Canisius Takes 1st Place in CFA Challenge for Ninth Consecutive Year

Pictured (l-r): Richard A. Wall, PhD, CFA, faculty adviser; Michael Maiorana '19; Alexandra Pfeifer '19, team captain; Allison Jennings '19; Jennifer Keefer '19 and Steven Gattuso, MBA, CFA, CFP, director of the GGF and CFA mentor

February 21, 2019


BUFFALO, NY – For the ninth consecutive year, the Canisius College Golden Griffin Fund (GGF) team took home first place in the Western New York Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Institute Research Challenge. The four-person GGF team secured its latest win at Niagara University on February 18, 2019. 

The team now advances to the Americas Regional, where it will compete against college and university teams from North and South America. The winner then moves on to vie for the worldwide CFA championship. The Americas Regional will be held on April 23-24 and the global championship, on April 25, both held in New York City.

SUNY Oswego placed second in the competition followed by SUNY Geneseo and University of Rochester as runners-up in their respective semi-finals brackets. Other schools participating in the challenge included Cornell University, Niagara University, SUNY Buffalo and Syracuse University. 

“The CFA Institute Research Challenge is a rigorous global competition that tests our students’ knowledge and application of investment research, ethics and professional standards,” says Richard A. Wall ’78, PhD, CFA, professor of economics/finance. Wall is also the faculty advisor to the Canisius team. “To be among up to 60 teams who are moving on to the Americas Regional Challenge is an incredible honor for our students and a testament to their hard work and commitment to the competition, and their futures in the investment management profession.”

“This competition provides our students with an opportunity to integrate their academic training in a team environment and become polished professionals at the very start of their careers,” adds Steven Gattuso ’87, MBA ’89, CFA, CFP, CMA, director of the GGF and CFA mentor to Canisius students.

The Golden Griffin Fund team that took home first place in the Western New York CFA Institute Challenge was comprised of Alexandra Pfeifer ’19 (captain), Allison Jennings ’19, Jennifer Keefer ’19 and Mike Maiorana ’19.  


CFA team pictured with first place trophy

The CFA Institute Research Challenge is an annual global competition that provides university-sponsored teams with hands-on mentoring and intensive training in financial analysis.  The competition tests the analytic, valuation, report writing and presentation skills of students studying business, finance and economics. Teams are challenged to research a publicly traded company and write a written report with a buy, sell or hold recommendation.  Teams must then present and defend their analysis to a panel of industry professionals who serve as judges in the competition. 

The subject company for this year’s Canisius GGF team is Astronics Corporation, an aerospace and avionics provider headquartered in East Aurora, NY.

Established in 2003, the GGF is one of the region’s first real-money, equity investment funds managed by undergraduate and graduate finance majors.  GGF students select potential companies in which to invest, manage and analyze portfolio holdings, and evaluate and recommend companies to add to the portfolio. 

In 2015, Canisius College won the global championship title, placing first over more than 4,000 undergraduate and graduate students from 865 universities in 70 countries. 

The Chartered Financial Analyst Institute is a global association for investment professionals. It administers the CFA and Certificate in Investment Performance Measurement (CIPM) curriculum and exam programs worldwide; publishes research; conducts professional development programs; and sets voluntary, ethics-based professional and performance-reporting standards for the investment industry. The institute has approximately 150,000 members in 159 countries and membership societies in 73 countries around the world. 

One of 28 Jesuit universities in the nation, Canisius is the premier private university in Western New York.