On Tuesday, January 9, a group of Bloomfield College Trustees, faculty, staff, students, and alumni had the opportunity to spend “An Afternoon on Wall Street.” The day was complete with a tour of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), guided by Peter Costa, former NYSE Governor, CNBC Market Analyst and Contributor, and Investor, as well a special program hosted by the Oppenheimer Corporate Offices.
“Oppenheimer provided us with a once in a lifetime opportunity to view the inner workings of an investment company located on Wall Street - the financial hub of the country,” said Bloomfield College alumna and current graduate student, Portia Chimbirai ’16 ’18. “Not only did we meet influential people in the financial world, but we also got the chance to visit the New York Stock Exchange which is the largest equity-based trading platform in the world. I believe the lessons learned from this event will be instrumental in ensuring my success and will last a lifetime.”
Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. is a leading investment bank and full-service investment firm that provides financial services and advice to high net worth investors, individuals, businesses, and institutions. For over 130 years, Oppenheimer has provided investors with the necessary expertise and insight to meet the challenge of achieving their financial goals. The Company’s commitment to its clients' investment needs, its experienced and dedicated professionals, and its proud tradition empower the Company to deliver effective and innovative solutions to its clients.
Oppenheimer has 3,000 employees and 92 offices spread throughout the United States, Asia, Middle East, and Europe. It manages 85 billion dollars in client securities, guides 27 billion dollars in client investments, and has a revenue of 900 million dollars.
Oppenheimer’s A.G. Lowenthal, Chairman and CEO, and John Stoltzfus, Chief Investment Strategist, led a discussion on current economic trends. They shared their journeys to Wall Street and provided the group a crash course in stocks, bonds, Wall Street, and the Federal Reserve.
“Nothing is more exciting than the financial service industry,” stated Lowenthal. “People come to work every day to be engaged in this industry.”
Lowenthal has been Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at Oppenheimer & Co. Inc., since 1985. Lowenthal’s extensive experience in the securities industry and as Chief Executive of Oppenheimer gives him unique insights into the Company’s challenges, opportunities, and operations. Since his arrival at the Company, Mr. Lowenthal has built the Company through acquisition and organic growth taking stockholders’ equity from $5 million to $527.6 million at December 31, 2014.
Lowenthal has worked in the securities industry since 1967. Prior to his arrival at Oppenheimer & Co., Lowenthal served as the Chief Executive Officer at Advantage Advisers Management LLC and Advantage Advisers LLC, as Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer at First of Michigan Corp, Chief Executive Officer, as President and Chairman at Freedom Investments, Inc., as the President at Cowen Securities Inc., and as a General Partner at Cowen & Co until 1985.
“I’ve been through every boom, bust, and recovery cycle,” said Stoltzfus, citing the 1987 Crash, Mexican Default, Russian Default, and the technology and housing bubble as examples. “My advice to students interested in this field is to get to know the Federal Reserve and take advantage of any internship opportunities. I liked my intern so much, I hired him permanently at the end of his internship.”
Prior to joining Oppenheimer & Co. Inc., Stoltzfus was Senior Market Strategist at Ticonderoga Securities where he provided all macro, market outlook, and strategy ideas to the firm and its clients. John came to Ticonderoga from Bank of America, where he worked in their Global Wealth & Investment Management Division as Senior Market Strategist in the Investment Strategies Group.
Before Bank of America, Stoltzfus was at Morgan Stanley in a variety of roles, including Vice President of Marketing and Equity Sales, Vice President of Capital Market Solutions, and Vice President of U.S. and International Equity Marketing. In the early 1990s, Stoltzfus worked at Chase Manhattan Bank as Vice President of Investments, CMIS and GNA securities. He holds a B.A. from Colgate University.
The Program was made possible by former Bloomfield College Trustee and alumnus, Mark Whaley ’76, who also shared words of wisdom. Whaley currently serves as the Executive Vice President of the Private Client Division at Oppenheimer.
“I find great pride in being a Bloomfield College alumnus on Wall Street,” said Whaley. “Coming from Bloomfield College is a badge of honor. I compete against people from Yale and Harvard.”
Whaley, who earned a degree in English and later an MBA, was the first in his family to go to college. Raised by a single mother, he didn’t believe he could afford a college education without joining the military and acquiring the GI Bill, but between financial aid, working numerous jobs, and his own savings, he enrolled in Bloomfield College and graduated in three and a half years.
Whaley is responsible for the strategic management of the Firm’s Financial Advisors and branch network. He is also a member of the Management Committee and assists with setting the Firm’s direction by serving on the Operating, Management, Risk Management, and New Product Committees.
He joined Oppenheimer in 2008, after holding a variety of leadership roles in the Industry. He was the President of Gibraltar Securities, an Executive Vice President and member of the Board of Directors of Tucker Anthony Sutro, a Senior Vice President and Regional Director for the Royal Bank of Canada, and a Branch Manager for Bear Stearns. He has managed Middle Market Fixed Income Sales, Private Client Services, and the integration of acquisitions. He is also a former member of FINRA District 9.
Whaley served on the Bloomfield College Board of Trustees from 2002-2009 as Vice Chair of the Committee on Development and Public Affairs, and as a member of the Student Affairs Committee.
“These are people like you and me. This is not an alien world,” Bloomfield College President Richard A. Levao told Bloomfield College students at the end of the Program. “These gentlemen are showing you what could happen when you become serious about internships, working, and looking for opportunities. It’s amazing the paths that life can lead you down. I want to thank Mr. Lowenthal, Mr. Stoltzfus, and Mr. Whaley for showing our students the other side of what life in finance and business is like.”
“Everyone had a wonderful, educational day,” said Jackie Bartley, Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Bloomfield College. “Our heartfelt thanks to our friends at Oppenheimer & Co. Inc., especially Mr. Lowenthal, Mr. Stoltzfus, Mr. Whaley, and JoAnne Capestro, for their kind hospitality.”
This event was part of the College’s year-long 150th anniversary celebration.
“The Oppenheimer event was a once in a lifetime opportunity for Bloomfield College students. In my 50-plus years in the business world, I have never received an invitation to be on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange,” said Robert Collmier, Professor of Accounting. “This was a real learning experience for students and a great kickoff event to the College’s 150th anniversary.”