A SPIFFY Student Leader

Abby Bennett '18 helps grow SPIFFY as a group.

Abigail Bennett ’18 is one of a handful of women who have co-led SPIFFY (Student Portfolio Investment Fund), the Maine Business School’s popular student-run investment club that manages nearly $3 million of the University of Maine Foundation’s $230 million endowment portfolio.

Since SPIFFY was created in 1993, six women have served as co-president, most recently in 2008.

The group has more than 50 members, including about 35 who regularly attend the weekly meetings. Seven female students — or 20% of the regular membership — belong to SPIFFY.

“I believe that is a reflection of the women/men ratio in the finance major and in the broader investment world,” says Bennett, who made it a point to motivate and inspire female students to join SPIFFY, but says helping the entire investment club flourish and succeed was the primary goal.

“We are always trying to grow our whole membership, whether male or female. Both should be approached with equal treatment.”

SPIFFY, which is open to students from any discipline, holds weekly meetings where members analyze business sectors and make recommendations about investing in those sectors. Each year, the club sponsors trips to Wall Street and to Quinnipiac University’s Global Asset Management Education Forum (GAME), the largest student-run financial conference in the world.

Bennett, a financial economics major, served with co-president John Laperle ’19, a MBS finance major with a minor in innovation engineering. Selected as co-presidents by the previous student leaders and the faculty advisers, Bennett and Laperle organized meetings, monitored the portfolio, and worked with the executive team and sector heads.

“Being a fiduciary to the University of Maine Foundation is an experience not many college students get,” Bennett says. “We manage real money, work with talented students to choose investments and persuade others to buy or sell a stock. These skills of teamwork, management, analysis, public speaking and salesmanship are applicable to any career.”

A native of Oxford, Maine, Bennett plans a career in ESG investing, in which environmental, social and governance factors play a role in the investment decision making process.

But she wasn’t always so comfortable around money. She had trouble budgeting and saving and often found herself stressed about finances. Last summer, after teaching herself how to budget, save and invest, she decided to help others learn to manage their money.

She created MoneyWoman (MoneyWomanAbby.com), a blog for college students with budgeting, saving and investing information, as well as posts about various topics. She has a YouTube channel and Facebook page and contributes weekly to the Scott Alan Turner Show, a popular podcast on personal finance.

Meanwhile, Bennett said helping to lead SPIFFY has been a highlight of her time at the University of Maine. She is grateful for the opportunity to “bring about positive changes
for improvement and growth,” including making meetings more engaging and initiating discussions on creating investment strategies. And she has enjoyed working with other students “who share the common passion of investing.

“One of the most valuable aspects of SPIFFY is our collaborative environment where we all have the
opportunity to learn from each other,” she says. “We have different financial interests and expertise, but together we have a broad range of knowledge.”

SPIFFY faculty advisers are Sebastian Lobe, associate professor of finance, and Matthew Skaves, lecturer in finance and accounting.