Does your alma mater?

June 27, 2015 09:00 AM

Stony Brook University boasts an enrollment of more than 26,000 students, and counts talk show host Joy Behar, major league pitcher Joe Nathan and Pulitzer Prize winner Scott Higham among its notable alumni. 

What you don’t know about the public university housed along the shores of Long Island is that the school’s alumni are proving that you don’t need an Ivy League diploma to be a successful investor.

According to data compiled at Openfolio, a social platform that allows traders to share their portfolio and gain actionable insight from others in the community, Stony Brook graduates had an average 22.2% investment returns over the last year (see “Returns on education”). 

Openfolio (see “False Prophet$,” page 18), encourages individuals to share their investments and financial insights across their networks. While dollar amounts of individual positions are not shared, investors share the stocks, mutual funds, bonds and exchange traded funds that they are holding. 

Absent from the top 10 are Ivy League schools. While the S&P 500 was up more than 14.2% over the previous 12 months, members of Harvard’s alumni group had average returns of 7.7%; Yale grads had returns of 9.2% and Columbia University’s group registered at 10.8%. Also absent are graduates from schools with remarkably reputable finance and economics departments, such as Northwestern University and University of Chicago.

So what has been Stony Brook alumni and students’ secret to success? 

An overweight allocation that centers on technology stocks. The average Stony Brook alumni member held 42% of its portfolio in tech stocks, which outpaced the S&P 500 during those 12 months. 

Openfolio also allows investors to see more than just alumni groups. The social sharing site allows users to see the holdings of all members, which range from hedge fund managers to college students. Additional segments available for a breakdown of performance include professions, age groups and gender.  Pharmaceutical professionals proved to be the most successful investors, returning 13.7% over the 12 months measured, while the average investor registered at 8.6%, lagging the S&P benchmark.

About the Author

Hart Lambur is the co-founder of, where investors share insights and ideas, and watch how others put them into action. Previously, Hart traded interest rate products at Goldman Sachs where he was also involved in the development of the firm’s electronic bond trading capabilities. @openfolio