My Fisher Internship Fisher College of Business Office of Career Management

My Fisher Internship
What does Duff & Phelps do? (below) Well, kinda…

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Hey guys! I’d first like to say thank you to everyone for keeping up with my blogs and interjecting your witty comments. It’s comforting to see such strong support!

As I’ve stated in past blogs, I am currently working with the Corporate Finance Consulting group for Duff & Phelps.

My favorite street in Manhattan. Statue of Brutus...

The group is divided up into a number of different areas comprised of such practices as Due Diligence, Financial Engineering, Strategic Modeling, Strategic Finance, and, the group that I am working for, Portfolio Valuation (PV). The practice of Portfolio Valuation is pretty self-explanatory, valuing portfolios (attaching a price/value to debt and equity investments). Companies approach D&P and ask for services ranging anywhere from Negative Assurance (“the company’s debt/equity values are not unreasonable”) to an actual Point Estimate that would attach a a numerical value to the assets. Trying to learn the day-to-day terminology is a challenge in itself; however, it is fun once I do get a grasp on the topic that they are discussing.

** Highlight of the week: Arguing with a homeless guy about whether to call my can of Sierra Mist a “pop” or a “soda”… He says to me, “POP? I’ll show you a pop” and precedes to pop his shoulder blade out of place. I think he wanted a dollar, but I wasn’t having it. Makes me miss Columbus’ finest: The Rapping Bum aka Help is on the Way **

Anyways, back to the relevant discussions. One may ask, “Why would an investment company ask for a 3rd party to value their debt and equity? There aren’t any rules that force these companies to have these valuations performed, so what is the point?”

There are a few reason why a company would want D&P’s services:

  1. Liability stand point – The investment company is liable for the value that they attach to their investments. If they do get in a legal battle, Duff & Phelps has provided a fair and unbiased opinion of the questionable investments and this opinion would aid in the company’s defense. Let’s be honest, our country doesn’t need another Bernie Madoff sneaking into our economy.
  2. Advice – D&P has over 1,200 employees from nearly every sector in finance. Not only do they value the company’s assets, but they also have the ability to offer advice and direction with regards to improving these investments.
  3. Quality Assurance – Duff is giving assurance that the investments are fairly and accurately valued. This 3rd party verification mitigates risk. It is so important for companies to report financial information accurately in order to gain trust in the users of such information. People are more willing to invest their money into a fund if they are aware of the fact that an independent party has confirmed or provided accurate valuation marks. Why report data if it is incorrect or flawed?

I know, I’m not working in a zoo and playing with monkeys on a daily basis, nor am I coaching high school football (which would both be awesome). However, I am learning vital information about our financial world and hopefully I will be able to apply these acquired transferable skills to numerous potential career paths.

Next time, more about the projects that I have been working on… Also, stay tuned; my blog titled “People of the Subway“ is coming soon… You’re in for a treat.

4 Responses to What does Duff & Phelps do? (below) Well, kinda…

  1. Margie says:

    Brutus right outside Columbus Circle – how appropriate is that? Great blog entry – really helps in understanding some of this finance stuff!! Totally looking forward to the blog about the subway people :)

  2. Sara Weil says:

    *witty comment*

  3. Pete says:

    Jeff, I’ve been in Chicago this week. There are also some interesting people on the L and buses, I’m looking forward to your “People on the Subway” post. Let me know if you wanna try to grab lunch with my uncle too.

  4. El Munk says:

    i expect a blog of the visit for the end of your internship from me, stubb, Just, and bro

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