CONNECTING STUDENTS AND PRACTITIONERS
The 2014-2015 academic year was notable for the substantial increase in the presence of practitioners and potential employers in the classroom. This was a conscious effort to increase the experiential learning element in coursework wherever possible.
In his first full year as Academic Director of the Center, Lamont Black, Assistant Professor of Finance, intensified the use of guest speakers, project mentors and local case studies to give students the opportunity to experience the real world and to give employers an opportunity to share their experience. Marty Essenburg, Adjunct Professor of Finance, joined in this effort.
The Center's member institutions were prominently featured in Commercial Banking, Money and Capital Markets and Investment banking courses. Attached as Appendix A, Connecting Students and Employers, is a recap of the interactions that occurred in and outside the classroom. Having proved popular with both students and practitioners, these connections will feature even more prominently in the coming academic year. Appendix C is an article that explores one of the classroom experiences in greater depth.
Master of Science in Wealth Management
The first cohort of students in the Master of Science in Wealth Management graduated in the spring of 2015. The final two courses of the spring term were the case study driven Capstone courses taught by Adjunct Professor of Finance Andy Bateman, former head of a team of wealth managers at J.P. Morgan Chase. Andy drew principally from the Center's 25 member Wealth Management Advisory Board for practitioners to act as guest speakers, panelists, mock clients and presentation evaluators. A class-by-class summary showing the topics and practitioner participants is attached as Appendix B.
The Wealth Management Advisory Board met twice during the year to receive updates on the Master's program, provide advice and feedback on program content and to assist us with ideas and speakers for both wealth management classes and our annual wealth management conference. These meetings are always followed by very popular private dinners where our Advisory Board members can network and share their views on common issues and concerns.
Eighth Annual Risk Conference: Reaffirming Our Foundations
The eighth annual Risk Conference was held at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago on March 31-April 1, 2015. With an overarching theme of Reaffirming Our Foundations, the conference agenda focused on the sub-themes of Risk & Regulation and Culture & Governance. In the post-crisis environment, these topics remain top-of-mind for the regulatory and financial services communities. Keynote speakers included: Wieke Scholte, Senior Supervisor on Behavior and Culture, De Nederlandsche Bank, N.V; Michael Scudder, President and CEO of First Midwest Bancorp; and Kelly King, Chairman and CEO, BB&T Corporation. Mr. King delivered the Conference's traditional, signature address "A View from the Corner Office."
The conference theme was explored through panels on Macro Risks, Regulatory Policy and Supervision and Risk Management. An added feature this year was a panel, Local Completion and Risk, comprised of bank CEOs who discussed their strategies for growth while managing risk in the highly competitive Chicago Market. Member institutions of the Center for Financial Services were well represented on the panel in the form of Mark Hoppe (MB Financial), Larry Richman (Private Bancorp) and Bob Yohanan (First Evanston Bancorp). Lamont Black, Assistant Professor of Finance at DePaul and Academic Director of the Center, moderated the closing panel which looked at how the growing field of applied research is connecting students and academics with practitioners.
To ensure that the Risk Conference addressed issues relevant to our financial institution constituents, we convened two breakfast roundtables of chief risk officers or their proxies in late 2014 and early 2015. These meetings proved extremely useful in helping us shape the conference agenda. The group found that they valued the networking and experience sharing opportunities these meetings afforded and accordingly agreed to continue them. A third meeting was held in May and we will meet again starting in the fall to begin planning for the 2016 Risk Conference.
Wealth Management Conference: Socially Responsible Investing
The annual LPL supported Wealth Management Conference held on October 24, 2014 addressed the topic of Socially Responsible Investing (SRI). SRI is a vibrant market in the United States and Europe. An estimated $1 in every $9 under professional management in the U.S. is involved in SRI. Socially screened investments are in excess of $3 trillion and growing. The wealth management industry is now reacting to a trend that, while not mainstream, clearly is commanding greater attention from clients, particularly the rising generation. Advisors are now faced with meeting this demand while at the same time being mindful of their fiduciary responsibilities.
