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Thomas D. Shohfi - Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Troy, NY, US

Thomas D. Shohfi Thomas D. Shohfi

Assistant Professor of Accounting and Finance | Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute


Leading research into Alternative Data sources in analysis of stock markets. Director of the Student Managed Investment Fund at Rensselaer.


Areas of Expertise (5)

Financial Analysts

Textual Analysis

Alternative Data in Finance

Quantitative Finance

Investor Behavior


Tom Shohfi is an assistant professor of finance and accounting at the Lally School of Management and Technology at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He teaches Financial Trading and Investing in the M.S. in Quantitative Finance and Risk and Analytics program, Financial Statement Analysis, and is faculty advisor to the RPI James Student Managed Investment Fund.

Before his current role, he was a co-founder of SmicroCaps, Inc. and a senior analyst focused on the technology, media and telecom (TMT) sector. In 2001, he co-founded Empowering Media, an information technology services firm with hundreds of SMB clients. Later, he was an integral leader in developing the software and infrastructure behind the growth of Did-It Search Marketing, a member of Deloitte's Technology Fast 500. Prior to founding SmicroCaps, Tom worked as a summer Research Associate in the enterprise software group at Banc of America Securities.

Tom served as an assistant adjunct professor for the undergraduate Applied Investment Management class at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Kenan-Flagler Business School. He was also a member of the board of advisors for UNC Chapel Hill's BSBA and MBA Applied Investment Management funds. Prior to joining Lally, Tom was a research assistant and teaching fellow at the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business at the University of Pittsburgh.

Mr. Shohfi was a Dean's scholar at New York University and earned a BA in computer science and mathematics from that institution. He also received his MBA from Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Tom holds the Chartered Financial Analyst, Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst, and Financial Risk Manager designations. He was awarded a doctorate in financial economics from the University of Pittsburgh in 2015. Tom’s research interests include corporate governance and financial analyst behavior. His work has been published in Financial Management, Journal of Banking & Finance, Journal of Small Business Management, and Managerial Finance.

Education (3)

University of Pittsburgh-Katz Graduate School of Business: Ph.D 2015

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill: M.B.A, Investment Management and Entrepreneurship 2008

New York University: B.A., Computer Science and Math 2001

Media Appearances (10)

How sin taxes could have unintended consequences

Spectrum News  tv


If you've ever bought a pack of cigarettes, a six pack of beer or legally gambled, you likely paid a sin tax. A sin tax is something we pay when the government is, paradoxically, trying to raise money off bad behavior. But a finance and marketing professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is worried some of these taxes can have unintended consequences. "It's generally something that has a bad consequence for general public health or crime or something along that nature so the government tries to recoup revenue that provides some offset for those sin taxes," said professor Tom Shohfi.

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How Blockchain Can Transform the Financial Services Industry

U.S. News & World Report  print


Blockchain makes the infrastructure that's proprietary to financial institutions less important because it serves as a verification mechanism that's "not concentrated in the power of one institution," says Thomas Shohfi, assistant professor in the Lally School of Management at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York.

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Dogecoin's social media-driven rally and GameStop compared

Business Insider  online


"Dogecoin is backed by nothing. It was started as a joke based on the Doge Shibu meme… GameStop is a real company with physical and digital assets. It has been profitable in the past, despite its current brick-and-mortar troubles." "While it is a meme stock, much of the volatility in GameStop began after Ryan Cohen, the founder of Chewy.com, announced a large stake in the firm to transition it into an 'omnichannel' gaming company. Investors and traders have been hoping this transformation will lead to higher stock prices," said Thomas Shohfi, assistant professor, Lally School of Management, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

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The impact and fallout of the Wall Street drama surrounding shares of GameStop

WRGB CBS6 Albany  tv


Professor Shohfi teaches a stock trading course at RPI’s Lally School of Management, and he says, “There's going to be a lot of criticism about Robinhood's risk management - we have this view that technology is going to significantly disrupt the financial industry, and it has, and it continues to happen. But the technology companies can't ignore the finance side and the regulatory side that these other institutions, the traditional financial institutions are deeply familiar with." But he also says the cultural aspect of this, the effect the Reddit group “Wall Street Bets” had in this situation, is fascinating.

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WallStreetBets is America

VOX  online


Thomas Shohfi, an assistant professor of finance and accounting at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, thinks this subset of WallStreetBets may also be using their investor power to point out the greed of Wall Street. “There’s a good portion of the retail side that’s saying ‘The stock market is the pinnacle of capitalism and capitalism isn’t working for a lot of people. We want to show people that we don’t even care about the money. We just care about not driving companies into the ground,’” he hypothesized.

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How to Capitalize on After-Hours Trading

U.S. News & World Report  print


Normal stock market hours on the New York Stock Exchange are from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. EST during the week – but outside of normal trading hours, premarket and after-hours trading take over and investors enter into new territory. ... The news cycle feeds into before- and after-market trading quickly, which improves liquidity during these hours. This may sound like an appealing opportunity, but it's one thing to have details and another to know how to act on them – so retail investors should proceed with caution. Thomas Shohfi, assistant professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, says "it's difficult to capitalize on this because they (retail investors), generally, cannot move as quickly as institutions that can process information and transact accordingly at a much faster speed."

