A record crowd of industry leaders and business students gathered to learn about the contributions of banks and financial services to the economies of the state and region at the 19th annual Banking and Finance Symposium at the University of Mississippi.
The UM School of Business Administration and its Banking and Finance Advisory Board hosted the Sept. 6 event at the Oxford Conference Center. It included numerous leaders in the field as speakers and guests.
“The annual Banking and Finance Symposium was an incredible experience that not only allowed me to meet real professionals in the banking and finance industries with ties to Ole Miss, but also to hear some of the hot topics in the industry via the three informative panel discussions,” said Cole Barnhill, a junior management major from Union, Kentucky, and student intern for the Banking and Finance Advisory Board.
“The opportunity to be a part of the planning process of the symposium was eye-opening and provided me with experiences I never could have gotten anywhere else. I am excited to see the program continue to grow and I am looking forward to next year’s event.”
Lynn Fitch, state treasurer of Mississippi, delivered the opening address, reminding the group that the treasurer is the only elected official who can legally give away money. She discussed the financial aspects of the treasurer’s office and the importance of educating the state’s young people through vocational, community and university systems.
Glenn McCullough, executive director of the Mississippi Development Authority, discussed the partnerships with banks and other capital providers in creating economic development and growth throughout Mississippi.
And, in defining the term “economic development,” McCullough said “it means importing more dollars than you export.”
Warren Stephens, CEO of Stephens Inc., discussed the critical role of banks and capital formation on capitalism and economic activity. He also emphasized that successful small businesses help the entire community succeed.
Mississippi has more than 250 small businesses that are “helping build your state and your community,” he said.
The symposium also included three panel discussions on bank-specific topics led by Mark Forbis of Jack Henry & Associates; Charles White of Stifel/KBW, and Paul Davis from American Banker, a daily trade paper and website covering the financial services industry.
Ken Cyree, dean of the business school, praised all the speakers and the continued growth in the symposium’s attendance.
“It was an informative and outstanding educational opportunity for all participants and attendees,” he said. “It was a great symposium that created value for our alumni, friends, students and financial professionals.
“The funds raised from our sponsors allows us to continue and expand the success of the banking and finance major here at the University of Mississippi.
Sponsors included the Keefe, Bruyette & Woods investment firm, Delta Bridge Inc., Community Bank, Regions Bank, Strategic Resource Management and more than 25 other financial institutions, law firms and business entities.
“We also awarded our Distinguished Finance Executive award to Charles White, from Birmingham, who is very deserving as an engaged alumnus and leader in the financial industry,” Cyree said.
Throughout the day, SuperTalk Mississippi broadcast live radio interviews with the dean, faculty and winners of the spring Gillespie Business Plan Competition, Jake Harrison and Tyler Moore, on the “J.T. Show” and “Sports Talk Mississippi.”
“The mission of the Ole Miss Banking and Finance Symposium is to provide an unparalleled educational opportunity for the banking and finance industry in the Southeast” said Stan Viner, president of the Banking and Finance Advisory Board. “We accomplish this by not only offering an outstanding lineup of speakers and panel discussions, but also by fostering meaningful peer-to-peer industry conversations for the attendees.
“This year, we mixed all of that with an outstanding list of sponsors. The combination of all of these elements produced a lot of energy. It also led to a record crowd and an all-time high of financial support from our sponsors.”
By Stella Connell