Campus & Community

Lessons from a Legend: Veteran Investor Lipper Shares Market Predictions Amid Pandemic

Members of the Stevens Student-Managed Investment Fund Gain Insight Through Virtual Lecture and Discussion

Group of students collaborating at a computer.
Members of the Stevens SMIF rely on the high-tech tools in the Hanlon Financial Systems Center to manage nearly $500,000. But with the move to distance learning amid the coronavirus crisis, they turned to an investing legend for market insights.

In his 50 years working as an investor and analyst, A. Michael Lipper has seen plenty of market highs and lows, but never has he seen a situation quite like the one we’re in now. 

Neither have the members of the Stevens Student-Managed Investment Fund, who had the opportunity to gain insight from Lipper’s decades of experience during a recent virtual lecture.

Headshot of A. Michael Lipper
A. Michael Lipper.

“As I was growing up the in the investment world, Michael Lipper was a legend,” said Dr. Jonathan Kaufman, faculty advisor for the SMIF and teaching associate professor at the School of Business. “He started the gold standard for analytical services in the financial world.”

Lipper, who was elected to the Stevens Institute of Technology Board of Trustees in October, founded Lipper Analytical Services in 1973 and sold the firm to Reuters in 1998. Currently, he has more than $2 billion under management as founder and president of Lipper Advisory Services. 

When asked for his assessment on where the market is going, he broke it down into time periods: immediate, intermediate, long and legacy. While we’re seeing the immediate impact of the coronavirus play out in the day-to-day market volatility, Lipper is still optimistic for the future.

“It’s unlikely that America won’t be winning over the long run,” he said.

Managing funds and teams

Lipper went on to say that, while we might not see the record market highs we saw in January again until later this decade, he believes we’ll return to a bull market “sooner than you think.”

“For us students, it was such a unique experience to speak with someone of his caliber,” said Vince Falvo, head of the SMIF this semester. “He is a well-renowned individual in the financial world, and to be able to ask him questions and pick his brain was such an amazing experience. I was able to see things from a different perspective, and I learned a lot from Mr. Lipper.”

Lipper’s virtual lecture, initially slated to take place on campus, drew several high-profile attendees, including Stevens President Nariman Farvardin and alumnus Sean Hanlon, who helped set up the lecture. For students in the SMIF, who oversee nearly $500,000 of the university’s endowment, Lipper provided more than just investment advice.

“The SMIF is partly about kids learning management techniques,” said Dr. Kaufman. “What Mr. Lipper told them, as a former marine, was that when you’re managing people, loyalty runs in both directions — which I think has even more meaning now.”

Adjusting to online classes is one thing, but students in the SMIF have the additional challenge of learning how to manage teams — and funds — remotely. And with real money on the line, the stakes are even higher. 

“The SMIF relies on it being totally interactive, but these students have proven themselves to be exceptionally resilient and adaptable,” Dr. Kaufman said.

Undergraduate Business Programs Hanlon Financial Systems Center Stevens SMIF