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How To Get Cash Quickly During the Pandemic

thesimpledollar.com  online


The coronavirus pandemic has caused financial hardship for millions of Americans, leading many to seek alternative forms of income. In fact, roughly a quarter of Americans have either lost their job or had a pay cut resulting from the coronavirus shutdowns, according to CNBC’s All-America Economic Survey.

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Trying To Make Sense of Market Volatility? 5 Big Questions Answered

public.com  online


There is no doubt we are amid an unprecedented event both culturally and economically. We are thinking about the health and wellbeing of our loved ones. We’re thinking about the global economic impact that has already hit, and what’s yet to come. In many ways, we’re navigating a new way of life. We’re also thinking about our financial security. Millennials that came of age during the Financial Crisis in 2008 face the current environment with much more at stake. They are more mature in their careers. Many have contributed to 401Ks, and others have additional long-term investments tied to the stock market. And yes, 45 percent of them are paying back student loans. To help demystify what’s happening and what it means for our community of investors, we asked experts to offer their take on some of the biggest questions that have arisen in light of recent market volatility.

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Financial Advisers Analyze Impact of Coronavirus on Stock Market

WRGB CBS6 Albany  tv


Financial advisers analyze the impact of the coronavirus on stock markets. Recommendation is don't sell stock yet.

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Economics, Law and Finance Professors from Major Universities Write to Congress : “Bail Out People Before Large Corporations”


“Bailouts allow investors to keep all the profits in good times without bearing the losses in bad times. Instead, bailouts impose losses on taxpayers, including those most in danger of losing their paychecks,” over 230 leading economists argue in a letter to the Congress regarding the $2 trillion package that’s meant to mitigate the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

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Articles (5)

Investor Awareness or Information Asymmetry? Wikipedia and IPO Underpricing

Financial Review

Thomas Jason Bolton, Bill B. Francis, Thomas Shohfi, Daqi Xin


We use the presence of a Wikipedia article for initial public offering (IPO) firms to test theories of information asymmetry and investor awareness. While we find limited support for the former, our results provide strong support for theories of investor awareness. Specifically, IPO firms with a Wikipedia article exhibit significantly higher underpricing and offer price revisions than do IPO firms without a Wikipedia article. Investor awareness has positive long-term effects, including greater analyst following and institutional ownership for up to three years after the offering. The effect is robust to firm-specific Google search volume, news coverage, retail trading intensity, social media activity, propensity score matching, and an instrumental variable approach.

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The dark side of individual blockholder philanthropy

Financial Management

Thomas D. Shohfi, Roger M. White


We examine the market reaction to charitable pledges by individual blockholders of public firms. As this philanthropy may signal a weakening preference for wealth maximization and may be indicative of distraction or relaxed monitoring, these agency costs may overwhelm any reputation benefits. We find decreased firm value and lower pay‐for‐performance sensitivity, the effects of which are most severe where monitoring needs are high, the blockholder is a director, or when the firm has ex ante high corporate social responsibility ratings. Our results are robust to controlling for prior charitable foundation involvement, busy director–blockholders, dual‐class share structures, blockholder exit, and pre‐pledge firm sentiment.

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Bulk volume classification and information detection

Journal of Banking & Finance

Marios A. Panayides, Thomas D. Shohfi, Jared D. Smith


Using European stock data from two different venues and time periods for which we can identify each trade's aggressor, we test the performance of the bulk volume classification (Easley et al. (2016); BVC) algorithm. BVC is data efficient, but may identify trade aggressors less accurately than “bulk” versions of traditional trade-level algorithms. BVC-estimated trade flow is the only algorithm related to proxies of informed trading, however. This is because traditional algorithms are designed to find individual trade aggressors, but we find that trade aggressor no longer captures information. Finally, we find that after calibrating BVC to trading characteristics in out-of-sample data, it is better able to detect information and to identify trade aggressors. In the new era of fast trading, sophisticated investors, and smart order execution, BVC appears to be the most versatile algorithm.

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RPI’s James Fund: ETFs, decision making, & manager transitions

Managerial Finance

Thomas D. Shohfi


The James Fund at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Lally School of Management is a small, recently established, course-driven student-managed investment fund (SMIF). The purpose of this paper is to provide insight to new and existing funds in improving individual fund operation and structure.

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Angels or Sharks? The Role of Personal Characteristics in Angel Investment Decisions

Journal of Small Business Management

Thomas J. Boulton, Thomas D. Shohfi, Pengcheng Zhu


We use actual negotiations between angel investors and entrepreneurs to study the impact of personal characteristics on investment outcomes. We construct a unique data set with 707 investment requests led by 1,089 entrepreneurs and find that the personal characteristics of the entrepreneur, including gender, race, and age, are correlated with requested valuations, the likelihood that an offer is received, and the implied valuation when an angel investor extends an offer. Shared personal characteristics between entrepreneurs and investors also affect the likelihood that an investor makes an offer, the entrepreneur accepts an offer, and the implied valuation when an offer is extended.

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