CAMRI Newsletter Head


Director’s Message

Dear Friends,

Greetings from CAMRI! I would like to take this opportunity to welcome our new Research Director, Dr Johan Sulaeman. Johan is an Associate Professor in the Department of Finance at the NUS Business School, and will spearhead research efforts conducted at CAMRI, including the CAMRI Research Digest Series. Our heartfelt and sincere thanks to Prof David Reeb, our Immediate Past Research Director and the Mr & Mrs Lin Jo Yan Professor in Banking and Finance at NUS Business School, for his services to CAMRI on the research front.

I am also pleased to inform you that we have close to 20 participants from 13 prominent institutions registered to attend our Graduate Certificate in Applied Portfolio Management (g-CAPM)  ‎that will run from November 20 - 26. Please click here to see who’s registered.‎ If you think this programme will benefit your staff or colleagues, please do encourage them to register ASAP as seats in our CAMRI Lab are limited and filling up fast for the November run.  As an FYI, we have hosted close to 100 participants at our g-CAPM programme thus far.

Please find more information in CAMRI’s latest e-Newsletter herewith, with convenient clickable web-links to the associated full articles and commentaries. Happy reading!

Best regards,

Joseph Cherian
Practice Professor of Finance
Director, Centre for Asset Management Research & Investments (CAMRI)
NUS Business School
New Research Director

Johan Sulaeman is an Associate Professor in the Department of Finance at the NUS Business School, and Research Director at the Centre for Asset Management Research & Investments (as of 1 September 2017), where he spearheads research efforts conducted at CAMRI, including the CAMRI Research Digest Series.

Dr Sulaeman obtained his PhD in Finance from University of Texas at Austin (McCombs). He received his Masters of Financial Engineering (MFE) from the

Haas School at the University of California, Berkeley, and his BSE in Computer Engineering from the University of Michigan. His current research interests focus on the effects of geographic factors on various economic outcomes.

He also works on research questions related to the effects of ownership structure on corporate decisions, and the role of various economic agents in disturbing and maintaining market efficiency. His research appears in top economics and business journals, including the American Economic Review, Journal of Financial Economics, Review of Financial Studies, and Management Science. His papers have also been presented at leading conferences, including the American Finance Association and Western Finance Association annual meetings, and the NBER Summer Institute.

  United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

NUS Business School, spearheaded by CAMRI, has joined a consortium of global leading universities partnering the United Nations Development Programme to develop a research agenda that will improve how private investment finances the achievement of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The initiative will bring the private and public sector together through impact investment that yields competitive financial, social and environmental returns.

Led by UNDP SDG Impact Finance (UNSIF), academic institutions from across Asia, Europe and the United States came together to form the UNSIF Research Council, of which CAMRI Director, Prof Joseph Cherian, is a member. The Council is tasked with developing the methodology, and to set down yardsticks to measure the impact of sustainable investing globally. It will also undertake research to improve the analytical frameworks, evidence, and policy environment that encourage and guide commercial capital flows in support of the UN’s SDGs.

The partnership was announced on the sidelines of the 72nd United Nations General Assembly, at an event titled “Big Data, Impact Management & the SDGs”, co-hosted by the UNDP and the UN Global Pulse on 22 September 2017 at the UN headquarters in New York City. A panel discussion that afternoon entitled, “Snapshot of Global Best Practise on Impact Management” featured Prof Cherian as a panellist. In an event press release Prof Cherian stated, “We are happy to join this important research network and contribute towards this initiative, especially on the involvement of large financial and investment houses, such as pension and government funds, in infrastructure investing with an ESG and SDGs focus. Academic studies have shown that long-term capital should care about long-term impacts, which, by the way, encompass risk-adjusted merits. For starters, asset owners incorporating language regarding impact investing, SDGs, ESG, etc., into their RFPs, investment policy statements and manager requirements will help set the course in a positive direction. With large asset owners embracing these mindsets, the entire value chain, including the asset management industry, will be impacted for the public’s benefit.” 

