Posts Tagged ‘Burkenroad Reports’
Wednesday, February 25th, 2015
“Aaron was one of the greatest, smartest investors I ever met,” says Peter Ricchiuti. “He was the consummate value investor, always looking for things that were out of favor. I learned so much from him.”
Instructor Myke Yest says the Selber Course delves into an important yet often neglected area of finance. (Photos by Mahesh Rajan.)
Ricchiuti, founder and director of Burkenroad Reports, is talking about businessman and private investor Aaron Selber Jr. (BBA ’50), who died in August 2013 following a long illness. A member of the Burkenroad family by his marriage to the former Peggy Burkenroad, Selber played a major role in the family’s decision to endow Ricchiuti’s program in honor of his late father-in-law, New Orleans coffee magnate William B. Burkenroad Jr. (’23), and he remained one of its biggest champions until his death.
This semester, the Freeman School introduced a new course to pay tribute to Selber’s lifelong commitment to Tulane University. The Aaron Selber Jr. Course in Alternative Investments is a finance elective dedicated to the wide-ranging category that encompasses everything from real estate to hedge funds. While future offerings may explore other areas, this semester’s class focuses exclusively on one alternative investment: distressed debt, the highly complex investing space that Selber enjoyed most.
According to course instructor Myke Yest, the class delves into an important yet often neglected area of finance.
“Investors spend far more time talking about the equity of a company than they do the debt side, but the reality is that the value of the bond market is far greater than the equity markets,” says Yest, a professor of practice in finance. “Distressed debt was an area that Mr. Selber was truly passionate about, so what better way to honor him than to make an entire course about distressed debt?”
The course combines lectures and case studies on non-investment-grade bonds with talks from an all-star lineup of guest speakers, including James Duplessie (MBA ’84), head of Distressed Debt Strategies at Napier Park Global Capital, and Howard Marks, co-chairman of Oaktree Capital Management and one of the nation’s leading experts on distressed securities.
Investor Dewey Corley spoke about his friend Aaron Selber and his approach to distressed debt as the course’s first guest lecturer.
Kicking off the guest lecture series on Jan. 15 was Dewey W. Corley (L ’70), Selber’s longtime friend and business partner. Corley worked with Selber’s son-in-law Robert H. Autenreith (E ’74, MBA ’78) and all the members of the family to help raise $1.2 million to name the course in Selber’s honor.
“Aaron was an inspirational guy,” says Corley, who met Selber in the early 1970s and became his investing partner in 1998. “He cared deeply about education, about Tulane University and about investing, so I think he’d be delighted to know that this course had been established in his honor.”
While students in the course will gain the technical skills necessary to analyze and value distressed debt, the class also features an experiential learning component in the spirit of Selber’s beloved Burkenroad Reports. Yest plans to have his students write analysis reports on distressed companies detailing why the company is in distress, what piece of its debt they’d recommend purchasing, and what the most likely return for investors is. In a crowded job market, Yest says the reports can help students gain a critical edge.
“We can have a curriculum that is technically very strong, but if we’re not giving students relevant, applicable experience, we’re not doing our job,” Yest says. “The Selber Course gives students not only some unique technical skills, but also a deliverable to show potential employers what they did at Tulane, and that goes a long way toward helping them to stand apart from the competition.”
Ricchiuti, whose program has been helping students stand apart from the crowd for almost 25 years, echoes that thought.
“Aaron was always interested in creating things at Tulane that weren’t available anywhere else,” Ricchiuti says. “Burkenroad Reports was one of those things, and now I think the Selber Course is as well. When students come out of it, they’ll have a set of skills that nobody else has, and that’s something I think Aaron would be very proud of.”
Thursday, December 11th, 2014
Tulane University’s Burkenroad Reports won top honors this week for best teaching delivery in the prestigious Wharton-QS Stars Awards, an international competition recognizing innovative approaches in higher education that enhance learning and student employability.
Peter Ricchiuti, founder and director of Burkenroad Reports, which earned a national award for innovative teaching on Tuesday.
