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

Greetings! The past six months has been an eventful period for CAMRI – a lot of good things have happened since we last wrote to you in May 2012. We hosted five forums, which saw close to 900 participants (in aggregate) in attendance, published five new Thought Leadership articles, conducted two student consulting research practicum projects and launched Asia’s first university-sanctioned live Student Managed Fund. The last few months also saw the exciting addition of 34 Bloomberg workstations in our CAMRI Lab and offices, 2 new research assistants and a visiting research fellow at CAMRI.

None of our achievements to date would have been possible without the hard work, commitment and dedicated support of our staff, colleagues, friends and generous donors.

We hope you will take a few minutes to review and enjoy CAMRI’s latest e-Newsletter, which not only have summaries of our activities provided below, but also convenient clickable web-links to the associated full articles and commentaries.

Enjoy reading!

Thought Leadership

Five new thought-provoking and timely pieces carrying the perspectives, views and
outlooks of various NUS Business School and CAMRI-associated authors as they relate
to markets, the economy, asset classes and calculus.

Income Inequality and The Limits to Capitalism:
The Haves and Have-Nots

by Brian Fabbri (October 2012)

The author discusses the advent of rising income inequality in free market economies and provides some suggestions on preventing the rise of populist, extremist parties or social unrest in countries facing growing income gaps.

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Single Dimensional Thinking in A Prismatic World:
A Multidimensional Word of Advice from An Investor in This Volatile Investing World

by Michael Yoshikami (August 2012)

In spite of the issues related to black-and-white strategy thinking, investors generally fail to recognize the importance of investment portfolio decisions. The author outlines a systematic process for analyzing the multiple variables considered in the process of making investment decisions.

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Arithmetic Deniers and Global Financial Stress

by Randall Morck and Bernard Yeung (July 2012)

This article stresses how arithmetically-challenged political leaders can add further stress to the global financial system, the European quagmire, American populism and Chinese harmony. The authors suggest ridicule as a means of extracting the political will necessary to relieve some of the stress being experienced by the global monetary system.

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The Euro Crisis and Austerity:
The Road to a Lost Decade

by Brian Fabbri (July 2012)

As the European Union faces its current economic crisis, it would do well to draw lessons from the US and Japanese economic depressions, or face future social unrest as well as rejection of the free market paradigm.

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Is There Room for Commodities in Today’s Investment Portfolio?

by Chew Loy Cheow (June 2012)

Technological advancements and improved access to credit provide the necessary groundwork for further development of the commodities market, and for commodities to grow beyond its traditional role as a perceived hedge against inflation.

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Learn & Upgrade

Software Upgrade @ CAMRI


The Centre for Asset Management Research and Investments (CAMRI) at NUS Business School has equipped its state-of-the-art Investment Management and Trading Laboratory with Bloomberg Stations on all desktops by forming a strategic partnership with Bloomberg so as to enhance the experiential learning dimension of our students.

The terminals will provide Bloomberg Professional Service, a leading source of financial market data, news and analytical tools, giving faculty members and students easy access to hands-on asset management training and activities.

The academic rigour, practical training and fiduciary foundation provided at CAMRI, coupled with the depth and breadth of Bloomberg’s financial data and analytical services, will holistically prepare our students to enter the asset management arena in Singapore and anywhere else in the world.

CAMRI has also started to administer the Bloomberg Assessment Test (BAT) in the CAMRI Lab for NUS Business School students. The BAT is a global, standardized online test that has been developed by Bloomberg Professional Service in partnership with premier financial institutions and university facilities around the world. The sections tested are financial knowledge and aptitude and career skills. We already have had two BAT sessions in October 2012 with a total of 34 test takers. Feedback received after the exam include the fact that subjects covered were comprehensive, and a good assessment of one's personal knowledge of financial markets.

Esteemed Guest Lecturer Series: Ms Veronica Eng, CAMRI Board Member

Esteemed Guest Lecturer Series: BMA5313D Special Topics in Private Equity

In January 2013, the NUS Business School is proud to invite esteemed guest lecturer, Ms Veronica Eng, to deliver a course in Private Equity for our MBA-level students. Ms Eng has over 25 years of experience in private equity at Permira Advisers LLP, which is headquartered in London. She is a founding partner of Permira Advisers, which is one of the largest and most experienced European-based private equity firms with a global reach, operating from 12 offices across Europe, US and Asia. Since its beginning in 1985, the firm has managed over US$25 billion in committed capital. Besides learning from Ms Eng’s wealth of experience in the Private Equity arena, NUS Business School’s MBA-level students will also get a chance to learn directly from distinguished visiting CEOs and senior private equity executives from Europe and Asia, including Singapore, which some are billing as being taught by a Private Equity ‘dream team’.