Besides NUS Business School’s CAMRI, the academic institutions who have committed to join this important initiative are Carleton University; China Europe International Business School (CEIBS); Maastricht University; Oxford University's Saïd Business School; University of Cape Town's Graduate School of Business; University of Pennsylvania's The Wharton School; Tsinghua University; and University of Zurich.

A follow-up panel discussion is being scheduled in Singapore on 21 November by the UNSIF to brainstorm and provide solutions for accelerating action on SDGs and Impact Investing, on financing the SDGs, and the development of tools for measuring performance and impact. The attendees and international experts are drawn from businesses, the investment community, governments, UN agencies. and NGOs.
  Pacific Pension & Investment (PPI)

CAMRI’s continued involvement in the US-based Pacific Pension & Investment Institute’s Infrastructure Working Group (IWG) has seen significant progress following the October 2016 inaugural workshop in Hong Kong, which was chaired and moderated by CAMRI’s Prof Cherian. Several follow-up workshops with asset owners and asset managers have taken place since, including one in San Francisco on 18 April, and another on 25 July in Toronto.

The focus of the discussions remain guided by the following issues, where much progress has been made:
  1. Structuring – identifying best practice, suitability and feasibility studies to ensure the delivery of bankable projects with real value, especially for emerging markets with respect to greenfield projects. Standardization in contracts, financing documents, specs, etc., were determined to be essential.
  2. Greater Cooperation – getting asset owners, asset managers, MDBs, Infrastructure Finance Institutions, and other Subject Matter Experts to cooperate more closely to make things happen.
  3. Implementation – the IWG particularly wishes to see more Public-Private-Partnerships (PPP) that are scalable, resource efficient, environmentally sustainable (ESG- and SDGs-friendly), promotes good governance, mitigates corruption, and adopt the AIIB’s “lean, clean, and green” motto.
  4. Political will of sovereigns and long-term patience of the private sector are needed to invest jointly in capital intensive infrastructure projects, along with asset owners (long-term capital).
  5. Financing – Understanding the needs and economics of Infrastructure projects will need specialized knowledge and training, and will need the help of MDBs like the IFC and World Bank, and other institutions and experts involved in infrastructure.
  The 2nd Pensions and ESG Forum

Asset Management, with the support of CAMRI and the CFA Institute, is co-organising and co-hosting the 2nd Pensions and ESG Forum on November 16, 2017 at Mandarin Orchard Singapore. The title of the Forum is “The Dynamics in a Changing World”. Topics for discussion include:

  • Going Green: An Academic’s Perspective on Social and Environmental Investing (Opening Address by Dr
    Johan Sulaeman, Research Director, CAMRI, NUS Business School)
  • ESG’s Growing Global Impact
  • How ESG Impacts Investment Decisions and Returns
  • Global Market Inefficiencies
  • Overview of Global ESG Market: Key Trends to Watch
  • Corporate Strategy for Managers and Investors
Plus four panel discussions:
  • Impact Investing : The Role of Government Funds
  • Harmonization of Stewardship Codes of Conduct in Asia
  • Global Themes Driving Demand for Responsible Investing
  • SRI, ESG and Impact Investing

Speakers to date include:

