The Saluki Student Investment Fund was established in June 2000 through the generosity of Mr. Omar Winter and his wife Carol, both alumni of the Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Mr. and Mrs. Winter provided $25,000 to start the student investment fund. Shortly thereafter, the SIU Foundation provided $200,000 for the students to manage on its behalf – in essence, the SIU Foundation hired the SSIF as one of its portfolio managers. The goal of Mr. and Mrs. Winter and the SIU Foundation was to provide SIU undergraduate students with hands-on experience in portfolio management and investment research.
Dr. Mark Peterson, Gordon & Sharon Teel Professor of Finance was the inaugural faculty advisor to the SSIF and remained its advisor over its first decade. During that first decade, the assets under management for the SSIF grew to more than $325,000 and had participation from more than 60 SIU undergraduates. When Dr. Peterson stepped up as Chair of the Department of Finance in 2010, Dr. Jason Greene, Professor of Finance, became the SSIF faculty advisor.
In April 2011, the SSIF made a proposal to the SIU Foundation to increase its mandate from approximately $370,000 to $1,000,000. In recognition of the diligence of the SSIF students in managing the portfolio for the SIU Foundation, the Foundation’s Investment Committee approved the increase and transferred an additional $630,000 to the account managed by the SSIF in May 2011.
Since the SSIF was originally chartered for undergraduate students only, graduate students did not have the opportunity to learn more about business and investing through this hands-on experience. During Fall 2012 and Spring 2013, a handful of College of Business graduate students drafted a proposal to create the Graduate Student Investment Fund (GSIF). The graduate students created their investment philosophy and process and proposed that they manage a large cap core strategy on behalf of the SIU Foundation. Based in part of the success of the undergraduate SSIF and the strength of their proposal, the SIU Foundation approved the GSIF for a $500,000 mandate and funded the account in August 2013. The GSIF managed against the S&P 500 large cap benchmark, while the SSIF manages against the S&P Midcap 400 Index. The two organizations operated separately until the summer of 2018 when the GSIF members and assets were absorbed by the SSIF. With this merger, graduate students are now permitted to join the SSIF for this invaluable hands-on experience.