It’s not rare to spot financial expert Robert Pozen advising politicians such as former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, writing for The Wall Street Journal, or discussing capitalism with scholars like the late Howard Zinn. Last week in Richmond, after meeting with Jeffery Lacker, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, Pozen took some time to talk with a group of University of Richmond seniors.

The 16 seniors who manage the Student Managed Investment Fund are a select group of finance majors, chosen by an advisory board each spring. They spend one academic year managing nearly $300,000 of the University’s endowment.

In his 30 minutes with SMIF's members, Pozen quizzed them on everything from their methodology for choosing sectors to which newspapers they read regularly. “I read the Financial Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Boston Globe everyday,” he said, stressing the importance of having a global perspective even though the students focus on the U.S. market.

Pozen also recommended that SMIF use attribution software to examine their performance picking sectors, weights and individual stocks. As undergraduates, he said, it is “most important to understand why you’ve over performed or underperformed.” Become a good stockbroker first, then develop a macro view, he emphasized.

Getting this kind of advice from someone who normally advises the Securities and Exchange Commission is one of the advantages of SMIF membership. In addition to consulting with local financial professionals on a regular basis, the fund managers take a trip to New York City each year to meet with senior financial executives at the major banks.

“This year we met with Richmond alumni and some of their colleagues at firms like Goldman Sachs, Barclays Capital, Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan and [Robins School alumnus and benefactor] Paul Queally’s private equity firm,” said Mir Subjally, a SMIF manager.

The intimate meeting with Pozen helped the members of SMIF — who are getting ready to start their careers — get an insider's perspective on the financial outlook in the United States.

“He made some really interesting comments about pending financial regulatory reform that helped to clarify a lot of what has been proposed lately,” said Subjally.

Pozen’s new book, “Too Big to Save: How to Fix the U.S. Financial System” takes on the future of the finance industry, proposing changes in both the public and private sectors. On campus, he spoke at the Jepson School of Leadership Studies on “Critical Issues After the Financial Crisis” in an event co-sponsored by the Robins School of Business.