Canisius Secures 1st Place Win at CFA Challenge of Western New York

March 4, 2020

Buffalo, NY – A five-person team from the Canisius University Golden Griffin Fund secured first place in the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Institute Research Challenge of Western New York, held Friday, February 28 at Syracuse University.  Canisius University has dominated the CFA Research Challenge in Western New York since its inception in 2010, securing first-place wins for the past 10 consecutive years. The Canisius team overcame competitors including SUNY Geneseo, University of Rochester and SUNY Oswego to take home the first place prize.  The team now advances to the Americas Regional Challenge, to be held April 20-22 in New York City.

“The success of our Canisius team gets more incredible every year when you consider the increasing complexity of the research and analysis, and the competition from other colleges and universities,” says Richard A. Wall ’78, PhD, CFA, professor emeritus of economics and finance at Canisius University and faculty advisor to the Golden Griffin Fund team. 

“To be one of 50 finalists advancing to the Americas Regional Challenge is an honor for our students and a testament to their hard work and commitment to the competition, and their futures in the investment management profession,” adds Steven Gattuso ’87, MBA ’89, CFA, CFP, CMA, director of the Golden Griffin Fund and industry mentor to the CFA Research Challenge team. 

The Golden Griffin Fund team that took home first place in this year’s CFA Research Challenge in Western New York was comprised of Justin Begley ’20, Luca Zambito ’20, Cameron Rosenecker ’19, MBA ’20 (team captain), Andrew Sagun ’20 and Nick Stinson ’20

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, reporting, 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 CFA Research Challenge was Graham Corp.  Headquartered in Batavia, NY, Graham Corp. is a global leader in the design and manufacture of engineered-to-order vacuum and heat transfer equipment for process industries and energy markets.

Housed within the Richard J. Wehle School of Business, the GGF was established in 2003 and was one of the region’s first real-money, equity investment funds managed by undergraduate and graduate business 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 2019, the GGF team was one of only five universities, out of approximately 1,100 worldwide, to advance to the Global Finals of the CFA Institute Research Challenge.  It was the second time in five years that the college’s team competed on the world stage. 

In 2015, Canisius University advanced through the CFA Institute Research Challenge of Western New York and the Americas Regionals to win the global championship title, earning first place 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 to 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 165-plus countries and regions. 

One of 27 Jesuit universities in the nation, Canisius is the premier private university in Western New York. Canisius celebrates its sesquicentennial anniversary during the 2019-20 academic year, marking 150 years of Jesuit education and leadership in the city of Buffalo and Western New York. Visit for more information about Canisius’ milestones and celebratory events.