As part of the Corporate Finance Career Acceleration Module, we went to visit various financial institutions in D.C. and Baltimore. Our first stop along the way was in D.C. at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). The FDIC helps to ensure the protection of savings account for individuals, monitor and examine banking institutions’ financial health, and manage the process when banks go under. While there, we met with Philip Shively who is a financial economist for them. He discussed the many functions of the FDIC but what was particularly interesting was learning more in depth about the creation of the Dodd-Frank Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and the significant impact that it has had on banking regulations in the past few years.
The next day in D.C. we visited the Carlyle Group which is a global asset management firm with most of its focus in private equity.
We had the pleasure of meeting with William & Mary alumnus Thomas Mayrhofer who talked us through what can be expected in such a profession. He invited several other speakers, including the Chief Financial Officer, Adena Friedman to speak to the in depth analysis they go through to choose their investments, as well as the dynamics of attracting and maintaining clientele. The most interesting part of this for me was meeting with one of their employees whose sole job was to anticipate changes in political factors and understand how those changes may affect their investments with regard to legislation.
That same day we stopped by the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and the Export-Import Bank which are run by the government. These agencies were designed to help facilitate American business growth in emerging economies by providing financing, political risk insurance, and other guarantees. They also help to support domestic business that export goods to other countries by guaranteeing the value of the account receivables which gives banks the confidence to extend working capital loans to these companies.
On the final day we drove to downtown Baltimore where we visited Legg Mason Capital Management. Their offices were located in a high rise building overlooking the harbor and had some incredible views. We were privileged to meet with several members of their team, including the CEO, Jennifer Murphy. The highlight of our visit came when Bill Miller came in to speak with us. Mr. Miller is one of the most highly regarded portfolio managers of our time. His mutual fund had returns that exceeded the S&P 500 for fifteen years straight.
Overall, the trip was a huge success and gave each student new perspectives on financial markets and the governmental agencies assisting and regulating them.
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