Ideas with Impact
UNB Faculty of Management

Navigating the future of finance: Dr. Joseph DeCoste and UNB's Student Investment Fund

Author: Faculty of Management

Posted on Oct 25, 2023

Category: Faculty Highlights , Programs , Student Investment Fund

The University of New Brunswick’s Student Investment Fund (SIF) course has a new dedicated instructor, Dr. Joseph DeCoste, who joined the faculty of management in 2022 and is a member of the finance area.

The SIF course seamlessly combines the study path for the CFA Level One exam with hands-on investment experience. Its inception dates back to 1998 when industry partner Vestcor entrusted students with the oversight of a $1 million pension fund, allowing them to gain firsthand experience in managing investments. UNB further enriched the initiative by contributing a $2.5 million portion of its endowment fund, previously managed by SEAMARK Asset Management. Today, this combined fund exceeds $13.5 million, making the SIF one of Canada's largest and most successful student-managed funds.

DeCoste was familiar with student-managed investment funds before coming to UNB, but what stood out when he joined the SIF at UNB was its commitment to high standards, and its proven success in preparing students for the global job market.

“The SIF has benefited over its 25-year history from having extremely knowledgeable and dedicated stewards who truly want to make a difference in their student's lives,” he says. “They have left their mark on the program, but also most notably on the many successful alumni who have remained engaged with the SIF over the years out of a desire to give back. I’ve been lucky to inherit what my predecessors have built and I look forward to continuing to build on that.”

As the current students advance into their first term in the SIF, they are actively assigned to sectors, working diligently to understand their designated sectors and companies. They also focus on honing their technical skills to effectively analyze them. DeCoste says he is impressed with the students' commitment, genuine interest, and the quality of discussions during their weekly meetings, where relevant market news is dissected. "I am truly impressed with the level of engagement and quality of discussion among the new analysts. I believe it will be a remarkable year."

Dr. DeCoste wants to evolve the SIF experience to align more closely with the expectations of the capital markets world upon graduation, thus better preparing students for internships and job opportunities. “This involves bolstering the focus on portfolio management, teamwork, and mentorship and expanding to provide opportunities for motivated students to engage in the SIF earlier in their programs to better prepare them for internships before graduation.”

Before joining UNB, Dr. DeCoste earned a Ph.D. in Finance at the University of Alberta. His research interests lie in understanding financial market behavior, particularly exploring instances when efficient markets might falter. His current research delves into the impact of financialization and indexing on asset prices and the real economy. "The bundling of assets into indexes encourages investors to trade entire baskets, often without evaluating individual constituent investments. This can lead to investment demand disconnected from an asset's economic fundamentals and distort asset prices. I am presently investigating how this phenomenon affects commodity spot prices and equity return characteristics."

Learn more about the Student Investment Fund and Dr. Joseph DeCoste.

Photo: Dr. Joseph DeCoste (centre) with members of the 2023-2024 Student Investment Fund (SIF) class. Decoste is the new dedicated instructor for SIF.

Media contact: Liz Lemon-Mitchell