UTA students meet with SEC chair on national finance issues

College of Business students discussed investment trends with chair of SEC

Thursday, Jul 22, 2021 • Herb Booth : Contact

Fourteen students from The University of Texas at Arlington met with the chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as part of the SEC’s University Roundtables, an initiative that provides young investors a chance to present their ideas to the SEC chair, investor advocate and other staff.

UTA’s College of Business was one of five institutions that took part in the SEC’s University Roundtables.

UTA students in finance and real estate
Pictured are students who participated in the SEC roundtable. Back row, from left: Professor David Rakowski, Yi-Ju Chien, Long Thai Bui, Amit Jadhav, Niyati Shah, Genesis Reza, An Binh Nguyen, Mahnaz Paydarzarnaghi, Nyla Pollard and Professor John Adams. Front row, from left: Diana Granados, Tejasvini Kulkarni, Nimisha Budhwani, Tiana Etzen and Feryal Hefnawy

“These roundtables are valuable opportunities to obtain diverse input from university communities across the U.S., especially as it relates to student investors, investing trends among university-aged individuals and emerging topics that are material in the decision-making processes of university populations,” SEC Chair Gary Gensler said.

The UTA finance and real estate students teamed up to create presentations for the event, deciding the subject matter, developing content, conducting research, drafting supporting materials and preparing for public speaking.

“The students did an outstanding job,” said finance Professor John Adams, who supervised two teams. “I can’t emphasize enough just how rare it is for anyone—much less students—to have that level of access to top policy makers.”

One student team leader was Mahnaz Paydarzarnaghi, an enhanced graduate teaching assistant and doctoral student. Her topic was “Young Investors and Crypto ETFs (Exchange-Traded Funds).” Team members included master’s students Tejasvini Kulkarni, Amit Bhanudas Jadhav and Niyati Kiranbhai Shah; undergraduate students Nyla Pollard, An Binh Nguyen and Genesis Fernanda Reza; and doctoral candidate Nima Vafai.

“The purpose of our research was to better understand the willingness of young investors to adopt new investment vehicles, with particular attention to cryptocurrencies accessed through ETFs,” Paydarzarnaghi said.

Supervised by finance Professor David Rakowski, the team tried to determine where young investors learn about crypto-ETFs, the potential demand for those financial instruments and how those young investors might react to SEC approval of ETFs that holds cryptocurrency.

Paydarzarnaghi said the project scraped social media platforms Twitter and Reddit with text mining for qualitative and quantitative analysis of posts and memes about cryptocurrency investing. The team also created a 13-question online survey that asked various questions of UT Arlington students.

Results showed that young investors may better understand cryptocurrencies than conventional mutual funds and ETFs. The team concluded that young investors appear to be well informed about the risks of cryptocurrencies, but remain attracted to it due to its popularity on social media.

Sanjiv Sabherwal, chair of the Department of Finance and Real Estate, said the UT Arlington students performed impressively at the roundtable. Their presentation topics included “diversity among boards of directors of mutual funds and discrimination in hiring of mutual fund managers, and young investors’ potential demand for crypto-currency ETFs and awareness of the risks of these ETFs,” Sabherwal said.

Other institutions participating in the roundtables included the University of Chicago’s School of Law and Center on Law and Finance, Seton Hall University’s Stillman School of Business, the University of San Diego’s School of Law, and Yeshiva University’s Cardozo School of Law.