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TVA’s Investment Challenge Students Navigate 2018’s Rollercoaster Market

Apr 9, 2019

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Valley Authority announced today that nine of the university teams participating in the utility’s Investment Challenge Program beat the S&P 500 Total Return Index for calendar year 2018.  

“In 2018, the S&P 500 was a rollercoaster for investors — up over 10 percent and down as much as 13 percent in the last quarter,” said TVA Vice President, Treasurer, and Chief Risk Officer Tammy Wilson. “I’m inspired by our ICP students who powered through extreme volatility to try to outperform the market in a very difficult year.” 

This week, TVA recognized more than 200 students from 25 universities in TVA’s seven-state service area for their efforts. Nine teams produced returns in 2018 above that of the S&P 500, two of which produced positive returns for the calendar year. Teams that outperform the S&P 500 in a calendar year earn performance awards for their respective universities.

The top performing teams who beat the S&P 500 in 2018 and earned awards are:

  • Alabama A&M University
  • Austin Peay State University
  • Mississippi State University
  • Mississippi University for Women
  • Murray State University
  • Union University
  • University of Mississippi
  • University of North Alabama
  • Western Carolina University

“Over 9,000 students have participated in the program since 1998, and we are proud to partner with universities to support education and provide investment opportunities that enhance classroom learning,” Wilson said.    

Student teams actively manage stock portfolios for TVA, designing long-term investment strategies and selecting investments under the guidance of faculty members and within investment guidelines established and monitored by TVA.  Students have collectively outperformed the S&P 500 total return of 6.17% by 57 basis points annually since inception; an excess cumulative return of 38%. Through 2018, the program has grown to $12 million primarily through positive investment returns. ICP teams have earned over $1.1 million in performance awards for their schools over the life of the program. 

Other participating universities are: Belmont University, Christian Brothers University, East Tennessee State University, Lipscomb University, Middle Tennessee State University, Tennessee State University, Tennessee Tech University, Trevecca Nazarene University, University of Alabama at Huntsville, University of Kentucky, University of Memphis, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, University of Tennessee at Knoxville, University of Tennessee at Martin, Vanderbilt University, and Western Kentucky University.   

For more information about the Investment Challenge Program, visit

The Tennessee Valley Authority is a corporate agency of the United States that provides electricity for business customers and local power companies serving nearly 10 million people in parts of seven southeastern states. TVA receives no taxpayer funding, deriving virtually all of its revenues from sales of electricity. In addition to operating and investing its revenues in its electric system, TVA provides flood control, navigation and land management for the Tennessee River system and assists local power companies and state and local governments with economic development and job creation


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