  • Dr Johan Sulaeman, Research Director, CAMRI, NUS Business School
  • David Smith, Head of Corporate Governance, Aberdeen Asset Management
  • Arthur Kwong, Head of Asia-Pacific Equities, BNP Paribas Asset Management
  • Mary Leung, Head, Advocacy, Asia Pacific, CFA Institute
  • Paul Smith, President, CFA Institute
  • Gareth Davies, Head of Responsible Investment Solutions, Columbia Threadneedle Investments
  • Dr Peng Chen, CEO, Dimensional Fund Advisors (Asia ex Japan) and Chairman, Dimensional SmartNest (Dimensional Retirement)
  • Heman Wong, Former Executive Director, Hospital Authority Provident Fund Scheme Hong Kong
  • Dr Lawrence Loh, Director, CGIO, NUS Business School, National University of Singapore
  • Professor Joseph Cherian, Practice Professor of Finance, Director, Centre for Asset Management Research & Investments (CAMRI), NUS Business School
  • Hannah Skeates, Senior Director, Strategy and ESG Indices, S&P Dow Jones Indices
  • Tianyin Cheng, Director, Strategy and ESG Indices, S&P Dow Jones Indices
  • Marc Bindschädler, Portfolio Advisor, Director, Vontobel Asset Management
  • Dr Söhnke M. Bartram, Professor of Finance, Department of Finance, Warwick Business School, University of Warwick
  • Atsushi Yoshikawa, Distinguished Visiting Fellow, NUS Business School, Chairman of the Board, Nomura Real Estate Holdings, Former President and Group
    COO, Nomura Holdings

The Award Winner of the 2017 AAM-CAMRI-CFA Institute Prize in Asset Management will be announced during the Forum; the winner will also deliver a presentation based on the winning paper.

  CAMRI Visiting Fellow Programme

The Centre for Asset Management Research & Investments (CAMRI) at NUS Business School in Singapore has an ongoing Visiting Fellow Programme across a broad range of financial economics topics. CAMRI is funding one-week visits by select “Tier 1” scholars annually, particularly those from Hong Kong, China, India, and other countries in this region, working in Asian applied financial economics disciplines, to conduct research at CAMRI. The Fellowship will fund economy class airfare, a University-serviced apartment, and ground transportation. Our goal is to bring a few visiting scholars in financial economics to Singapore each year to help build the research community and fraternity in Asia.

A 1-page statement of interest is the only requirement. While researchers are not necessarily required to have an Asian focus in their projects, preference will be given to financial economics research that is relevant to Singapore and Asia.

Statements of interest should be submitted, preferably via email, to:
Ms Chow Pee Fun
Assistant Manager, CAMRI
NUS Business School
15 Kent Ridge Drive
Level 3, Mochtar Riady Building
Singapore 119245

Statements of interest will be evaluated by CAMRI’s Research Committee, which is co-headed by Prof David Reeb, Immediate Past Research Director at CAMRI and the Mr & Mrs Lin Jo Yan Professor in Banking and Finance, and Associate Prof Johan Sulaeman, Research Director at CAMRI, NUS Business School.

  Student Managed Fund (SMF) Update

The current quant-filled environment demands our students to understand quantitative financial models. To do so, we train students to understand and use our in-house quantitative models to complement their valuation methods and portfolio construction. CAMRI’s Multi-Factor Stock-Selection Models (MFM) spans across the US and 6 Asian countries. To get up to speed with the latest trends in quantitative models, we have initiated work on a quality model which encompasses factors on sustainable and responsible investing.

Every semester, students from our Track will pitch stocks to an investment committee comprising of SMF Track lecturers and Industry practitioners. After reviewing and evaluating the stocks, the selected stocks would then be executed and added to the Donor’s Portfolio. From our tracking, the Long-only Asian Live Portfolio comprising of the students’ recommendations has achieved stable returns (51.4% as of 29th September) since inception in October 2015. This resonates with our aims of blending academic insights and industry experience.

Concurrently, we evaluate and enhance the SMF Track course offerings for our BBA (Hons) students. Through this process, we provide students with the necessary tools and skillset to become a top-tier analyst, and to match the changing needs in Asset Management. Each October/November, CAMRI distributes an SMF Track e-Resume Book to our industry partners, not just to elevate our students’ careers but also to provide nurtured talent to the asset management industry as well. The SMF Track e-Resume Book is an exclusive compilation of our nurtured talents who have taken our advanced and rigorous Fund Management Track modules. Please click here to see the projected fund management learning module track leading to NUS Business School BBA (Hons) students being certified to be a part of the Student Managed Fund team.

