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Money, Models, and Digital Innovation

Please join GIC and University of California, San Diego, for the presentation of the GIC Frederick Heldring Award for Global Leadership to Eric Rosengren, the President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston at the January 12, 2018, conference on Money, Models, and Digital Innovation.  After receiving his award, President Rosengren will give remarks on An Economic Outlook on the U.S. Economy.

The conference will explore digital innovation in money and portfolio management, with expert panels on Big Data and Machine Learning, Portfolio Optimization, and Crypto-Digital currencies as money and as investments. Lunch will be a conversation with Nobel Prize winner Harry Markowitz, who started the modern portfolio era with his pioneering work on risk and portfolio selection.


About the Frederick Heldring Award: The Global Interdependence Center presents the Frederick Heldring Award to individuals who have demonstrated an exemplary commitment to the development of international relations, trade, and global citizenship in their lifetimes. In 1976, Frederick Heldring founded the Global Interdependence Center (GIC), serving as Chair until 2000. The Global Interdependence Center encourages the expansion of global dialogue and free trade to improve cooperation and understanding with the goal of reducing international conflicts and improving worldwide living standards. For a list of previous award recipients, click here.


Attendees of Money, Models, and Digital Innovation can receive credit from the following organizations:

  • AFCPE Post Certification (5 credits)
  • CFP Board (5 CE credit hours)



9:30 a.m. | Registration


  • Donald Rissmiller, Founding Partner of Strategas
  • Robert Sullivan, Dean, Rady School of Management, University of California, San Diego

10:00 a.m. | The Rise of Big Data and Machine Learning: Can data science and quantitative methods co-exist with judgment and heuristics?

  • The arms race in big data, machine learning, and mathematics in the pursuit of alpha
    • Sylvain Champonnois, BlackRock
  • Smart Beta: Will rules-based factor investing commoditize active management?
    • Jeremy Schwartz, Director of Research, WisdomTree
  • Quantitative Methods and Judgment: Competitors or complements?
    • Allan Timmermann, Atkinson/Epstein Endowed Chair, Co-Director, Master of Finance Program, UCSD
  • Moderator: Michael Melvin, Executive Director, Master of Finance Program, UC San Diego

11:00 a.m. | Modern Portfolio Theory: Best practices in setting risk and return while avoiding the illusion of precision

  • Risk and Return: Setting long-term return expectations with limited historical data and outliers like 2008-2009. Dealing with estimation error that creates a fuzzy efficient frontier, not a crisp line.
    •  Philippe Jorion, Managing Director, Risk Management, PAAMCO and Professor at UC Irvine
  • Blending Judgment and Empiricism to Optimize Your Portfolio
    • Ross Valkanov, Zable Endowed Chair in Management and Professor of Finance at the Rady School of Management, UC San Diego
  • Managing Global Asset Allocation Portfolios with Big Data, Modern Portfolio Theory, and Judgment
    • Phillip Green, Managing Director, BlackRock
  • Moderator: Stephen Sexauer, CIO, San Diego County Employees Retirement Association

12:00 p.m. | Lunch Conversation with Harry Markowitz
The story of the insights behind Markowitz’s PhD dissertation on Portfolio Selection.  Insights that have stood the test of time for 65 years and earned the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences.

1:00 p.m. | Presentation of the GIC Frederick Heldring Award for Global Leadership to Eric Rosengren

  • Presented by David Kotok, CIO Cumberland Advisors and GIC Board Member

1:15 p.m. | Keynote Address: An Economic Outlook on the U.S. Economy

  • Eric Rosengren, President and CEO, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston 

2:00 p.m. | Crypto-Digital Currencies: Are they money? Are they secure? Who’s in charge? Are cryptocurrencies currencies an asset class? Do they belong in your investment portfolio?

  • Crypto-Digital Currencies, from J-Coin to Bitcoin: How big? Are they money?  Will there be “Fedbits?”
    • David Mills, Deputy Associate Director, Reserve Bank Operations and Payment Systems, Federal Reserve Board of Governors
  • Bitcoin, a currency, commodity, or asset? Who regulates? Gains from decreasing regulatory uncertainty
    • Dov Greenbaum, Yale professor of molecular biophysics and Biochemistry and director of the Zvi Meitar Institute for Legal Implications of Emerging Technologies.
  • Is Bitcoin to money what Amazon was to retail? Can Bitcoin be valued How?
    • Nicholas Colas, Co-founder, DATATREK Research
  • A Bitcoin Future Contract: What is it? Why have it?  How does it work
    • Tim McCourt, Chicago Mercantile Exchange Group
  • Fraud and cryptocurrencies: An alternative payment system exploited by fraudsters.
    • Jane Hennessy, Head of External Alliances, G2 Web Services
  • Will Cryptocurrencies and Initial Coin Offerings be the Next Bubble to Burst?
    • Harley Bassmann, The Convexity Maven
  • Moderator: David Altig, Executive Vice President and Director of Research, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

3:45 p.m. | Conclusion 

  • Stephen Sexauer, CIO, San Diego County Employees Retirement Association

Event Location

Date: Friday, January 12, 2018 Time: 09:30 AM - 04:00 PM City: San Diego Download iCal


Eric Rosengren, Ph.D.

President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston

Eric S. Rosengren became President and Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston on July 23, 2007. Previously, Rosengren was executive vice president and head of the Bank’s department of supervision, regulation, and credit.