In the morning session, David Chen, CEO of Equilibrium Capital, framed the development of SRI in his keynote address. The first of two panels then heard from portfolio managers on their approach to structuring values based portfolios without materially sacrificing investment performance. The second panel, moderated by Marguerite Griffin, SVP and National Director of Philanthropic Strategies for Northern Trust, addressed the challenge of integrating mission-related investing, impact investing and philanthropy. The afternoon session was devoted to the presentation of academic research papers on the SRI topic.
Sustainable Business Conference: Innovation and Sustainability
In the first quarter 2015, Professor Ali Fatemi once again taught the MBA course, Sustainable Value Creation. In connection with this course, the Center for Financial Services is a regular co-sponsor of the Sustainable Business Conference. This year's theme was Innovation and Sustainability. While open to all, this conference is intended to give the students exposure to the insights and experiences of both early stage and mature companies that are committed to the principles of sustainability as they grow their enterprises. The speakers and panelists addressed innovation in product, process, energy and recycling. Tammie Arnold, Partner, Generation Investment, reviewed the investment principles that have allowed Generation Investment to achieve top tier returns while observing sustainable business practices.
At the end of this course, students present their own projects that must reflect responsible environmental and social practices and show sustained profitability. A panel of professionals evaluates these presentations, selects the top two for recognition and a scholarship. I am pleased to report that one of the two winners, Elisabeth Ames and her company EarlyVention, went on to win the Loyola/Quinlan social enterprise event.
DePaul Conference on Economics and Finance
On Saturday, May 16, 2015 The Center for Financial Services and Vahap Uysal, Associate Professor of Finance, hosted the DePaul Conference on Economics and Finance.
Nobel Economics Laureate Eugene Fama shared his thoughts on a wide array of topics including efficient capital markets, the future of the U.S. economy and high frequency trading. Six scholars presented their research on a range of topics including the role of soft information in mortgage lending, the effect of corporate conference meetings on institutional holdings and the relationship between future profitability and cross section of stock returns. This was another successful event resulting in positive visibility for DePaul.
Numbers Don't Lie, People Do
On October 24, 2014, The Center for Financial Services and Truth in Accounting once again collaborated on their fourth annual public program, this one titled Numbers Don't Lie, People Do. An all-star panel discussed with each other and with the audience the impact of the lack of transparent, reliable and understandable government financial statements on public and policy makers' understanding of the true financial condition of federal, state and local entities. Bethany McLean author of Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, Terry Savage, nationally known expert on finance and the economy, Dennis Chooksaazian, former CEO of CNA and former Chairman of the Financial Accounting Standards Advisory Council and Sheila Weinberg, CEO of Truth in Accounting engaged in a spirited discussion of this important topic including progress that is being made in raising public awareness.
PNC Executive Forum: Ambassador William J. Burns
This year's PNC Executive Forum, made possible by support from PNC Corporation, took place on April 21, 2015. Ambassador William J. Burns, President, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and recently retired Deputy Secretary of State, took the audience across the globe in his address "Navigating Today's International Landscape: A Diplomat's Perspective." Ambassador Burns was only the second career diplomat in history to serve as Deputy Secretary of State. He was the initial negotiator in the Iran in the nuclear talks.
Following the public event, Ambassador Burns and Ambassador Ivo Daalder, President of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, were our guests at our Annual Members' Dinner. In a single conversation around the table Ambassador Burns shared additional off-the-record insights on the international landscape.
Steve Forbes Visit
The Center co-sponsored a visit by Steve Forbes on May 28. Mr. Forbes spoke to a gathering of almost 300 DePaul students on the Lincoln Park campus. His comments covered a range of topics including the value of free markets and a stable U.S. dollar. Additionally, the amount of student interest was evident in the long line for Q&A. In a follow-up letter Mr. Forbes wrote, "Your students are impressive."
Following the talk, a group including members of the Center and Dean Ray Whittington had dinner with Mr. Forbes. It was an enjoyable and spirited discussion.