with the aging equipment and urbanization. Compared to their competitors, Kone has emphasized improving customer loyalty, through fast delivery of service and improving efficiency. Kone is a leader in the elevator and escalator industry and I believe Kone should remain a position in the AIM International Equity Fund.

Source: FactSet

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

A current AIM International Fund Holding: Iberdrola (IBDRY) by Derek Grifka "Powering Up"

Iberdrola (IBDRY, $31.07): “Headwinds and Tailwinds on the Horizon for Iberdrola”
By: Derek Grifka, AIM Student at Marquette University

Disclosure: The AIM Equity Fund currently holds this position. This article was written by myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it and I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

Iberdrola SA Sponsored ADR. (OTC:IBDRY) is a Spanish electric utilities company that distributes electricity and gas with an increasing emphasis on renewable energy. The company had over 34 million users across the globe in 2016 with 46% of revenue coming from Spain, 23% from the UK, and almost 21% from the US. Its primary facilities include more than 300 windfarms, over 100 hydro power plants, and hundreds of other power plants.

• Expansion in the Baltic Sea is providing energy across Germany.

• Political uncertainty in Spain presents danger for the company.

• Success in Brazil has greatly helped the company, thanks to increased wind generation.

• H1 2017 slow compared to exceptional H1 2016.

Key points:

70 wind turbines have been installed off the coast of the German island of Rugen, as of late October 2017. The 350 megawatt home should be able to power around 350,000 homes across the globe and save the environment 600,000 tonnes (1,000 kg) of CO2 emissions. This project created about 2,000 construction jobs.

Although only 5.4% of the company’s total revenue comes from Brazil, the country is becoming a major player in the company’s success. In August of 2017, the company decided it would incorporate the activity of its Brazilian subsidiary, Elektro, into Brazilian power distributor, Neoenergia.

This merger makes the company the largest electricity utility in Brazil, servicing more than 34 million people. Both companies combined for total FY 2016 revenue of 7.9 billion euros. Additionally, Iberdrola as a whole is reporting success in Brazil and reported about a 99% increase in wind generation in Brazil during Q3 2017.

Although H1 2017 was slower than H1 2016, the company is still seeing some positives. Its net profit grew 4.2% to 1.5 billion euros and it still maintains a generous dividend of 3.4%. However, Q1 EBITDA dropped 8.2% and fell 3.6% in Q2. Despite success across the globe, Spain saw lower output compared to the exceptionally high 2016.

What has the stock done lately?

The Catalan crisis in Spain caused the stock to dip to a low of just above $29 from mid-August to October 4th. In that time span, the stock decreased over 10%. The Catalan region of Spain is seeking independence to become its own independent and sovereign country because many inhabitants believe the unemployment throughout the country is slowing the region. Catalonia accounts for about 19% of Spain’s GDP, so if the region were to enact independence, this could have adverse effects on the company. However, the stock has rebounded in the recent weeks, mostly due to confidence that the break-up will not occur. This confidence comes with the ability of the Spanish government in Madrid to observe Article 155, which allows the government to intervene in the running of Catalonia.

Past Year Performance: Despite the recent blip due to the Catalan government crisis, the stock has done almost nothing but rise. In the past year, the stock rose over 19% with little volatility. Coupled with a strong dividend and a 52 week beta of -0.37, the stock is a rather safe investment with growth potential.
Source: FactSet

My Takeaway

The company still remains to be a dominant player in the utilities sector, despite slower H1 2017 results. It is a little concerning that the majority of revenue comes from Spain, and the company has been slightly struggling there. However, the slower 2017 should slightly be offset by the increase in success in Brazil and Germany. Despite the uncertainty with the Spanish government, the company should continue to be a major force across the globe.