The program, within the A. B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane University, gives students practical stock analysis experience by covering traditionally overlooked small-cap companies in the Gulf South. Each year 200 students meet top management, visit company sites and publish investment research reports on 40 “stocks under rocks” in six states.
“This is an amazing recognition of the work we have been doing for the past 21 years,” said Peter Ricchiuti, Burkenroad Reports founder and director. “It is particularly meaningful because it celebrates both the creativity of the program and its results in developing strong, well-prepared students. Burkenroad Reports has sent about 600 students off to careers in the investment field.”
Hancock Bank manages a mutual fund based on the program. It has over $750 million in assets and has outperformed about 99 percent of the nation’s nearly 7,000 equity mutual funds, Ricchiuti said.
“The investment community has praised the research excellence of Burkenroad Reports for years, but I don’t think as many people realize it’s also a unique and innovative educational program,” said Freeman School Dean Ira Solomon. “I’m very pleased to see Peter and his staff receive this well-deserved national recognition for developing and executing a truly outstanding educational program.”
The Wharton-QS Stars Awards took place on Dec. 9 in Philadelphia. The competition, developed by the Wharton School SEI Center of the University of Pennsylvania and QS Quacquarelli Symonds, publisher of the QS World University Rankings, received submissions from 427 universities and enterprises from 43 countries. It included 21 awards judged by a panel of 25 international experts. A list of winners is available at http://www.reimagine-education.com.
For more information on Burkenroad Reports, visit http://www.burkenroad.org.
Thursday, November 13th, 2014
From Bloomberg Markets magazine, November 2014:
The fund takes its name from the Burkenroad Reports written by students at Tulane’s Freeman School of Business. Peter Ricchiuti founded the program in 1993 and named it after William Burkenroad Jr., a Tulane alum and donor. Each year, about 200 undergraduate and graduate students in Ricchiuti’s course fan out in teams across the South and spend a day with executives at about 40 publicly traded firms. The companies are often hungry for the attention, Ricchiuti says. “The further you are from Wall Street, the more you’re likely to find companies that nobody knows about. They don’t tend to get overpriced and overhyped.”
To read the article in its entirety, visit Bloomberg.com:
Tuesday, January 14th, 2014
As director of the Freeman School’s Burkenroad Reports program, Peter Ricchiuti has spent more than 20 years highlighting the small, profitable companies that often fly under the radar of Wall Street. Now, Ricchiuti has collected some of the lessons he’s learned over the years in a new book.
Stocks Under Rocks shares some of the lessons of the Freeman School’s Burkenroad Reports program.
Stocks Under Rocks: How to Uncover Overlooked, Profitable Market Opportunities (FT Press), co-written with New Orleans Advocate features editor Annette Sisco, is a funny, informative guide to investing based on Riccchiuti’s experiences running the acclaimed student equities research program.
“It’s all the stories I tell in class and all the stories we get from visiting with the companies, but integrated into the funny stories is what we found that makes those companies a smart investment,” says Ricchiuti, a professor of practice in finance. “Every company represents a few anecdotes and a few funny stories but also one investment lesson learned.”
For example, don’t limit your investments to hip, sexy stocks. Ricchiuti says hopelessly unfashionable companies like pawn shops and convenience stores may not win you many points at cocktail parties, but they often generate higher returns than the latest media darling tech company.
“It’s the least attractive stuff,” Ricchiuti laughs, “but when you look at the financials, they all have great stories.”
Investors willing to look beyond the surface would learn that Cash America, for example, the pawn shop company, actually derives much of its revenue from a lucrative online loan business, while Susser Holdings, operator of Stripes convenience stores, attracts customers with a chain of high-quality in-store Mexican restaurants.
Ricchiuti says the biggest lesson of all when it comes to regional small-cap stocks is that individual investors really can gain an advantage over Wall Street.
“The conventional wisdom, particularly in academia, is that every stock is already efficiently priced, but when you get down low enough and small enough, there’s often times no other coverage,” Ricchiuti says. “If you’re willing to do the research, you really can know more than anyone else, and for an investor, that’s a great place to be.”
