Author Archives: Michael Jiang

College Students Running Million Dollar Hedge Fund

Whitman School of Management Students Get Some Real World Experience

by: Michael Jiang (NCC News)

Courtesy of Google Images

SYRACUSE, NY– Most college students have trouble keeping track of their bank accounts and credit cards. However, a group of juniors and seniors at Syracuse University spend a majority of their time in and out of the classroom learning how to and then managing a $1.2million hedge fund.

Founded in 2007, the Orange Value Fund is a two year money management program that trains students passionate about finance how to become investment bankers and asset managers. The fund invests according to Martin J. Whitman’s value investing philosophy. One of the biggest benefactors of the Fund and the namesake of Syracuse University’ s business school, Whitman is one of the country’s greatest value investors.

Students apply to join the Orange Value Fund during their sophomore years and are put through a rigorous interview process. Analysts in the fund quickly learn how to analyze financial statements, build detailed financial models, and value the worth of a companys.

Success in the Job Market

Analysts in the fund say that the experiential learning they gain in the Fund is what sets them apart from other students when it comes time to find jobs and internships.

“Although it’s really time consuming, but it really gives me the real experience on the financial services and also really help me to stand out,” said Maple Chen, a Junior Analyst in the Fund. Chen will go from working as an analyst in a fund based on Martin Whitman’s philosophies to actually working for Whitman this summer after landing the prestegious Third Avenue Management summer internship.

In addition to the cirriculum based learning, students say there is a great deal of organic learning as well.

“The exposure you get to different people, the exposure you get to each other, alot of students in the OVF are really good about sharing what they’ve learned and what they know so that’s really good. You learn kind of by friction, just by being in that environment,” said Oriana Fuentes. Fuentes is a Junior Analyst and will be interning at JP Morgan Chase & Co this summer.

Orange Value Fund analysts have landed full time positions and internships at several powerhouse Wall Street firms:

  • Blackrock
  • Goldman Sachs
  • Royal Bank of Scotland
  • JP Morgan Chase
  • KMPG
  • Lazard Freres

Since inception, the Fund has consistently beat the stock market. This year the Fund is up 11.61% compared to 2.34% for the S&P 500.

Success

Professor Fernando Diz is the Martin J. Whitman Professor of Finance and Managing Director of the Orange Value Fund and says that he loves seeing his students succeed.

“It helps me get out of bed in the morning and I love doing this…if i had to be an academic again I would shoot myself. I like coming to school preciselt to interact with these students,” Diz said.

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Prescription Drug Abuse

Drug Enforcement Agency Sponsors Second “Take Back the Drug” Initiative

by: Michael Jiang (NCC News)

Image Courtesy of Google Images

SYRACUSE, NY – Prescription drug abuse is a growing problem among teenagers and young children in the United States.
A report by the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) states that each day, 2,500 teenagers abuse prescription drugs for the first time. According to that same study, prescription drug abuse is the second only to marijuana among illegal substances used by teenagers.
One of the best ways to prevent drug abuse is to not leave leftover drugs lying around.
“Anybody that’s not taking a current medication should dispose of it properly and there’s been a lot of improper disposal in the past,” said Gary Brothers, the pharmacist at Harvey’s Pharamcy in Syracuse, NY.
 
He adds that, “the most common drugs being abused are the narcotic analgesics” such as oxycontin and viccodin.

Take Back the Drug Initiative

To combat this problem, the DEA is teaming up with local law enforement all over the country for the second ever National Take Back the Drug Initiative on April 23rd, where citizens can drop off unwanted drugs for proper disposal.

The first ever initative was held this past September and yieled over 121tons of unwanted drugs.

For Syracuse area residents, there are 10 locations in the area that will act as drop off points. For more information and full details, please visit the DEA’s website.

What Is Being Collected?

  • Medications: Over the counter drugs, prescription drugs, and controlled substancecs
  • Forms: Powders, liquids, ointments, gels, pills, and EPI-pens
  • NOT ACCEPTED: medical waste and needles

After the drugs are collected, they will be shipped to the DEA where they will be incincerated so that they do not pose any risk of polluting the water supply.

