UW-Madison Professor Frank Graner generated the initial idea for the Applied Security Analysis Program two decades before the creation of the ASAP in 1970. Graner's passion for investments spawned generations of great money managers (the "Graner era") and a way of teaching investments that ultimately became the Applied Security Analysis Program. The program was founded in 1970 through a $100,000 grant from the Brittingham Foundation. The gift was used to create a student-managed equity fund in which students make all investment decisions.
The past success of the program owes much to two individuals: Professors Stephen Hawk and Mark Fedenia. Professor Hawk started the program in 1970 with a group of 12 students, and he directed the program for 15 years. Professor Fedenia directed the program for 20 years, from 1987 through 2007. The current academic director, Professor Mark Ready, succeeded Professor Fedenia in 2007.
Through the fund’s earnings and additional gifts, including the endowment of the Hawk Center for Applied Security Analysis in 1999, the equity portfolio has grown to approximately $5.0 million, which consists of a long-only and a long-short fund. In 1998, the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents allocated $10 million of the UW System’s Intermediate Term Fund to the ASAP students. The additional assets dramatically increased both the size and complexity of the fixed-income fund. The students now manage three fixed-income portfolios totaling approximately $50 million.
Our mission is to deliver an investment program that follows the University's mission of teaching, research and outreach in both substance and spirit. Our role within the School of Business is to be the preeminent academic institution for applied investment education and, as such, help the school achieve top business school recognition.
Our objective is to offer talented and motivated students a unique opportunity to participate in a curriculum that emphasizes the application of modern investment theory to the management of real assets. Students, immersed in a rich, real-world investment environment, are expected to develop skills in teamwork, communication, research methods, analytical thinking, and portfolio management. By definition, this environment is dynamic. Teaching, mentoring, placement, admissions and the provision of financial support require the synergistic interaction of academicians and professionals. By the time students complete the investment program, they should be fully prepared for their first investment research position.