Fall 2009 UMASS Amherst
Operations Research / Management Science Seminar Series

Date: Friday, October 2, 2009

Time: 11:00 AM
Location: Isenberg School of Management, Room 112

Speaker: Professor Andrew Lo

Sloan School of Management
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cambridge, MA

Biography: Dr. Andrew W. Lo is the Harris & Harris Group Professor of Finance at the MIT Sloan School of Management and the director of MIT's Laboratory for Financial Engineering. He received his Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University in 1984, and taught at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School as the W.P. Carey Assistant Professor of Finance from 1984 to 1987, and as the W.P. Carey Associate Professor of Finance from 1987 to 1988.

His research interests include the empirical validation and implementation of financial asset pricing models; the pricing of options and other derivative securities; financial engineering and risk management; trading technology and market microstructure; statistics, econometrics, and stochastic processes; computer algorithms and numerical methods; financial visualization; nonlinear models of stock and bond returns; hedge-fund risk and return dynamics and risk transparency; and, most recently, evolutionary and neurobiological models of individual risk preferences and financial markets.

He has published numerous articles in finance and economics journals, and is a co-author of The Econometrics of Financial Markets and A Non-Random Walk Down Wall Street, and author of Hedge Funds: An Analytic Perspective. He is currently an associate editor of the Financial Analysts Journal, the Journal of Portfolio Management, the Journal of Computational Finance, and Statistica Sinica. His awards include the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship, the Paul A. Samuelson Award, the American Association for Individual Investors Award, the Graham and Dodd Award, the 2001 IAFE-SunGard Financial Engineer of the Year award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the CFA Institute's James R. Vertin Award, and awards for teaching excellence from both Wharton and MIT. He is a former governor of the Boston Stock Exchange, and currently a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, a member of the NASD's Economic Advisory Board, and founder and chief scientific officer of AlphaSimplex Group, LLC, a quantitative investment management company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

TITLE: Kill All the Quants?: Models vs. Mania
in the Current Financial Crisis

Abstract: As the shockwaves of the financial crisis of 2008 propagate throughout the global economy, the "blame game" has begun in earnest, with some fingers pointing to the complexity of certain financial securities, and the mathematical models used to manage them. In this talk, I will review the evidence for and against this view, and argue that a broader perspective will show a much different picture. Blaming quantitative analysis for the financial crisis is akin to blaming F = MA for a fallen mountain climber's death. A more productive line of inquiry is to look deeper into the underlying causes of financial crisis, which ultimately leads to the conclusion that bubbles, crashes, and market dislocation are unavoidable consequences of hardwired human behavior coupled with free enterprise and modern capitalism. However, even though crises cannot be legislated away, there are many ways to reduce their disruptive effects, and I will conclude with a set of proposals for regulatory reform.
This series is organized by the UMASS Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter. Support for this series is provided by the Isenberg School of Management, the Department of Finance and Operations Management, INFORMS, and the John F. Smith Memorial Fund.

Dr. Anna Nagurney, the John F. Smith Memorial Professor of Operations Management in the Isenberg School of Management,  is the Faculty Advisor of the Speaker Series.