While this initiative is great for unwanted drugs, many households still carry large quantities of prescription and over the counter drugs that are actually being used. What can those parents do?

“Keeping their prescriptions in a safe and secure location where they know where they are at all times,” Brothers said.

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CNY Police Cracking Down on Window Tinting

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Month Long Crackdown on Tinted Windows

by: Michael Jiang (NCC News)

(C) Google Images

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – March 1st is the first day of a month long, county wide, police crackdown on tinted windows. This enforcement initative comes as a part of the overall police initative on dangerous driving habits where they are targeting one specific danger each month.

According to a law passed in 1992, in New York State car windows must allow 70% of light to pass through. Cars typically leave the lots of dealerships either at or close to this legal limit. As a result, adding even a thin layer of clear film could put drivers past limit. However, this hasn’t stopped many drivers from putting after-market tinting otheir windows.

“Teenagers, they get a new car, they want to get their windows tinted. Basically, it’s the first step to getting their rides pimped out,” said Bruno Natale, owner of CNY Solar Protection located on Teall Avenue in Syracuse. Drivers often put after market tints on their windows to block sunlight or just simply to make cars look more attractive. However, tinted windows can be hazardous on the road.

“Tinted windows that are over regulation affect depth perception of the driver in the car. It is a barrier for other drivers to make eye contact and reduces the range of visibility at night,” said Sgt. Derrida of the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Department.

Natale says that the police tend to crack down on tinted windows once every year. He says that so far they have received on average 7-8 appointments per day from drivers looking to get their window tints removed. However, he says that the crackdown won’t have any permanent effects.

“Once they pay the ticket, or get the ticket dimissed, they are usaully right back here putting the [tint] back on,” Natale said.

According to Natale, drivers who have “sportier” cars or cars with dark interiors are much more likely to be pulled over so he says that those drivers should use extreme caution when driving on the roads.

Window tint violations are considered an equipment violation and not a moving violation. Drivers who receive tickets can usually get them dismissed if they fix the problem within 24hours and send the evidence that it was fixed to the judge when they mail in the ticket.

Counterfeit Money in Central New York

Thousands in Counterfeit Hundred’s Used in CNY

by Michael Jiang (NCC News)

SYRACUSE, N.Y.- A sophisticated counterfeit money ring has made it’s way to Central New York. In the past three weeks, $30,000 worth of counterfeit one hundred dollar bills have been passed around at big box retail stores in the Syracuse area. The U.S. Secret Service is investigating the ring after being alerted to the counterfeit bills by one retail store.
 
The money came in from a South American country. Large bundles of counterfeit money. We’ve traced that back to a South American Country. High quality, 100 dollar bill counterfeits that came in we believe through NYC and then distributed from there all throughout the East Coast and have been passed at large retail big box stores up and down and I81, I-90 corridor,” said U.S. Service Agent Tim Kirk, the Agent in Charge of the Syracuse Resident Office.
  
The counterfeit bills are of extremely high quality and nearly impossible to detect. Many of the bills are printed on bleached five dollar bills so the paper the fakes are printed on is authentic. Since traditonal counterfeit detection pens only test the paper, these new counterfeits pass that test with flying colors.

They are on good quality paper and they have counterfeited all of the modern say security features to include the watermark, the polyester strp, the blue and red fibers, and the feel of the money is top quality. The printing is pretty good as well,” Kirk said.

Major Retailers Targeted

Many of the counterfeit bills have been used at major electronics stores and “big-box” retailers  up and down the I-81 Interstate. Counterfeiters make a profit by using the fake bills to purchase high priced electronics, driving to a different store, returning the item and getting real money back as a refund.

It usually takes several weeks after a counterfeit bill is used before the store is notified. Since these superbills pass counterfeit detection at the store level, only when the money is deposited at a bank is it flagged. Once a bill is flagged,  the bank notifies the local branch of the U.S. Secret Service who then launches an investigation. At this point, many of the stores that have received fake bills have yet to be notified.

Two people have been arrested so far in connection to this counterfeiting ring and the Sercret Service is still investigating.