Student schools board on bonds

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Tomas Gonzalez/DRC
UNT finance senior James Verfurth spoke at the University of North Texas System Board of Regents meeting Feb. 23 about the sale of new bonds and refinancing of others, totaling $264.1 million.

UNT finance senior leads presentation to regents

To finance seven ongoing construction projects across the University of North Texas System, officials had to sell bonds in January to pay for the work.

In addition to the regular finance team, James Verfurth, a senior finance major, accompanied the team for a two-day trip to New York to work with financial service companies JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Barclays to sell $264.1 million worth of bonds.

Over two days, Verfurth sat in meetings with UNT and bank officials, watched the bonds go to market and met with a variety of executives at both companies.

“It was an eye-opening experience,” Verfurth said of the early January trip. “I genuinely enjoy finance and it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up — I observed something that directly impacts students.”

After, he gave a presentation about the experience and bond sales to the Board of Regents last week in Dallas.

Over the course of eight minutes, Verfurth explained the sale of new bonds and refinancing of others, totaling $264.1 million. With refinancing, the system saves $7.1 million and reduces the average debt service the system has to pay.

“We definitely entered at a good time and it was a favorable entry point for us into the market,” he told the board. “That gave us a phenomenal focus, and we were definitely center stage and center of attention, as far as what institutions and investors were looking at.”

Board members whispered among themselves during his presentation. Neal Smatresk, UNT president, turned back from his seat to Luke Lybrand, the UNT System treasury manager who introduced Verfurth, to tell him, “Good job.”

At the end of his presentation, board President Brint Ryan asked if Verfurth was sure he wanted to move to Philadelphia for a job with Wells Fargo in June.

After the meeting, Ryan, who has been on the board since 2009, said he had never seen a student give this level of presentation to the board before.

“I was very impressed with James’ presentation,” he said in an email. “I’ve never seen a student present to the board at this level and I would have hired him on the spot — if he wasn’t already headed to Wells Fargo.”

JENNA DUNCAN can be reached at 940-566-6889 and via Twitter at @JennaFDuncan.


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