Clearing the air around Investment Club


Illustration credit: Riley Young.

For being one of our most speculated clubs, it’s surprising how little observing students know about Urban’s Investment Club. Meeting every other Wednesday, it’s rumored to be a group where teenage boys talk crypto and play around with $100,000 in real cash. How much of that is actually true?

In the fall of 2015, two rising seniors wanted to create an educational space where Urban Students could learn about investment with real money. Both with a passion for finance, they teamed with Urban’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and the school administration to elect a board of students to The Urban Investment Fund. The board is open to all grades, and they have the power to vote on decisions made in the club. A series of bylaws were set in place simultaneously. The bylaw document defines the Funds Statement of Purpose, and 16 provisions, or rules the club must maintain. This fund began when an anonymous donor gifted the club $100,000 dollars.  The purpose of the club is, “To provide a new educational experience to all students interested in finance and investments,” according to The Urban Investment Fund bylaw document. Each year when the club makes a profit, 50 percent of the returns are taken out of the clubs First Republic retail investment account, and gifted to Urban’s general endowment. The other 50 percent goes back into The Urban Investment Fund.

In making that money, a common misconception is that the club has excessive control over its stocks. “This is a long term thing,” Investment Club’s Faculty Advisor Kenny Daniels said. “There’s a lot of different steps. The club talks about it, the board talks about it, many presentations are made and decisions are made based on what people think as a whole. It’s a slow process, so nothing’s done carelessly.” 

When making changes to the portfolio, students do not have access to the money directly. Investment Club President Oliver Pritikin ‘24 said, “If we decide that we sell a stock we can’t just click a button, it has to go through Diane Walters (CFO) as well for final approval…We’re doing research and giving advice to Diane on how the funds should be invested and she can veto it anytime.”

Because of this long process, board members need to be careful decision makers as they recognize the responsibility the fund requires. “It’s $100,000 real dollars, so you have to be a lot more cautious about which things you’re investing in. Whereas when it’s fake money, you don’t have the same situation. It’s more like, ‘am I making the right decision? Am I gonna be broke if I lose all my money?’” said Vice-President of Investment Club, Asher Ballon ‘25. 

To practice and understand handling money, the club ranges from bringing in guest speakers to exploring stock market simulators. Investment Club’s Treasurer Simon Bordoli ‘25 said the members are taught lessons that can be closely applicable to the fund. For example, he said that one time they did a learning experiment, “I’ll give you five candies. And you can either take the five candies or I can flip a coin and you’ll get ten candies or no candy. It’s to teach you about risk aversion and how people can compute risk.” said Bordoli. 

The Investment Club has many educational perks, however, there’s still room for improvement regarding gender inclusion. “I’ve come out of investment club and people ask me, ‘is that YMG (Young Men’s Group)?’” Bordoli said. 

Daniels shared that he understands the club needs to put in effort to broaden its demographic. “We’re really lacking diversity in the club. There’s no doubt about it. And it’s almost all boys. It has been for a long time, and we need to figure out how to change that.” said Daniels.

“We’re all trying to learn,” said Ballon. “The club is more interesting and [does] more active decision making when there’s a more diverse perspective.”