Wake Forest University enjoyed a day in the spotlight as alumni, students, parents and friends converged at the New York Stock Exchange for “Wake Forest on Wall Street” on July 27. The Demon Deacon flag proudly flew outside of the NYSE, symbolizing the strong presence and significant contributions of Wake Forest alumni working in New York.
“Our vision is to increase awareness of the Wake Forest brand in the world of New York finance, and to help students and alumni find internships, find jobs and grow,” said David R. Hanson, an associate at Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. (’05).
Annaly Capital Management Inc. served as host sponsor of the event. Annaly was represented by Michael Farrell, the company’s chairman, president and CEO and a member of the Wake Forest University Schools of Business Board of Visitors. “I support education that promotes accountability and has a moral fiber,” Farrell said.
“This was a good opportunity to give exposure to Wake Forest University, and for Annaly to co-brand the event to help raise that voice,” added Farrell, who had the honor of ringing the closing bell at the NYSE. He was joined on the podium with colleagues from Annaly and Wake Forest in a ceremony televised live to a worldwide audience.
After the closing bell ceremony, more than 100 Wake Forest students, alumni, parents and friends filled the NYSE boardroom to listen to the Wake Forest on Wall Street panel discussion: “The Credit Crisis: Where Are We Now, Where Are We Going?”
“It is important that Americans have an adult conversation about the credit crisis. The perspective most people have is personal, rather than objective on the impact on business and the challenges to our country going forward,” Farrell said. “Are we experiencing deflation or inflation? How do you plan your life around those alternatives? Are you determined to save at zero percent interest rates, or should you actively pursue hard assets like gold, real estate, etc.?”
Dagen McDowell, a Fox Business Network anchor, (’91) served as the panel moderator, engaging highly respected finance industry leaders in a passionate discussion and debate.
“It is amazing what has transpired in the past three years. No one has seen the cycle like we have been through,” said Michael Genereux, a panelist and senior managing director for The Blackstone Group (’88). “In 2008, you couldn’t raise a dime in the fourth quarter, and in 2009 we had a complete reversal. Now we are back in a very uncomfortable spot.”
“What I have learned is that banks drive everything,” said Loyd Henderson, another panelist and a senior vice president at Oaktree Capital (’96). “I think they have not fully recognized their problems, and I am not convinced banks are healthy.”
According to Jim Woolery, a partner at Cravath, Swaine & Moore, LLP (’91) and a panelist, fear is driving high-level decision making. “We have really seen a pull back in the American boardroom,” he said. “There is a lot of fear, a lot of uncertainty. CEOs and management teams do not want to bet their careers on a big trade.”
Jim Dunn, a vice president and chief investment officer at Wake Forest, explained his investment strategy in our current economic climate. “We are investing in tangible assets because we have a long term outlook,” he said. “We are not sure which way it is going to go, but just in case, we are going to have some assets we can sell down the road.”
The Wake Forest on Wall Street Leadership team includes: Matt Hultquist, Equity Analyst, Sasco Capital (’01); Bryant Schlichting, Assistant Vice President, CitiGroup Global Markets (’06); and David R. Hanson, Associate, Deutsche Bank Securities, Inc. (’05).