Stetson University Students Launch Drone Index Investment

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Soaring popularity, profitability of drones makes economic sense for index

Roland George Investments Program, Stetson University

K.C. Ma, Ph.D., C.F.A., (standing) helps students with research in the Roland George Trading Room at Stetson University.

The drone industry is expected to have explosive growth. ...The real innovation is investing in nine companies which make various components of drones.

Stetson University is getting into the drone business through the launch of an innovative drone index called “Drones 9,” which includes nine publicly traded companies with drone-related exposures.

It’s a bold new idea from students who run Stetson’s Roland George Investments Program (RGIP). It is known for having one of the nation’s oldest and best market performances, and is directed entirely by Stetson University students. The pioneering program empowers students to manage a real portfolio comprising $3.5 million in stocks and bonds.

“The drone industry is expected to have explosive growth,” said Gonzalo Arroyo-Baudet, a 2016 graduate who developed the unique concept behind Drones 9 while still a student. “More importantly, there is not a single company making an entire commercial drone. So the real innovation is to invest in nine companies which make various components of the drones.”

“Our students are known for their original, independent, and critical thinking skills,” said K.C. Ma, Ph.D., C.F.A., director of Stetson's George Investments Institute and the Roland and Sarah George Chair of Applied Investments for RGIP. “We have a market-tested-performance record more than a decade old that proves our students’ great work.”

Arroyo-Baudet identified nine tradable stocks in the United States and created a proprietary algorithm to determine the optimal combination of the nine stocks. The index has outperformed the S&P 500 by 50 percent for the last 10 years. Arroyo-Baudet believes the drone industry will cumulatively generate more than $90 billion during the next decade.

“Drones are poised to radically change how people see and interact with the world around them,” said Arroyo-Baudet. “Commercial uses are endless, as well as innovative ways to incorporate drones into a business’s growth and development creations.”

Trustees approved the purchase in March, clearing the way for the RGIP portfolio to invest $100,000 in the nine drone stocks.

“With the drone industry soaring in popularity and profitability, it’s simply a smart economic move for Stetson’s RGIP,” said Arroyo-Baudet.

RGIP is open to select, top students majoring in finance and business who work in the real world of portfolio management with real money in their senior year. They use fundamental research tools and leading data services such as Bloomberg, Reuters, Morningstar, and Baseline to find and defend investment recommendations to students and trustees of the investments committee.

Since 2001, based on the actual portfolio performances, RGIP students have won 15 championships, six second-place wins, and one third-place win in the national R.I.S.E. (Redefining Investment Strategy Education) and G.A.M.E. (Global Asset Management Education) competitions.

About Stetson University
Founded in 1883, Stetson University is the oldest private university in Central Florida. Stetson stresses academic excellence and community-engaged learning, and consistently earns high marks in national rankings. Since its inception in 1981, the student-run Roland George Investments Program has earned more than 700 percent return. For more news, visit Stetson Today.

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Janie Graziani
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