Legg Mason's Bill Miller and other high-profile investors will share their top stock picks of the moment Wednesday— with the aim of raising money for area schoolchildren.
Tickets for the Baltimore Next Generation Investing Event, to be held at Legg's headquarters, sell for $500 a pop. The proceeds will go to Children's Scholarship Fund Baltimore, Southwest Baltimore Charter School and KIPP Baltimore.
Matthew and Christy Wyskiel founded the annual fundraiser four years ago. Matthew Wyskiel is president and founder of Skill Capital Management in Baltimore. He manages millions for high-net-worth individuals using a combination of index funds rather than handpicking stocks.
Wyskiel is active outside his firm. In June, for instance, he and others organized a free Baltimore City Football Combine for area high school students, some of whom might not be able to afford to travel to other combines where athletic skills are measured. And Wyskiel serves on the board of Jamison Door Co., a family business that has been making industrial freezer doors for more than a century.
Wyskiel discussed his work with Next Generation and investing:
Four years ago, you and your wife co-founded the Baltimore Next Generation Investing Event. How did you come up with the idea, and what has been the result?
In the spring of 2010, I was sitting with my wife at our kitchen table, reading The Wall Street Journal. It mentioned an investment-event fundraiser in New York City at which top hedge fund managers discuss their favorite stock ideas. My wife, who also worked in the financial markets, and I believed that there was enough investment talent in Baltimore to have impressive local equity portfolio manager speakers and plenty of interested attendees from local investment firms at an event similar in style to the New York City event. Also, we wanted the money from the event to benefit two successful local nonprofit educational organizations with which we're involved: Children's Scholarship Fund Baltimore and Southwest Baltimore Charter School. That first year, we had four well-known equity investor speakers (headlined by T. Rowe Price's Brian Rogers and Legg Mason's Bill Miller), over 100 tickets were purchased, and the event raised a nice amount of money for the two nonprofit educational organizations. Since that time, the event has become an annual event. We've had different featured speakers each year; ticket sales have increased quite a bit. Plus, the stock pick recommendations have done very well each year.
As a money manager, what investing tip would you have for small investors?
My advice to small investors, or any investors for that matter, is to let a professional invest your money, and then the investor should monitor the professional's investment performance on either a quarterly or annual basis. As much as possible, keep costs low, utilize tax-efficient investment approaches, trade very infrequently, and try not to let emotions affect your investment decisions. Also, if you spend less than you earn and you minimize debt (especially expensive debt), then you'll likely be in great financial shape.
Your father was an international banker, and you spent nearly your first decade growing up overseas, including London, the Philippines and three years in Saudi Arabia. How did that shape you?
My childhood was certainly interesting and different than most people's. I think that traveling around the world and living in different countries helped make me more accepting of people who are different than me. Those early years probably caused me to be more open-minded and less judgmental about other cultures and helped me learn how to get along with a wide variety of people.
After college, you went to New York and worked on Wall Street selling derivatives. Given all that has transpired on Wall Street in recent years — including the 2008 financial crisis — would a career on Wall Street be something you would pursue today if you were coming out of college or something you would recommend to new grads?
I think that the most important thing in life, at work and outside of work, is to follow your passion; if you love what you do, then it's easier to work hard at it and get good at it. Coming out of college, my passion was financial markets and investing, and to a large degree that's still the case today. If someone coming out of college in 2014 is excited to work in the financial markets, then I think that's great. Wall Street and the global financial markets do a lot of good in the world; for example, new and existing businesses get financed, people can get loans for major purchases such as houses and cars, and insurance policies get written to protect people financially. Many individuals in the financial markets are also generous with their time and their money.
You mentor youngsters in Baltimore, advising them on the do's and don'ts of life. What's some of that advice you give them?
For the past few years, I've been the official statistician for the Baltimore City College High School varsity football team, and during that time I've enjoyed mentoring and helping many of the young men on the team as well as some guys at other city high schools. My advice to all of them is somewhat simple, but I believe they will be successful if they follow it:
Be where you're supposed to be, when you are supposed to be there. Don't look for shortcuts; do your work — and turn it in on time. Think through an issue or situation before taking action. School and grades do matter — now and in college. Chase your dreams, but have a good Plan B too.
Title: Founder and president of Skill Capital Management
Previous job: Taxable fixed-income portfolio manager at PNC Bank
Education: Bachelor's degree in mathematics and economics at Williams College; MBA in finance and accounting at New York University
Residence: Baltimore City
Family: Married to Christy Wyskiel, a daughter and son.
Hobbies/interests: Helping Baltimore; gardening (especially growing fruit); football
(especially growing fruit); football