The initial idea for an Oregon Investment Group stemmed from the minds and cooperation of three students: Adam Barycza, George Kosovich and Steve Zogas; and in 1998, with help and assistance from Associate Professor of Finance John Chalmers, this idea was made into a reality and the UOIG was born. Although many years have passed since its inception, the UOIG continues to focus its mission on providing practical, hands-on investment experience in order to achieve superior results with real money.
The UOIG’s first opportunity came in the form of a $50,000 portfolio provided by D.A. Davidson & Company in 1999. The portfolio was part of an annual competition among schools, but more importantly, it gave the students a chance to begin managing real money. This served as a stepping stone to a second, much larger portfolio.
In the year 2000, members of the group presented a plan to the UO Foundation, as well as to select private investors, in an attempt to create a larger portfolio to manage. Between the evident success of managing the D.A. Davidson portfolio and the group’s passion and professionalism, Lundquist College of Business alumni Roger Engemann, Grant Inman, Greg Houser, and Ralph Rittenour provided the initial funding for what became known as the Tall Firs Portfolio. Along with these four generous individuals, the UO Foundation agreed to allow the UOIG to manage $250,000, bringing the total contributed capital to $450,000.
However, the group’s expansion did not stop there. In 2003, members were able to move the UOIG office into the Cameron Finance Suite within the Lillis Business Complex. Then in 2005, Mr. Howard Svigals, a long-time supporter of the group, proposed investing $100,000 of his personal capital in accordance to UOIG suggestions. This generous decision became the third portfolio under the group’s management, and, by late 2006, Mr. Svigals began investing in equities as designated by the group. As this portfolio was fully owned by Mr. Svigals, the group was forced to consider the tax implications of their recommendations, adding another important element to its portfolio management strategy. In 2015, the Svigals’ Portfolio was liquidated, and, in its place, the Alumni Fund was created. This portfolio was made possible by a generous donation by Mr. Svigals, as well as donations from UOIG alumni.
Most recently, the group has been able to obtain S&P CapitalIQ financial software within its office. The software has enabled members to better screen securities, follow market trends and news, and has aided in the overall research process.
The UOIG has come a long way from its single portfolio and few members. Armed with three portfolios, a management team, a CapitalIQ subscription, and over $1,000,000 under management, the group has transformed in many ways over the past eighteen years. A large determinant to this success lies within its membership and mentoring program. Group members are successful individuals with a strong intellectual curiosity, the ability to think outside the box, and the discipline to stay focused and motivated during both bull and bear markets. More importantly, the UOIG has learned to invest in its people, teaching communication and leadership skills that will have a lasting effect on its members’ future careers.