An Investment Club involving about 14 commerce students has flourished since a world-class trading room opened its doors on Griffith University’s Gold Coast campus.

The finance-focused group is now advancing plans to develop an index of socially responsible companies in Australia, using state-of-the-art Bloomberg terminals which have opened up a world of market data and financial information.

“Basically unquantifiable” is how Brett Doran sums up the difference since access to the Bloomberg Professional service came with the opening of the new $38 million Griffith Business Building last August.

Thetrading room isnamed in memory of Margaret Mittelheuser AM, the first woman to be registered as a stockbroker in Australia. The Honourable Quentin Bryce AD CVO officially openedthe new facility at Griffith’s Gold Coast campus in February.

“Just as an example of the scope of information, we can access the location of every cargo ship in the world, and information about its cargo, its route and the ports where each ship docks. It has all the financial data you could ever want,” Brett Doran says.

Brett completed an honours degree in commerce at Griffith Business School in 2012 before starting a PhD at the university. He is now a mentor to the Investment Club, which is linked to the Griffith Economics and Finance Student Association (EFSA).

“The trading room also offers a wealth of knowledge beyond the standard library catalogue. It is very easy to update assignments and research projects to reflect current world discussions and issues.”

Brett Doran, Daniel Herr, in corporate attire sitting in front of the screens of Bloomberg terminals in new Griffith trading room.Commerce student and Investment Club member Daniel Herr describes himself as extremely fortunate to have on-campus access to the Bloomberg facilities.

“It has given students like myself the opportunity to obtain valuable first-hand experience in a real trading environment,” he says. “Being familiar with Bloomberg is an invaluable skill which has helped me tremendously with research for the CFA challenge and the capstone unit of my degree.”

Daniel believes a classroom experience that incorporates true industry practice will distinguish his Griffith degree from other degrees into the future. “This experience has been looked upon very favourably by recruiters.”

Carrying out background checks on Australian companies for the development of a socially responsible index is a prime example of the frontline industry possibilities. The Investment Club is building an index of socially responsible companies using a screening process that adheres to a strict definition.

Companies potentially make the index based on positive attributes such as significant contributions to the enhancement of community or environmental prosperity. Alternatively companies can be left off the index because they are involved in the production of tobacco, alcohol and firearms, for example.

“The Investment Club hopes to provide the socially responsible index as a proxy to funds and other companies looking for a socially responsible benchmark for their investment portfolios.”