COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Professor of Finance Russ Wermers has been appointed as Director of the Center for Financial Policy (CFP) at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business.
Wermers, whose teaching and research has drawn campus-wide and national recognition, will lead a center established in 2009 in the wake of the global financial crisis. The CFP organizes conferences, roundtables, speaker series events and educational programs to support its mission to promote research and education to inform financial policy.
“I am confident that Russ will carry the momentum of the center forward,” said Smith School Dean Alex Triantis. “He has already helped establish a partnership with the Investment Company Institute to co-host the upcoming Academic and Practitioner Conference on Mutual Funds and ETFs.”
Wermers’ accolades include a 2013 Krowe Teaching Award from Smith, plus a 2005 “Teaching with Technology Award” – a campus-wide top prize. His research has garnered numerous awards, including most recently the Investment Management Consultants Association’s 2012 Journal of Investment Consulting Academic Paper Competition for his study yielding a formula to minimize risk and maximize return on hedge fund investments.
Currently, his research interests include the efficiency of securities markets, the role of institutional investors in setting stock prices, and microfinance institutions in Thailand. In addition, he studies and teaches quantitative equity strategies.
Wermers said he is pleased to have the opportunity to lead CFP – “a prestigious center” – in its mission to “advance research on finance that informs policy, which requires a strong network between finance academics, policymakers, and public- and private-sector professionals.”
Wermers, who joined Smith in 2000, succeeds founding CFP Director Lemma Senbet, who is on leave from Smith to serve as the Executive Director of the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC). This Kenya-based non-profit group conducts independent research concerning the management of economies in sub-Saharan Africa. Senbet, instrumental in establishing and building up the center, will remain involved as a senior policy advisor.
“Besides continuing Dr. Lemma Senbet’s excellent connections with many Washington, D.C., and outside institutions, I wish to make it my initiative to enhance our connections with the private sector, including the hedge fund, mutual fund, private equity, investment banking, commercial banking, real estate and corporate finance sectors among others,” Wermers said. “As finance academics, we have a huge amount to learn from these professionals, and we also hope to provide a conduit to the latest academic research in finance as well as hosting relevant conferences to busy professionals.”
“I was impressed with the need for this dialogue in my prior career in a large corporation in the oil industry, as well as when I served as a long-term consultant for Goldman Sachs Asset Management a few years ago,” he added.
Further bolstering the CFP leadership team is Kathleen Hanley. Returning to Smith as a visiting associate professor of finance, she will serve as the faculty lead for the center’s risk management track and as a senior academic advisor. Hanley most recently was deputy chief economist of the division of economic and risk analysis at the Securities and Exchange Commission. She also was a senior economist at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors and previously served on the Smith finance faculty from 1994-1999.
Filling out the leadership is Assistant Director Michelle Lui, who continues in her full-time role for the center. She coordinates the center’s daily operations, marketing and communications.
In addition to the aforementioned conference on mutual funds and ETFs, other fall 2013 CFP events are:
- Henry Kaufman Forum on Religious Traditions and Business Behavior, Oct. 31-Nov.1
- Distinguished Speaker Series talk by Martin Feldstein, Nov. 19
- Experts roundtable on ‘Board Oversight of Valuation, Nov. 21
For more information, go to CFP’s website.