A list of CAMRI-recommended MBA-level finance classes is also available on our website for MBA candidates who are interested to find a job in the asset management industry.

Please click here to view the testimonials by alumni of the SMF Track.
CAMRI Monthly Research Digest: Global Perspectives by Brian Fabbri

CAMRI Global Perspectives is the monthly digest of market research & views by Dr Brian Fabbri, Visiting Senior Research Fellow at CAMRI & President of FABBRI Global Economics.

Market Outlook Series

The CAMRI Market Outlook Series publishes thought leadership articles periodically, which carries the (medium-term) perspectives, views and/or outlooks of various NUS Business School and CAMRI-associated authors as they relate to markets, the economy, asset classes, etc., with a particular emphasis on - or implications for - Asia.

A Unified Market Approach to the Infrastructure Finance Market
A commentary by Ranjan Chakravarty, Visiting Research Consultant at the Centre for Asset Management Research and Investments (CAMRI) at NUS Business School, Joseph Cherian, Practice Professor of Finance at the NUS Business School and Director of CAMRI, Kiyoshi Nishimura, CEO of the Credit Guarantee & Investment Facility (CGIF), an Asian Bond Markets Initiative funded by the Asian Development Bank and the governments of ASEAN, China, Japan & Korea, and Wong Heang Fine, Group CEO of Surbana Jurong, a Singapore Temasek-owned multi-disciplinary urban, infrastructure and management services specialist consultancy company.

The gap in supply and demand of infrastructure project funding and institutional asset allocation needs to be closed, the market completed, and better risk-adjusted excess returns earned by the parties that perform this task. The current analysis, by writers from an academic institution, an Asian infrastructure consulting firm and a multilateral development bank, underscores that the solution to this conundrum is unique – based clearly on a global approach combining cutting-edge techniques in valuation, structured finance and capital markets – and which an intermediation role can be effectively played by global financial centers of the world. Origination in the infrastructure business lies in asset ownership, asset management and investible capital. The first is the sovereign in whose jurisdiction the asset exists or is being developed. The second is the asset manager who structures the asset’s finances on the sell-side and books it on the buy-side. The third is the source of investible capital, which are mainly the asset owners. The availability of long term savings and capital in local currencies to match the financing needs of long term infrastructure is hence paramount. (October 2017)

  CAMRI's Graduate Certificate in Applied Portfolio Management Programme (g-CAPM)

20 – 26 November 2017, Singapore

This 7-day state-of-the-art applied portfolio management training programme, which is now listed by CFA Institute as an Approved Provider of Continuing Education (CE) programmes and qualifies for 40 CFA Institute CE credit hours, is developed by academic professionals for investment professionals, and conducted at the world's most advanced Investment Management & Trading Lab. By the end of this course participants are expected to be able to research, write, and publish equity & fixed income investment reports, build simple multifactor models for screening and alpha generation purposes, analyse live & backtested portfolio investment strategies to develop their macro, equity research, stock-picking and credit skills, and perform portfolio optimisation and risk management analysis. To find out more programme information, please click here. You can also click here to see who’s registered.

  The 2nd Pensions and ESG Forum: The Dynamics in a Changing World

15 – 16 November 2017, Singapore

Asia Asset Management, with the support of CAMRI and the CFA Institute, is co-organising and co-hosting the 2nd Pensions and ESG Forum on 16 November 2017 at Mandarin Orchard Singapore. The title of the Forum is “The Dynamics in a Changing World”.

