Professor left ivory tower for brokerage


February 18, 1991|By Blair S. Walker

Nine years ago, college professor Robert I. Jeffrey was intent on earning a Ph.D. in policy sciences when a funny thing happened: He became an investment broker. That, in turn, has led to his latest role, hosting "Investment Insights," a local cable television program.

"Actually, [investments] is a second career for me," says Mr. Jeffrey, 39, who was a psychology professor at the University of Maryland Baltimore County from 1975 to 1982.

Around the beginning of 1982, roughly the same time he started his doctoral program, Mr. Jeffrey started dabbling in investments. To his delight, he enjoyed a respectable success rate.

"I was using the knowledge that I was getting from my academic studies, putting it all together andfinding that I was making profitable decisions," Mr. Jeffrey remembers.

Policy sciences is an interdisciplinary subject that incorporates pieces of economics, sociology and political science. Mr. Jeffrey found that each discipline, along with his background in psychology, gave him insight into the factors that drive investment markets.

Weary of the bureaucracy and politics of academia, Mr. Jeffrey left UMBC to join an investment house. About two years ago, he moved to Legg Mason Wood Walker Inc.

He never did get his doctorate but has no regrets, in light of the way things turned out. Today, he is a vice president of investments for Legg Mason.

Being a college professor and an investment broker aren't as dissimilar as they may seem, Mr. Jeffrey says, because "the goal is still to help people do something that they couldn't achieve on their own.

"I still have opportunities to teach and help people."

"Investment Insights" was born after his appearance on a legal advice program produced by Howard Community College. "My topic as a guest was to talk about investments," he says. "After the show, the producers and I talked aboutthe possibility of creating a show about investments."

"Investment Insights" began airing Feb. 4 on educational access channels in the Baltimore-Washington area. In the Baltimore area, the show can be seen on Catonsville Community College Television, Essex Community College Television, the Howard County Educational Access Channel and Carroll Community Television.

"I'm excited about the idea of having a program whose emphasis is on making individual investors better informed so that they can make careful investment decisions," Mr. Jeffrey says.

The most common mistake investors make, he says, is to "hold their losers too long and sell their winners too fast."

Mr. Jeffrey is a Baltimore native who graduated from Northwestern High School and earned bachelor's and master's degrees in psychology from Johns Hopkins University.

He lives in Columbia with his wife, Dr. Bach Jeffrey, who is a dentist, and their 4-year-old son, Alex.

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