The Stock Market is More than Fun and Games for Key Investors

<img src="KeyInvestorsMeeting.jpg" alt="Four Upper School  Key Investors with advisor on Zoom call">

Almost two years ago Key Investors, a student activity led at the time by Drew Loughlin ‘19, presented to the Investment Committee of Key’s Board of Trustees the idea of managing funds on behalf of the School’s Endowment. “We had no idea what to expect,” said Drew.  “I shared that it would give Key School a chance to demonstrate some of the School's core values—faculty respecting students, students having real-world applications of their learning—in a tangible way that students and families could appreciate.” To the surprise and delight of the students, the committee voted to give a discrete pool of capital from the Endowment to be managed by Key Investors.

As a student-led activity, Key Investors comprises students who are interested in learning about the stock market and principles of investing through peer-led discussions, a stock market simulation game, guest lectures from industry professionals, and hands-on management of their Endowment portfolio, including regular reporting to and support from the Investment Committee. Their faculty advisors are Erika Cartledge, Key’s Major Gifts Director, and Tatiana Klein, Upper School Spanish teacher. Although the past year has looked very different for Key’s students, Key Investors has continued to meet regularly over Zoom—even during the summer—and diligently manage their portfolio on behalf of Key School. “I have been incredibly impressed by the way the students have taken their responsibility for the portfolio so seriously,” says Ms. Cartledge. “The students have a thoughtful process for researching potential investments, presenting them to each other, and then voting on whether to make a purchase and how much to purchase for the portfolio.” In addition to managing their Endowment portfolio, the more advanced students in Key Investors regularly welcome new students into the fold and work to get them up-to-speed with various investment concepts so they can actively participate with the group. 

Beyond hands-on investment experience, the students in Key Investors continue to gain knowledge and skills that will be useful in the future. “Outside of investing, I have developed leadership and presentation skills while participating in Key Investors,” says sophomore Alex Barranco. “Last year, I became one of three co-leaders and worked with Owen [Wood ‘21] and Clayton [Wrinn ‘21] to get ready every week to discuss a new stock or teach our new members investing basics. Our skills and knowledge were put to the test earlier this year while presenting to the Investment Committee and then the Board of Trustees. This was a nerve-racking experience but I think both meetings went well. While Key does a great job of teaching presentation and leadership skills, Key Investors really pushed me to perfect those skills in order to successfully lead a meeting every week.”

While the students may have been nervous presenting to the Investment Committee and Board, their presentations were well-received and their hard work—including a portfolio that is up 20% since inception—did not go unnoticed. Board and Investment Committee member Colin Harrington sums up the experience and work of Key Investors beautifully, “The Investment Committee has been so impressed with the Key Investors. From their slightly audacious initial pitch, to their crafting of a detailed investment process and thoughtful succession plan, the Key Investors have exceeded our expectations all the way.  It was wonderful to see their poised and confident presentation to the full Board, and their investment results have been commensurate with their significant effort.  Hats off to the many members of the Activity who have managed this portion of the School Endowment over the past few years—they embody experiential learning at its best.”