Ms Eng serves on the Board of Permira Advisers, chairs the Permira funds’ Investment Committee and has oversight of the firm’s operation in Asia. Ms Eng has worked in wide ranging roles on many Permira transactions across sectors and countries including acquisitions, exits, restructuring as well as financings.

Prior to joining Permira, Ms Eng was Head of Corporate Finance at Schroders in Singapore. She is an active member of the Board of Directors of the Centre for Asset Management Research & Investments (CAMRI) at NUS Business School.

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Past Events

Here are some of the highlights from CAMRI’s various activities including conferences,
speaker series, luncheons and roundtables:

CEO of Morgan Stanley Investment Management (ex US) Faculty Seminar, 2 October 2012

Organized jointly with the Centre for Governance, Institutions & Organisations (CGIO), NUS Business School

Mr Navtej S. Nandra, CEO of Morgan Stanley Investment Management Ltd. (ex US), delivered a talk titled “The Future of the Global Financial Markets: A View from the Top”. The focus of his talk was to highlight key global themes and engage faculty in a two-way conversation on market issues, trends, outlook, etc., especially as they pertain to the asset management industry. A crowd of about 65 faculty and doctoral students attended Mr Nandra’s seminar, and then engaged in an entertaining post-lecture dialogue with him.

Leadership Dialogue Series: Revolutionising the Financial World, 7 September 2012

Financial Technologies’ Mr Shah (right) and CAMRI’s Prof
Cherian(2nd from right) interacting with the audience
during the dialogue session.

Up-to-date technologies and innovations are key elements that fuel the growth of financial markets globally, especially with complex fast trading systems involving large amount of currencies, derivatives and commodities currently. Mr Jignesh Shah, Chairman and Group CEO of Financial Technologies Group, pointed this trend out during the NUS Business School's Leadership Dialogue Series public lecture on 7 September.

During his talk titled, "Revolutionizing the Financial World", Mr Shah shared his views on how technology revolutionises and empowers the financial community. The canny entrepreneur uses a combination of enterprise, innovations and cost-effective technologies to affect revolutionary changes in the financial markets in India and other parts of the world. India's youngest self-made billionaire (by the age of 40) is passionate about corporate social responsibility, and has launched initiatives to empower underprivileged communities through the use of technology and information.

Close to 150 people attended this dialogue session organised by CAMRI. They included CAMRI Board and Advisory Council members, faculty members and students of NUS Business School, as well as industry practitioners and NUS alumni.

After his speech, Mr Shah had a meaningful dialogue with the audience. Topics ranged from the direct and indirect benefits of technologically-driven financial markets, to questions on Asia's comparative advantage on commodities trading, and Singapore’s potential as a global exchange trading hub.

The Dean of the NUS Business School, Professor Bernard Yeung, concluded the event by highlighting that Mr Shah's “doing well” has showcased great entrepreneurial spirit, convictions and business acumen, in addition to "doing good" by emphasising the role of capital markets in encouraging socially-responsible activities and enterprises. All this serves as an inspiring role model for our NUS students, especially those planning to enter the entrepreneurial and financial arenas.

NUS Business School links with CAIA Association for alternative investments courses, 13 August 2012

The Centre for Asset Management Research and Investments (CAMRI) will be partnering United States-based Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) Association to give students greater exposure to alternative investments.

"Asian investors, particularly institutions, are increasingly making allocations to alternative investments. This implies an increasing body of knowledge, research and education should be devoted to the various asset classes within alternative investments. The CAMRI-CAIA partnership will pave the way for collaboration in such endeavours through joint lectures, scholarships, and roundtables. The CAIA Charter, ultimately, will cement our students’ expertise, credentials and certification in this burgeoning asset class", said Professor Joseph Cherian, Director of CAMRI.

Added Florence Lombard, CEO of the CAIA Association, "The CAIA Association shares NUS Business School’s commitment to the highest standards in education. Through this partnership, NUS Business School students will be able to gain in-depth knowledge of alternative investments, giving them a competitive advantage in this growing sector upon graduating."

The collaboration will also give NUS Business School access to the CAIA Association’s network of partnerships with other educational and professional development organisations, allowing the school to keep up to date with the latest developments in alternative investments.

Sixth Singapore International Conference on Finance, 17 - 18 July 2012

Organized jointly with Department of Finance, NUS Business School

This is an international conference that brings together high quality research papers on Financial Crisis, Corporate Finance, Asset Pricing, Volatility, Behavioural Finance and Mutual Funds. The conference presents an excellent opportunity for practitioners and researchers in financial institutions and universities to discuss and exchange ideas on the latest developments in the field of finance. The program was very competitive, with only 9 papers accepted from 170 submitted papers. About 100 participants attended the Conference.