The 2017 AAM-CAMRI-CFA Institute Prize in Asset Management will be awarded to Prof Söhnke M. Bartram (Warwick University) at the AAM-CAMRI-CFA Institute Prize dinner on 15 November 2017 at Mandarin Orchard Singapore. Prof Bartram will also present his research paper to an audience of academics and senior practitioners during lunch at the 2nd Pensions and ESG Forum on 16 November 2017.

  e-Survey on CAMRI's Potential Executive Masters in Investments & Risk Management for the Future Economy (EMIR-FE) Programme

CAMRI has been conducting our executive education training programme, the Graduate Certificate in Applied Portfolio Management (g-CAPM), since February 2014. To date close to 100 participants have completed this programme. In a poll of our alumni, almost 60% of respondents expressed interest in a longer and more comprehensive programme.

Alongside this, CAMRI is spearheading the inception of an EXECUTIVE MASTERS IN INVESTMENTS & RISK MANAGEMENT for the FUTURE ECONOMY (EMIR-FE) at NUS Business School. As we develop this programme, we would like to ascertain the level of interest and expectations for such a programme amongst the regional financial industry. We would greatly appreciate your kind participation in a short e-Survey on CAMRI's potential Executive Masters in Investments & Risk Management for the Future Economy (EMIR-FE) Programme at NUS Business School.

  Here are some of the highlights from CAMRI’s various activities including courses, conferences and forums.  
2017 Asia Asset Management-CAMRI Prize in Asset Management Winner

In celebration of excellence in regional applied research, Asia Asset Management (AAM) aligned with NUS Business School's Centre for Asset Management Research and Investments, launched the Annual AAM-CAMRI Prize in Asset Management in 2015.

This year, CFA Institute joined us as a partner in this Annual Prize. We are now pleased to announce the Winning Paper of the 2017 AAM-CAMRI-CFA Institute Prize in Asset Management, selected from close to 60 excellent applications from around the world, entitled: Global Market Inefficiencies. The paper is co-authored by Prof Söhnke M. Bartram (Warwick University) and Prof Mark Grinblatt (University of California, Los Angeles). The 2017 Prize will be awarded to Prof Bartram at the AAM-CAMRI-CFA Institute Prize dinner on 15 November 2017 at Mandarin Orchard Singapore. Prof Bartram will also present his research paper at the 2nd Pensions and ESG Forum on 16 November 2017.
9th Wee Cho Yaw Singapore-China Finance and Banking Forum, Shanghai Fintech and Future Finance – from Disruptive to Collaborative

6 September 2017

The 9th Wee Cho Yaw Singapore-China Finance and Banking Forum in Shanghai was held on 6 September 2017, hosted by NUS Business School and United Overseas Bank.

This year’s theme was “Fintech and Future Finance – From Disruptive to Collaborative”. Mr Wee Ee Cheong, Deputy Chairman & CEO of UOB said, “Fintech and financial innovation can play a role in promoting inclusive growth, through improved access to financial services and in opening up market opportunities through increased digital connectivity”. In his speech, Mr Sopnendu Mohanty, Chief FinTech Officer of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, pointed out that the progress and development of financial technology has made service innovation, service architecture, risk management, user experience and business processes more feasible in the financial industry. Prof Bernard Yeung, Dean of NUS Business School, also mentioned that technology is the driving force of the fourth industrial revolution, where it is changing people’s lives and working methods, business models, banks, and the finance industry. More than 300 representatives of the financial industry, experts, academics and people from all walks of life attended the Forum. To read more about the Forum, please click here. You can also view the event’s photos by clicking here.
  ABFER-GIC Industry Panel & Roundtable: "The Inactivity in Active: A Worrisome Sign of the Times?"

25 May 2017

CAMRI hosted the ABFER-GIC Industry Panel & Roundtable: "The Inactivity in Active: A Worrisome Sign of the Times?" on 25 May at the Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore.

Our distinguished panellists included: Ms Arisa Kishigami, Head of ESG - Asia Pacific, FTSE Russell; Prof Charles Lee, Moghadam Family Professor of Management and Professor of Accounting at the Graduate School of Business (GSB), Stanford University & Co-Founder, Nipun Capital; Mr Percy Wong, Head of Systematic Investment Group, GIC Singapore; and Mr Hugh Young, Managing Director, Aberdeen Asset Management Asia.