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Harry Markowitz

Nobel Memorial Prize recipient, Economic Sciences

Harry Markowitz was born on Aug. 24, 1927 in Chicago, as the child of Morris and Mildred Markowitz. During high school, Markowitz picked up an interest in physics and philosophy, in particular the ideas of David Hume, an interest he continued to follow during his undergraduate years at the University of Chicago.

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David E. Altig, Ph.D.

Executive Vice President and Director of Research, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

Dr. David E. Altig is executive vice president and director of research at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. In addition to advising the Bank president on monetary policy and related matters, Dr. Altig oversees the Bank’s regional executives and the Bank’s research department.

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Harley Bassman

Private Investor

Harley Bassman created, marketed and traded a wide variety of derivative and structured products during his twenty six year career at Merrill Lynch.

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Sylvain Champonnois

Member of Active Equity Team, BlackRock

Sylvain Champonnois is a member of BlackRock’s Active Equity team. He focuses on the use of alternative datasets, machine learning, and natural language processing for generating alpha.

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Nicholas Colas

Co-Founder, DATATREK Research

Nick is a 30+ year veteran of Wall Street with experience in equity research, money management and investment banking.

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Phil Green

Managing Director, BlackRock

Phil Green, Managing Director, is head of the Global Tactical Asset Allocation team within BlackRock’s Multi-Asset Strategies group. Mr. Green’s service with the firm dates back to 1999, including his years with Merrill Lynch Investment Managers (MLIM), which merged with BlackRock in 2006.

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Dov Greenbaum

Director of the Zvi Meitar Institute and Professor at Yale University

Dov Greenbaum has undergraduate degrees in economics and biology from Yeshiva University and a doctorate in bioinformatics/genetics, a data science field, from Yale University. Dov also has a law degree with a focus on intellectual property from the University of California, Berkeley.

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Jane Hennessy

Head of External Alliances, G2 Web Services

Jane Hennessy is Head of External Alliances at G2 Web Services, headquartered in Bellevue, Washington. G2 Web Services is a technology and services company that helps banks, processors and their partners ensure safer and more profitable commerce. Clients representing over half of merchant outlets globally use our solutions to identify bad actors and keep them out of the payments system.

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Philippe Jorion

Professor of Finance, Paul Merage School of Business at the University of California -Irvine

Philippe Jorion has authored more than a hundred publications directed to academics and practitioners on the topics of portfolio allocation, investment management, and risk management.  His research has received wide recognition, including prizes for best papers in the Journal of Finance and in the Financial Analysts Journal. 

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David Kotok

CIO of Cumberland Advisors

David R. Kotok cofounded Cumberland Advisors in 1973 and has been its chief investment officer since inception. He holds a B.S. in economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, an M.S. in organizational dynamics from the School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania, and a master’s in philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania.

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Tim McCourt

Executive Director, Equity Products, CME Group

Tim McCourt serves as CME Group’s Managing Director and Global Head of Equity Products. He is responsible for leading the company’s global Equity Index product line. He also serves on the S&P Dow Jones Indices U.S. Advisory Panel.

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Michael Melvin

Executive Director, Master of Finance program, Rady School of Management University of California San Diego

Michael Melvin’s research in investments and international finance focuses on real issues facing global investors. He has published research in topics including exchange rates, currency investing, and international equity markets. His current research is focused on currency carry trades and transaction costs and exchange rate models.

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David Mills

Deputy Associate Director, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System

David Mills is Deputy Associate Director at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System in Washington, DC.  He has responsibilities for the Board’s payments research and retail payments. 

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Donald Rissmiller

Founding Partner of Strategas

Donald Rissmiller is a founding partner of Strategas and has been the firm’s chief economist since 2006, directing its macroeconomic research effort. He oversees Strategas’ high-frequency econometric forecasting and thematic economic research. Mr. Rissmiller’s research has been consistently recognized by Institutional Investor magazine in their annual survey: he was ranked best up and coming economist in 2008, and was third in their 2009 All-America Independent Research Team survey. He is frequently quoted in the financial press.

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Jeremy Schwartz

Director of Research, WisdomTree

As Director of Research, Jeremy is responsible for the WisdomTree equity index construction process and oversees research across the WisdomTree family.

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Stephen Sexauer

Chief Investment Officer, The San Diego County Employees Retirement Association

Stephen Sexauer is SDCERA’s Chief Investment Officer and oversees SDCERA’s $12 billion Trust Fund, investment team, and investment consultants. In addition to the day-to-day operation of SDCERA’s Investment Division, he also assists SDCERA’s Board with determining the Fund’s investment policies, strategy and asset allocation.

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Robert S. Sullivan

Dean, Rady School of Management University of California, San Diego

Robert S. Sullivan joined the Rady School of Management at UC San Diego as its founding dean in January 2003. Dr. Sullivan is an expert on entrepreneurship, knowledge management and operations management.

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Allan Timmermann

Atkinson/Epstein Endowed Chair, Co-Director, Master of Finance Program, UCSD

Allan Timmermann uses a mix of theory, data and econometric techniques to understand the behavior of prices and expectations in financial markets.

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Rossen Valkanov

Zable Endowed Chair in Management and Professor of Finance at the Rady School of Management, UC San Diego

Rossen Valkanov is the Zable Endowed Chair in Management and Professor of Finance at the Rady School of Management, and inaugural Co-Director of the new Master’s in Finance program. He received his Ph.D. in economics from Princeton University (1999) and graduated summa cum laude from the University of California, Irvine with a BA in economics (1995).

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