Tolani-NUS Business School-LKY School Public Lecture:
"The Future of the International Monetary System", 13 June 2012

Organized jointly with Tolani Shipping (Singapore) and LKY School, NUS

The US dollar is likely to remain as the world's main reserve currency despite problems in the country, as there are not many other choices for investors.

This was the view of Eswar Prasad, the Tolani Senior Professor of Trade Policy at Cornell University, who spoke at the Tolani-NUS Business School-Lee Kuan Yew School Public Lecture on 13 June organized by CAMRI.

He explained that while emerging markets are increasingly contributing to global economic growth, their financial markets still have some distance to go in gaining sufficient depth, breadth and liquidity. Emerging market currencies are thus not ready to take over the USD.

"In international finance, it's all relative. The US looks pretty bad, but people still have faith, perhaps a kind of childlike faith, that the US is going to honour its international obligations, which seems an increasingly dubious proposition by the day," said Professor Prasad. This was CAMRI’s best-attended Public Lecture, with over 400 people registered, and almost as many in attendance in the Shangri-La Hotel’s main ballroom.

4th Wee Cho Yaw Singapore-China Finance and Banking Forum, 12 June 2012

Organized jointly with Strategic Relations, NUS Business School

The international panel comprising of (from left): Prof Anthony
Neoh (HK), Dr Cao Yuanzheng (Beijing), Prof Eswar
Prasad (NY), Mr Ong Chong Tee (Singapore)

Singapore will be able to play a key role in the internationalisation of the Renminbi, according to Mr Ong Chong Tee, deputy managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore and an NUS alumnus.

Speaking at the 4th Wee Cho Yaw Singapore-China Finance and Banking Forum organised by CAMRI, Mr Ong revealed that there is good investment demand for RMB-denominated products from the private banking industries in Singapore, and that the pool of RMB deposits in the city-state has grown to about S$12 billion.

Mr Ong was one of four panellists, who also included Dr Cao Yuanzheng, Chief Economist at the Bank of China, Eswar Prasad, the Tolani Senior Professor at Cornell University, and Anthony Neoh, the Dean's Visiting Professor at NUS Business School, the former Chief Advisor to the China Securities Regulatory Commission ("CSRC") and the former Chairman of the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC). The Forum was widely covered by the international media.

The speakers agreed that the obstacle to the internationalisation of the RMB is the lack of a deep and liquid financial market, and the lack of transparency in issuers of RMB assets. They added that reforms in China's financial market have to therefore take place before the RMB can become a global reserve currency. About 200 people attended the 4th Wee Cho Yaw Forum.

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Research Projects

Student Consulting Practicum (CP) Projects

  1. Semester 1, 2012/13 – Statutory Board
    In asset allocation, one of the key decision points for the portfolio manager is in identifying which sectors of the economy are expected to outperform / underperform given current market indicators. This Consulting Practicum seeks to investigate the role of key macroeconomic indicators and valuation ratios as well as current risk indicators in predicting economic turning points.

  2. Semester 1, 2012/13 – Morgan Stanley
    A research project that comprehensively assessed the investment opportunities, barriers to entry/exit, regulations, governance structures and legal frameworks in Myanmar (post  suspension of sanctions) from two perspectives - for corporate entities investing in various segments of the economy including the services industry, and the ability of global investment banks to offer cross border investment advice on Myanmar to its clients.

Student Managed Fund

A live Student Managed Fund (SMF) at CAMRI for NUS Business School students was launched in Academic Year 2012/13. This CAMRI-led effort creates a platform that exposes and trains NUS Business School students in fiduciary fund management, which includes hands-on experience in the execution, management & monitoring of a real portfolio using state-of-the-art investment research, tools and facilities at the CAMRI Lab. Students involve in all aspects of investment management, ranging from investment research, investment thesis generation and stock pitching, trade execution, portfolio & risk management & monitoring, dealing with counterparties, to day-to-day operational duties. Through such exposure and training, we wish to develop well-trained & high-performing asset managers who have a strong sense of integrity & fiduciary responsibility, and who are well-equipped to become highly-skilled stewards of both institutions’ & individuals’ financial assets. Through the SMF, we also wish to give our students a competitive career edge in the asset management industry. Finally, we hope to further raise the global and international profile of NUS Business School by being the first business school in Asia to provide a university-approved opportunity to its students to manage money in the most well-equipped and professional environment (CAMRI Lab). Please click here to see the projected fund management learning module track leading to NUS Business School students being certified to being a part of the Student Managed Fund team.

