Detroit Lions: Brandon Copeland “Wall Street Guru”

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Brandon Copeland is sitting in his mother’s basement office staring at the multiple computer screens, reading notes and creating the presentations that he needs to make.  Copeland is used to “late nights, early mornings”… because his team is depending on him and his work.

Unknown to the outside world Copeland, now a defensive end for the Detroit Lions, is a Wall Street “guru”. The 25-year old Wharton graduate joined the financial world with an off season job this past March as a spring analyst – balancing training to make to the Detroit Lions for a third straight season.

Copeland’s work consists of him formulating a strong opinion, a combination of evidence, and personal feelings of public offerings.   His findings will be presented to his co-worker, Ron Darnowski, during meetings at Weiss Multi Strategy Advisors.  Copeland needs to make sure that Weiss Advisers are correct in evaluating the latest IPO offerings so that his team, the firm, and their clients all win and make money.

Brandon Copeland Image

Copeland assist Darnowski, a trader in IPO and valuation division of the company develop strategies that will help how they pitch to investors and decide what price they want to invest at.  Darnowski said, “He is part of the process and he works for our firm and with me because he contributes to the process and makes our team better. He’s doing the work and adding to our process here.”

One might ask, “how does a talented defensive end such as Brandon Copeland end up working on Wall Street?”  Well George Weiss, the founder of Weiss Multi Strategy Advisors, is a University of Pennsylvania football program benefactor.  Nick Morris, a partner who runs the trading desk at the firm, is a former Penn defensive back.  The two often talk about the players that Penn was recruiting.  Copeland stood out.  Morris thought Copeland was too talented for Penn.  So, when Copeland chose Penn the two alums were impressed and started to learn about their team’s new star player.

After their first meeting with Copeland a few things stuck out.  He followed up, asked questions, researched the company, he was personable and intelligent.  Brandon Copeland did all the right things that a person should do to make a positive first impression.  He wanted to learn and find mentors.  Sometimes, that can be a rare thing to find among young professionals today. So, when it does happen—it leaves a lasting impression.

The connections that Copeland made influenced his future.  He interned at UBS for 2 summers in college. Undrafted in 2013, he ended up on the Baltimore Ravens for training camp, however was cut and landed with the Tennessee Titans.  Copeland was on the practice squad that year.  He went up to New York for 2 weeks during the 2014 off season to shadow Weiss and Morris.  If football had not worked out, it’s very possible he’d be working at UBS or Weiss right now.

“It’s just, you’re using your brain to make money. That intrigued me.”- Brandon Copeland

As Copeland, created an NFL career after signing with the Lions following the 2015 veteran’s combine—he did not forget about his real-world work experience: Walmart stock boy; managed expense reports at the Social Security Administration; along with being a bouncer at Smokey Joe’s in Philadelphia.  It is no surprise that Copeland is a saver.  “I can literally hoard money.” Copeland said.  “I’m stacking, stacking, stacking. I’ve got to the point when football is over, I have more than enough to take care of me for a while.”

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As he plans his evolving investment strategy Copeland estimates he’ll invest close to 60 percent of his post-tax salary, save another 30 percent of that salary, and live off the remaining 15 percent. “I still hold myself to strict guidelines in terms of what I touch in terms of money. Its guaranteed football will be over someday. I tell kids that all the time.”  He is quick to advise that this is his personal strategy and not for everyone.

I believe Brandon Copeland is a very intelligent, talented athlete, and a great human being. He knows that in a blink of an eye your NFL career can be over.  So many times we hear the stories of former professional athletes not having the right financial tools to sustain a “nice lifestyle” after their playing days are over.

Copeland does great things for the youth of Baltimore and the society with various programs that he’s set up for the inner-city kids with school supplies and other community donations.  He is really setting up his future after his playing days are over and leaving a legacy for himself.  That’s what it’s about!   Salute, Brandon Copeland! You are definitely a fan’s favorite!!

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