UNL College of Business Administration alumnus, Dr. Russell Fuller returns to his alma mater annually, both in his role for the NU Foundation and to take in a Husker football game or two. This fall he also stopped by CBA to present his research in a seminar for the college’s finance department.
Fuller, who received his B.A. in English literature in 1967, served in Vietnam after graduating from UNL as an advisor to South Vietnamese Army units, and was awarded the U.S. Bronze Star and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry for his service. He returned to Nebraska in the 1970’s to complete both his MBA degree and a Ph.D. in finance.
“I was always interested in finance,” Fuller said. “When I was an undergraduate I kind of thought that I was going to end up in business so I took some of the basic accounting and finance classes. I also had a minor in economics. I’ve always enjoyed business so it was kind of natural that I ended up getting my advanced degrees at the business college.”
Fuller is currently President of Fuller & Thaler Asset Management, an investment advisory firm. His company currently manages approximately $1 billion for U.S. and European institutional firms.
Originally from Scottsbluff, Fuller spent many summers and weekends working on farms in wetland pastures, growing everything from corn to sugar beets to beans. When deciding where to go to college the choice was easy.
“I just went to the U,” Fuller said. “I was one year ahead of the baby boomers so the campus changed dramatically while I was here. It went from 14,000 or 15,000 students to 28,000 students from my freshmen to my senior years. They didn’t even have enough buildings for all the classes, so everyone had to have a 7:00 am class and most people had to have a Saturday class. A lot of tall buildings went up on campus while I was in school.”
Fuller continues to be impressed with the way the University has positioned the school for current students.
“I think we’ve done a wonderful job of developing the campus from Harvey Perlman on down. The administration is wonderful and it’s a really well run University.”
Part of that pride stems from being able to stay in touch with the ongoing energy that comes through the people on campus. Many faculty and graduate students that attended his recent seminar stayed well past the posted ending time in order to talk with Fuller about his research and his business career.
The seminar Fuller presented covered a variety of topics but focused on his paper titled, “A Method for Estimating the Negative Impact of Noise Price-Changes on Cap Weighted Portfolios.”
“The paper answers a very old question in capital market theory in finance,” Fuller said. “It distinguishes between types of market efficiency. When I was in school and for 20 years after they concentrated on fair game and sufficiency/efficiency or what I call, ‘Can you beat the market?’ There’s another question though which is, ‘Is the market priced right?’ I call that valuation efficiency.”
In his research, Fuller has tried to determine how cap weighted indexes are affecting the market place when it isn’t priced right.
“I’ve puzzled over that for about 20 years and finally figured out a way of at least coming up with an estimate of that.”
Dr. Gordie Karels, Chair of the Department of Finance, was enthused that Fuller was able to share his research and his personal story of success with graduate students.
“Dr. Fuller's research presentation demonstrated the unique insight his academic and industry expertise provides into valuation efficiency issues,” Karels said. “Our faculty and doctoral students had a distinctive opportunity to interrelate with a recognized investment expert on behavioral biases.”
Although Fuller presently resides in San Francisco, he believes he knows why Nebraska is so important to the state and to everyone who has attended the University.
“There’s something about Nebraska,” Fuller said. “You’re born here and your blood is red and it stays red. Nebraska has one of the highest percentages of alumni that contribute to the alumni association compared to any school in the country. I also think people take a lot of pride in not just the football, but the fact that Nebraska has by far the most Academic All-Americans in the country. That says something about how we treat our students, and that kids here are here to get an education first.”