The panel was moderated by CAMRI Director Prof Joseph Cherian, who is also Practice Professor of Finance at NUS Business School. The panellists discussed the issues and challenges on the need for cost management in investing, providing appropriate solutions for retirement finance and the general underperformance of active managers, which has led to the bulk of “smart capital” flowing to passive strategies, Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) investing in Asia, “Fintech” disruptions to the investment industry’s business model, and the manner in which institutions, investors and academics should respond. The event was well received with an attendance of 120 senior executives, academics and students from industry and institutions.

NUS Business School, led by CAMRI, partners with United Nations Development Programme to set development yardstick for impact investing

NUS Business School, led by CAMRI, has joined eight other leading business schools and universities in partnering the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to develop a research agenda that will improve how private investment finances the achievement of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
26 Sep 2017, NUS Press Release

2017 Asia Asset Management-CAMRI Prize in Asset Management Winner
The article lists Mr & Mrs Lin Jo Yan Professor in Banking and Finance David Reeb and Prof Joseph Cherian (Director, CAMRI) as members of the judging panel. Associate Prof Johan Sulaeman (Dept of Finance) was also acknowledged for his efforts with the judging panel.
25 September 2017, Asia Asset Management

World Bank arm issues its first New Zealand green bond
Prof Joseph Cherian (Director, CAMRI) says International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector investment arm of the World Bank, is an innovator in creating financing structures for emerging markets.
28 Jul 2017, Asia Asset Management

Embracing the winds of change
Commenting on the factors behind a good pension fund structure, Practice Prof Joseph Cherian (Director, CAMRI) says the programme needs to provide the pay out to help the average retiree maintain their standard of living.
7 Jun 2017, Asia Asset Management

Effects of today's political tensions will only be felt beyond 2017
28 Mar 2017, The Business Times

'China waiting in wings' as US disengages
Coverage of the Tolani-NUS Business School Public Lecture organised by CAMRI. The event focuses on China's role in a dynamic global economic landscape.
28 Mar 2017, The Straits Times

Op-eds & Commentaries

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it: just improve it
In a commentary, Prof Joseph Cherian (Director, CAMRI) suggests ways to improve social security savings systems including prioritising on savings and medical expenses, allowing for withdrawals for severe emergencies, and ensuring pay-outs meet retirees' basic lifelong expenses.
11 Sep 2017, Asia Asset Management

Please read the more detailed CAMRI-related news articles here.


Turn Potential into Reality by investing in the future of Asia’s financial industry and help CAMRI elevate the performance of students, professionals and organisations in the region’s asset management industry. We have a number of giving opportunities at CAMRI with naming privileges:

  • Investment Management & Trading Lab
  • Visiting Scholars and Leaders
  • Financial Databases
  • Professorships
  • Student-Managed Portfolio

Please click here to view The Impact of Your Giving: Turning Potential into Reality

Moreover, asset managers, asset owners and others in the financial industry can now also be part of CAMRI’s Academic-Industry Partnership Programme, the Monthly Multi-factor Model Commentary Initiative that was followed by the good performance of our models over the last 7 years.

Our purpose is to share the performance and trends exhibited by our aggregated fundamental & macroeconomic indicators. And, to financially support CAMRI and the SMF Track in (1) the hands-on training & preparation of our students for the industry, (2) the development of additional country stock selection (and quality) models, as well as (3) the various applied research endeavours at CAMRI.

Please feel free to contact us directly if you are interested in this opportunity to leave a permanent legacy at one of NUS’s finest financial centres that successfully brings the academy (theory) and industry (practice) together. Let’s work together to bring CAMRI to greater heights!

Let’s turn potential into reality!

Centre for Asset Management Research & Investments (CAMRI)

Telephone : +65 6601 1047