UTC is gearing up to launch a financial program in the spring that will focus on training women to take the reins on Wall Street.

Officials say they hope Finance for the Future will help make the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga a leader in the field of behavioral finance.

"This is really important for our finance students because our world has changed in the last three years," said UTC Chancellor Roger Brown. "We saw the global economy almost collapse from things we didn't know were so dangerous. This center will focus on a new kind of investments and a new kind of awareness."

Finance for the Future is being funded by a $1.5 million gift from John Murphy, a UTC alumnus, and his wife, Renee Haugerud, the founder and chief investment officer at Galtere Ltd., a $2.8 billion commodity hedge fund based in New York.

Local hedge fund manager Lauren Templeton was selected to lead the initiative at the UTC College of Business. Templeton said she wants to offer a female prospective on the art and science of trading and investing and to teach students that "woman's intuition" is an asset for traders.

"We want to have more female hedge fund managers and portfolio managers in the world," said Templeton, founder and principal of Lauren Templeton Capital Management and Maximum Pessimism. "This is going to be a big deal for Chattanooga and a great thing for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga."

Several landmark studies done in the finance industry have shown that men trade differently than women and that men trade more than women because they are overconfident, she said.

Another study by the Vanguard investment firm of its clients' IRAs during the economic slump revealed that men were more likely than women to sell stocks at the bottom of the market.

"Women tend to study investments more prior to making decisions and make sounder financial investments than men, and officials with UTC hope a new financial center will put more women in the field," she said.

The program now has 10 men and two women enrolled for the spring seminar. It will have a trading room equipped with 12 Bloomberg computer stations to give students experience with trading software.

To complete the Finance for the Future program, students must show they have mastered the software and receive Bloomberg certification.

In the fall, Templeton said, the program will host a national conference on behavioral finance that officials hope will attract global leaders in the finance industry to Chattanooga.

Contact staff writer Joan Garrett at jgarrett@times or 423-757-6601.