Thirteen students from the Merrimack Financial Group attended the New England Association for Financial Professionals (NEAFP) New Hampshire Regional Meeting at Fidelity’s Merrimack, NH campus last week. NEAFP is a non-profit organization committed to bringing treasury professionals together along with student members to discuss industry trends and collaborate on ideas. Several of the students involved in the Merrimack Financial Group are student members of the AFP and attend events held by the association throughout the school year.
The event was hosted by Fidelity’s Steve Johnson ’80, an alum of Merrimack College, and Jim Scalisi, who both serve as regional ambassadors for New Hampshire and Vermont. Secretary of the NEAFP and President of TMXpertGroup, Michael Lenihan, was also in attendance. Mr. Lenihan spoke during Professor Mary Papazian’s Money & Banking class two weeks prior to this meeting about his career, the banking industry, and the NEAFP association.
The meeting began with a presentation on cybersecurity given by Fidelity’s Vice President of Cyber Investigations Michael West. West discussed the evolution of cybercrime and cyberattacks and how it has evolved over the last quarter century. West also discussed best practices for businesses on keeping information safe and how to avoid cyberattacks. Merrimack’s P.J. Sullivan ’17 was impressed by the evolution and current state of cybersecurity, “I definitely got a lot out of the presentation in terms of how to keep files secure at work and even at home on my personal devices.”
The next presentation looked at corporate liquidity and cash segmentation led by Kerry Pope, Institutional Portfolio Manager, Fidelity Investments. With new regulations coming to the money market field, Pope discussed the changes and new trends that this industry will experience as well as how to prepare for what’s to come. Pope suggested allocating cash balances into multiple “buckets” of liquidity as a way to spread risk. Students were exposed to what professionals who deal with money market funds focus on as well as how much attention this area receives from financial institutions like Fidelity.
Next, Gary Blank gave an update on the major priorities of the Trump Administration and what it will mean for banks and financial institutions. Blank served as Deputy Policy Director under the Bush-Cheney Administration in 2004 before serving as Chief of Staff on the Council of Economic Advisers. Gary is now SVP of Public Affairs and Community Relations at Fidelity. The discussion highlighted the impact of the recent U.S. Presidential election and the impact it will have on legislative issues targeting the financial industry as well as potential regulations.
The last presentation of the day followed lunch and addressed corporate credit cards and the benefits of companies getting newer cards to maximize benefits and rewards. Brian Moran from MasterCard and Jay Park from Bank Santander were able to answer questions about corporate cards and discuss ways to improve accounts payable systems using their products and services.
After the meeting, Fidelity introduced four associates who spoke exclusively to the students that attended the event. Students from Merrimack, University of New Hampshire, Saint Anselm, and Southern New Hampshire University used the panel to ask questions about the culture of Fidelity as well as advice on the job search process.
The New Hampshire Regional meeting was the first AFP event that Merrimack Financial Group has attended this spring. The group looks to send more students to the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston on March 15th for the annual meeting as they did last year.
Student membership for NEAFP is free with a copy of your transcript. Those interested in becoming a student member can visit www.neafp.org/student-membership/ for registration instructions. Those who wish to learn more about the Merrimack Financial Group should email President T.J. Antonetti at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.