The SMF would not have come into existence if not for the excellent support and generosity, in both time and talent, of our external counsel, Baker & McKenzie.Wong & Leow, our prime broker, UBS Prime Services, the NUS Board of Trustees EXCO, and the NUS Office of Financial Services. Additionally, none of this “experiential, hands-on” learning would have been possible if not for a CAMRI Board member's generous donation that seeded the SMF.

In preparation of the launch of the live SMF, CAMRI has been managing and monitoring a long/short equity market neutral paper portfolio on Bloomberg. The portfolio is based on the CAMRI-developed multi-factor model with monthly rebalancing. The paper portfolio, constructed using the Barra Aegis System Portfolio Manager application, doesn’t include any financing and transaction costs, as well as management fees. Still, the performance since inception on 30 April 2012 has been reasonably good: 7.6% from 30 April 2012 – 06 November 2012. Please click here to view the Student Managed Fund Investment Process and Performance Report.

Around eighty BBA Honors and MBA-level Applied Portfolio Management students (taught out of the CAMRI
Lab) pitching long and short investment ideas based on their fundamental equity research at the company level
for the live Student Managed Fund to 19 investment professionals all day on Saturday September 29

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4th NUS Asian MBA Stock Pitch Competition

6 - 8 March 2013

The annual NUS Asian MBA Stock Pitch Competition (SPC) in Singapore provides a forum for top MBA students in Asia to compete and showcase their equity research and stock-picking skills in front of a panel of distinguished judges from the investment industry. The event challenges teams of finance students from up to twelve elite universities in the Asia Pacific region to prepare and present buy/hold/sell recommendations and vigorously defend those recommendations. The intense competition is designed to replicate the fast-paced, demanding experience of fundamental analysts and asset managers in the real world. The SPC is held in partnership with The Parker Center for Investment Research at The Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University. Applications for SPC 2013 are now open up until Monday, 14th January 2013.

GIC Essay Prize


The Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC) challenged undergraduates to tackle the topic “What is the future impact on global investments from the expected growth in Asia?” and compete in the GIC Essay Prize 2011/2012. Administered by CAMRI, this annual challenge, introduced in August 2010, aims to increase students’ interest in institutional asset management. There were about 30 outstanding submissions. Mr Ai Changxun from Singapore Management University clinched the top prize, while Ms Tay Yan Ling from Waseda University in Tokyo emerged second in the essay competition. The top and second prize winners were awarded S$5,000 and S$2,000, respectively.

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Dr Brian Fabbri has just been named a Visiting Research Fellow at the Centre for Asset Management Research & Investments (CAMRI) at NUS Business School.

Dr Fabbri is Managing Director of FABBRI Global Economics and formerly the Chief US Economist for North America at BNP Paribas based in New York. He also worked as Chief International Economist for Midland Bank Plc, as senior vice president, chief economist and director of institutional research at Thomson McKinnon, as vice president & senior economist at Salomon Brothers, and as head of the capital markets unit at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. He appears regularly on CNBC and other business networks and radio shows, and is a member of the National Association of Business Economists, the New York Association of Business Economists, the Downtown Economists Club and the Money Marketers. Dr Fabbri earned a Ph.D. at New York University.


Maggie Hu Rong was recently appointed as a Research Analyst at CAMRI.

She is working on several research projects under Professors Joseph Cherian and Sumit Agarwal (Research Director, CAMRI). For example, she is currently working on a liquidity research project, funded by Investment Management Association of Singapore (IMAS), to validate the notion that liquidity, as measured by intraday financial data, affects financial market performance and as a consequence has implications for both portfolio construction and portfolio risk management. Maggie is a PhD candidate in the Department of Finance at NUS Business School. Her main research interests include financial intermediation, corporate finance and real estate finance. She obtained her Bachelor’s Degree with Honours in Industrial and Systems Engineering at National University of Singapore in 2008.


Christine Kon was also recently appointed as a Research Analyst at CAMRI.

She assists with the Student Managed Fund’s (SMF) portfolio & risk management activities, and helps in other CAMRI-related research activities such as student consulting and management practicum research projects, SMF multifactor model simulations, and conference preparation and coordination. Previously a consultant in Deloitte Consulting, her experience in the Strategy and Operations practice covered strategic planning, market research, financial and operational due diligence, program management as well as shared services implementation. She had been involved in various projects across education, green technology, health care, public sector, energy and resources. Christine holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Management with minors in Mathematics and Music from Beloit College, WI, USA.

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