Home/About/Press/Fargo 6th Graders’ Stock Picks Outperform Students From Columbia, Cornell, University of Pennsylvania, and Berkeley

Fargo 6th Graders’ Stock Picks Outperform Students From Columbia, Cornell, University of Pennsylvania, and Berkeley


San Mateo, CA, April. 08, 2014

Motif Investing, the company that pioneered low-cost, thematic investing, shared a poignant example of how investing doesn’t have to involve sophisticated research and trading strategies to yield exceptional results. A group of 6th grade students in Fargo, North Dakota used the Motif Investing Platform to design a custom motif, or group of stocks or ETFs linked by a common theme, that has outperformed motifs created by nine top collegiate investing clubs, including clubs from Columbia, Cornell, University of Pennsylvania, and Berkeley. The middle schoolers’ returns also beat the S&P 500 by more than two times. This highlights that age, pedigree, and investment savvy are not always as important as investing in themes that you know and understand.

Students in Mr. Dave Carlson’s math class at Oak Grove Middle School chose to include personally relevant and interesting companies like Under Armour, Netflix, Starbucks and Amazon in a motif called Carlson’s Math Minions. The motif’s returns overshadowed those yielded in a separate competition between collegiate investing clubs that included several Ivy League colleges (see challenge results here: https://www.motifinvesting.com/6th-grader-competition). Comparing the return-since-creation performance of Carlson’s Math Minions to the college students’ returns generated some big surprises. The 6th graders’ strategy of investing in the companies they knew and cared about helped their motif beat out all of the colleges’ with a more than 15% outperformance.

“One of our foundational beliefs is that people should start learning about investing with trends, industries and companies they understand — whether it’s Couch Commerce, Cleantech, or the most fashionable brands,” said Motif CEO, Hardeep Walia. “This is what makes investing exciting and less intimidating. The 6th graders embraced this principle. They followed their interests and through the process learned the fundamentals of investing — diversification, costs, valuation, risk — while applying their math skills in a fun way.”

The 6th graders got their start after Ross Almlie, a local investment advisor and Breadvault app creator gave a guest lecture to the math class. Ross shared some basics on investing and walked through how to use the Motif Investing Platform. Then Mr. Carlson asked each student to choose a stock for the class’ motif.

“I thought the platform could serve as a useful tool to teach my students about how to invest, giving them a skill they can use throughout their lives and showing them a new way to learn about the companies and trends they like,” said Mr. Carlson. “It also provided one of those rare opportunities to apply what students learn in math class to a real-world scenario. The students loved the experience and got really into following their stocks. Motif made it easy and rewarding.”

To learn more about the Oak Grove Middle School motif and how the college investment teams fared, please visithttps://www.motifinvesting.com/6th-grader-competition

*Date of results: September 16, 2013 – February 28, 2014

About Motif Investing

Motif Investing is an online broker that lets you invest in a world of big ideas. The company, based in Silicon Valley, is changing the face of online investing through an innovative, transparent social platform that allows individuals and investment advisors to invest in stock and bond portfolios built around everyday ideas and broad economic trends — and even create brand-new motifs from scratch. Motif is a registered broker-dealer and a member of SIPC. The company’s investors include Foundation Capital, Goldman Sachs, Ignition Partners and Norwest Venture Partners. Board members include former SEC Chairman Arthur Levitt and former Wall Street executive Sallie Krawcheck. Learn more at https://www.motifinvesting.com.

Investing in securities involves risk, including the possible loss of principal; individual investments or a collection of individual stocks such as motifs which are concentrated in an idea or theme may face increased risk of price fluctuation over more diversified holdings due to adverse developments within a particular industry or sector.

Carlson’s Math Minions motif and University Challenge results are presented for illustrative purposes only but are not intended to be representative of same contest results. Carlson’s Math Minions motif was constructed by selecting 13 individual stocks. University Challenge was represented by student investing clubs for stated universities who constructed portfolios using the following requirements: 1) must maintain between 15 and 30 securities supported on the Motif platform, 2) may not maintain a concentrated position of greater than 30%, 3) will incur fees and commissions that would ordinarily apply to investors. Student investing club motifs are not intended to be representative of recommended investment strategies or opinions of the universities or clubs, but were designed solely for the purpose of participation in the four-month challenge.

© 2014 Motif Investing, Inc. All rights reserved.

Marisa Lam
GMK Communications for Motif

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