Peter Ricchiuti will be reading from and signing Stocks Under Rocks at the uptown location of Maple Street Book Shop on Thursday, Feb. 6, at 6 p.m.
Tuesday, October 15th, 2013
To commemorate the Freeman School’s 100th anniversary, NASDAQ displayed a special congratulatory message this morning on its famed MarketSite Tower in Times Square.
For more than 20 years, NASDAQ has been a dedicated corporate partner of the Freeman School. The company has sponsored the Burkenroad Reports program since its founding and is also a sponsor of the annual Burkenroad Reports Investment Conference. In 2006, NASDAQ donated $50,000 to help restart Burkenroad Reports in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The company has also hosted numerous tours and site visits for students, including a September 2013 site visit as part of Freeman Days New York.
“NASDAQ is proud to be a partner supporting the program and all the great things Peter [Ricchiuti] has accomplished over the years,” wrote Tuan Le, director of NASDAQ OMX.
Thursday, October 10th, 2013
The Freeman School’s Burkenroad Reports program earned a national spotlight this week with a high-profile feature in Barron’s magazine.
Barron’s praised Burkenroad Reports for the impressive record of its student analysts.
In Schooling Wall Street in the Big Easy, Barron’s reporter Christopher C. Williams profiles the long-running equities research program and highlights the impressive record of its student analysts.
Williams interviewed Peter Ricchiuti, professor of practice and founder of the program, for the article along with student analyst Jimmy Dunn (MBA ’14) and David Lundgren, manager of the Hancock Horizon Burkenroad Small Cap Fund, a mutual fund inspired by the program and which uses the reports as a primary source of research.
“Ricchiuti and his students zero in on what they consider value stocks, typically trading with a price-to-earnings growth ratio of less than one,” Williams writes. “Their targets tend to be little-known outfits in the energy or industrial fields, with market value below $1 billion, but they can pack a wallop in terms of stock performance.”
As an example of that performance, Williams cites appliance and furniture retailer Conn’s. Since earning a market outperform rating from students two years, the company’s stock has gained more than 600 percent.
“Schooling Wall Street in the Big Easy” appeared in the Oct. 7, 2013, print edition of Barron’s and is also available online at Barrons.com (subscription required).
Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012
This year’s Burkenroad Reports Investment Conference attracted a record attendance, and according to conference organizer Peter Ricchiuti, that’s a good sign for the economy.
Peter Ricchiuti, right, says the best-performing Burkenroad Reports stocks this year were tied to consumer products and consumer confidence. (Photo by Stephen Daigle)
“I think investors are starting to get a little bit of their mojo back, and that really showed up in terms of how many people came,” says Ricchiuti, professor of practice and research director of Burkenroad Reports. “The other reason is people are really sick of getting 0 percent on their CDs and money markets. I think that was a driving force, too.”
The conference, which took place on Friday (April 27) at the Westin New Orleans Canal Place, is an annual showcase for the small- and mid-cap companies covered by the Freeman School’s Burkenroad Reports equities research program, but it also serves as a barometer of sorts for the economy, and judging by this year’s results, consumer confidence is back with a vengeance. Of the 40 companies followed by the program’s student analysts, the best performers this year were all consumer-oriented firms.
Leading the pack was Conn’s Inc., a Texas-based electronics retailer, whose stock boasted a total return of 229 percent in the last 12 months. Conn’s was followed by Susser Holdings Corp., an operator of convenience stores in Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Louisiana, which returned 98 percent, and Pool Corp., a wholesale distributor of pool and pool-related products, which returned 56 percent.
Perhaps an even bigger story at the conference this year was the disaster in natural gas prices. A boom in production coupled with an unusually warm winter has had a devastating effect on prices, and that drop has hit some Burkenroad companies hard. RPC Inc., an oilfield services company that does a lot of work with natural gas projects, has seen its share price fall from $18 to $9 in the last year.
The short-term picture may look bleak, but Ricchiuti says the long-term outlook for natural gas—an abundant domestic source of clean-burning fuel—remains bright.
