Blog: Page 26

Basel III Burden: Part 3. “Our Business Achieved Tangible Benefits”

The third and final speaker at the October 18, 2012 GARP webinar on the Basel III burden on profitability was Alyson Bailey-Flynn, Director in Global Analytics and Financial Engineering at Scotiabank. She had a good news story to share. “Improved risk management meant improved decision-making,” she said, prior to delivering a brief survey of the implementation of risk management at Scotiabank. When it came to market risk calculations, management was both for and against spreadsheet usage. (“For” because it meant ease of use; “against” because it meant lack of control.) Ultimately Scotiabank chose an in-house batch risk engine powered by Algorithmics Risk […]

Basel III Burden. Part 2: The Devil is in the Data

The second speaker at the October 18, 2012 GARP webinar was Peyman Mestchian, Managing Partner, Chartis Research. The Basel III “journey” will have three main impacts in financial institutions, he said: (1)    Improved capital management. Mestchian believes banks will figure out how to adapt “without sacrificing their efficiency”; (2)    Greater integration of risk, compliance, and finance functions. There will be overlapping responsibilities for Basel III, between front office, finance & treasury, and risk & compliance departments; and (3)    Implementation of enterprise-wide risk management systems. Under Basel III, “capital optimization has a much higher profile,” Mestchian said. “Due to short timelines, […]

Basel III Burden: Part 1. From Too-Big-To-Fail To Too-Small-To-Survive

Basel III regulations are onerous and complex, but must ultimately be managed, according to a panel of three banking experts who made presentations during the October 18, 2012 Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP) webinar to an audience estimated at around a thousand. The webinar follows on the heels of a McKinsey report that estimates banks’ average return on equity (ROE) will drop from 20 percent ROE in 2010 to 7 percent upon Basel III implementation. The session was kicked off by Mario Onorato, Senior Director, Balance Sheet and Capital Management, IBM, who talked about business models and IT implications. […]

Managing Risk Beyond Asset Class Diversification

“The ‘new normal’ in asset allocation must be forward-looking and driven by macroeconomics, said Sébastien Page, Global Head of Client Analytics, Executive Vice-President at PIMCO.  He was addressing a CFA Society Toronto  luncheon on October 15, 2012 in Toronto’s historic National Club. Traditionally, asset allocation focussed on diversifying according to asset class.  In the ‘new normal,’ Page recommends diversifying across risk factors.  “Think of asset class as simply a container of risk factors,” he suggested.  He gave another metaphor in line with the luncheon crowd.  “Think of risk factors as components like proteins, carbohydrates, and fats.  An asset class would […]

Global Outlook for Crude Oil: FUD = Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt

In July 2008, Brent crude oil prices reached $148 per barrel “and we saw a lot of pushback from the market but nowadays when I mention $150, there is no pushback,” said Christian O’Neill, senior analyst at Bloomberg Industries during a GARP webinar October 11, 2012. He proceeded to walk the audience through the key factors affecting current supply and demand of this vital commodity. O’Neill’s presentation showed that oil leveraged energy and petroleum (E&P) stocks have strongly outperformed the S&P 500 in the period since March 2009. “Energy has been the beta sector of the market,” said O’Neill, because […]

Risk-Adjusted Performance Measurement. Part 2: Everything But the Kitchen Sink

The risk measures, both ex post and ex ante, that formed the hands-on component of the one-day workshop on risk-adjusted performance measurement at the CFA Society Toronto offices, are covered in greater detail by the book Practical Portfolio Performance Measurement & Attribution. The author (and workshop leader), Carl Bacon, gave the workshop participants a whirlwind tour on September 17, 2012. This continues a recap of the highlights begun in Part 1 of this posting. Simple risk measures are “stand-alone” for a given portfolio (e.g., variability and Sharpe Ratio), or they are calculated in conjunction with another benchmark or portfolio (e.g., […]

Risk-Adjusted Performance Measurement. Part 1: Mind the Expectations

“The guiding principles for risk control,” said Carl Bacon, CIPM, Chairman of Statpro, and former Director of Risk Control and Performance at F&C Investment Management Ltd, “are integration and confidence in data.”  Bacon was in Toronto on September 17, 2012 to deliver a one-day workshop on risk-adjusted performance measurement to about a dozen members of the CFA Society Toronto as part of the Society’s continuing education program.  He is the author of  Practical Portfolio Performance Measurement & Attribution, which went into its second edition in 2008. Performance measurement is the calculation of portfolio return for purposes of  comparison against a […]

Madoff Scandal: Three Books, Three Perspectives

The Madoff scandal has spawned a sub-genre of work.  In the Toronto Public Library system, there are about twenty entries (books, e-books, DVDs) as of September 2012.  It’s already a crowded arena.  The books range from those written by victims (The Bag Lady Papers : The Priceless Experience Of Losing It All by Alexandra Penney, 2010) to those written by family (The End Of Normal : A Wife’s Anguish, A Widow’s New Life by Stephanie Madoff Mack, 2011) to those written by persons involved with hunting him down (No One Would Listen, by Harry Markopolos, 2010).  Only one mistress has […]

ETFs: Liquidity, Trading & Portfolio Implementation Strategies

When the CFA Society Toronto decides to hold an ETFs seminar in Toronto’s Hockey Hall of Fame, such as it did on the balmy evening of Sept 13, 2012, there is a competition for attention. The venue is full of items of interest to the die-hard fan, such as the shower sandals used by Alexander Ovechkin during the 2011 All-Star game. The lesser fan might stand there, equally transfixed, wondering what the secondary market for used shower sandals could be, even those of Alexander Ovechkin. The ETFs seminar had panel discussions covering three areas: market making, liquidity and trading; utilizing […]

Automated Trading with MATLAB

Stuart Kozola, product manager for computational finance at MathWorks, demonstrated examples of trading systems using MATLAB during a webinar on August 21, 2012.  In the first half he discussed how to develop an automated trading decision engine.  This meant identifying a successful trading rule, extending the trading rule set, and automating the trading rule selection.  In the second half of the webinar he showed implementation of the automated trading, with a caveat that these would require testing prior to integration and execution in the real-life scenario. The worked problem involved Brent oil futures.  The first challenge was to identify profitable […]