“Sometimes, the stocks that are least loved turn out the best,” Ricchiuti says. “Last year at this time, everybody was worried if consumers would come back, and consumer stocks led the way this year. Now everybody’s fearing that natural gas will be swallowed up alive, so this is probably the time to be buying those stocks.”
This year’s conference attracted more than 700 attendees hailing from 18 states and three foreign countries, and in keeping with tradition, Ricchiuti says that number was almost equally divided between pinstriped professionals and so-called retail investors, the amateurs and hobbyists who attend the conference each year to help them better manage their IRAs and 401(k)s.
“We had some big-name professional people from some big firms, but you still had the housewives from Marrero, ” Ricchiuti laughs. “That was fun too.”
Tuesday, April 17th, 2012
From NPR’s Morning Edition, April 17, 2012:
NPR’s John Ydstie spoke with Peter Ricchiuti, professor of practice and research director of Burkenroad Reports, about the the boom in natural gas production.
Peter Ricchiuti, a professor at Tulane University in New Orleans and an expert on oil and gas production, says the normal supply-and-demand laws of economics aren’t working as they used to in the industry.
“Historically, this has always been kind of a self-governing mechanism,” Ricchiuti says. “When natural gas prices got too low, you’d start to see the industry lay down rigs until prices went back up again, and it was very effective. It was sometimes jokingly referred to as the ‘Redneck OPEC.’ ”
To listen to the entire segment, visit NPR.org:
Sunday, March 11th, 2012
The mutual fund based in part on the Freeman School’s Burkenroad Reports investment research program recently celebrated its 10-year anniversary with a pair of prestigious honors.
Peter Ricchiuti says the performance of the Hancock Horizon Burkenroad Small Cap Fund has been phenomenal.
Morningstar awarded the Hancock Horizon Burkenroad Small Cap Fund a coveted five-star overall rating, and Lipper ranked the fund as the second-best performer out of 303 funds in the small-cap core category over the last 10 years.
“It’s just a phenomenal story,” says Peter Ricchiuti, professor of practice and director of research for Burkenroad Reports. “I had high hopes for the fund, but its performance has exceeded my expectations.”
Inspired by the “stocks under rocks” philosophy of Burkenroad Reports, Hancock Bank launched the Burkenroad Fund in December 2001 to target companies located in the South with market capitalizations of less than $2 billion, a category that often flies under the radar of Wall Street. Befitting its name, fund managers use Burkenroad Reports as a significant source of research and invest in many of the companies followed by the program’s student analysts.
From less than $1 million in assets at launch, the fund has grown to more than $90 million. Even more impressively, it’s generated a return of 10.59 percent since inception, almost double that of the benchmark Russell 2000 index.
“The fund has outperformed about 99 percent of all equity mutual funds in its lifetime, and if you break it down to one-year, three-year and five-year numbers, the fund beat the benchmarks in those years too,” Ricchiuti says. “That’s unusual because you’re usually going to have times where some sectors or investment styles do better than others. To beat the S&P 500 and Russell 2000 in every period over 10 years is kind of amazing.”
To date, nearly 600 graduates of the Burkenroad Reports program have gone on to careers in the investment field. Ricchiuti says the success of the mutual fund gives students seeking to follow in those footsteps another valuable talking point for job interviews.
“The students not only have Burkenroad Reports to show prospective employers, but now they have the fund to talk about as well,” Ricchiuti says. “To be able to say your recommendations are going into a $90 million five-star mutual fund is a pretty impressive thing.”
Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011
From wsj.com, May 2, 2011:
With so much hand-wringing going on, MarketBeat dropped a line to Peter Ricchiuti, a professor at Tulane University’s A.B. Freeman School of Business who has been tracking and trading small-cap companies for the past two decades. Are even some of small-cap’s biggest long-term boosters starting to get a bit hot under the collar? Uh, yes.
“I don’t know if it can continue,” Ricchiuti says, ticking off a list of worries. “The gap between pricing on large- and small-caps is, historically, very high. Another negative is that small caps tend to outperform large caps in the early stages of a recovery, and we’re starting to get some traction in the economy. That doesn’t bode well either.”
To read the entire article, visit http://blogs.wsj.com: