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cIn addition to RiskLab’s own event series, RiskLab is co-presenting the Sci+Tech in the City series of short talks every Thursday evening.

Seminar Title: Factor Investing in Fixed Income and Dynamic Stress Testing for Portfolio Insight

5 – 7pm, 29 November 2018 – RiskLab Event: Seminar and drinks/finger food

Factor investing has a long history in the equity world. In this presentation, Ian Lumb will introduce Axioma’s fixed income factor framework and discuss its application to factor-based investing for bond portfolios. The second part of this presentation will describe the different types of stress tests available to managers and discuss best practices for modeling relevant forward looking and insightful scenarios for portfolios.

Discussion leader: Ian Lumb – Global Head of Multi-Asset Solutions, Axioma

Ian is responsible for driving the product strategy for Axioma’s market-leading cloud-based multi-asset portfolio risk and performance tool and leads the Specialist team encompassing pre-sales, implementation and client services. Lumb has particular experience with the Insurance and Pension markets, and in institutional risk management, performance attribution, portfolio construction and liability-driven investments. Ian Lumb was previously Global Head of UBS Delta, the portfolio analysis and risk management system.


  • 5.00-5.30pm pre-drinks
  • 5.30-6.30pm seminar and discussion
  • 6.30-7.00pm networking

Time 5:00pm (Pre-drinks and Food), 5:30pm (Seminar will start)   Location: Data 61’s Demonstration Lab at 710 Collins Street, a short walk from Southern Cross Station

Cost: Free

Seminar Title: Why Active Managers Should Not Try to Maximize Information Ratio

5 – 7pm, 29 October 2018 – RiskLab Event: Seminar and drinks/finger food

Discussion topic: Why Active Managers Should Not Try to Maximize Information Ratio

Discussion leader: Dan Dibartolomeo (President of Northfield Information Services)

Dan will begin by discussing why conventional modelling techniques of active risk are not sensible. He will then present a new modelling method from Northfield that has the interesting side effect that maximizing the information ratio is a flawed objective for active managers. The first half of this event is likely to be more “presentation” than “discussion”, but those of you who know Dan know the quality of his material, as well as his appetite for robust discussion.


  • 5.00-5.30pm pre-drinks
  • 5.30-6.30pm seminar and discussion
  • 6.30-7.00pm networking

Time 5:00pm (Pre-drinks and Food), 5:30pm (Seminar will start)   Location: Data 61’s Demonstration Lab at 710 Collins Street, a short walk from Southern Cross Station

Cost: Free

Seminar Title: The social science of superannuation: understanding messy human problems

22 August 2018 – RiskLab Event: Seminar and drinks/finger food


Our personal finances underpin virtually everything we do in life, yet it is notoriously difficult to get people to invest sufficient time and effort into financial planning. Why is this so, and what can we do about it?

For decades, researchers and policy makers treated this as a problem of ‘financial literacy.’ However, even people who are highly financially literate struggle with personal financial management. Not only are many financial products complex; financial behaviour is also shaped by biases, values, cultural practices, and other “messy” aspects of being human.

New ways of understanding financial behaviour are emerging from anthropology, sociology, finance, behavioral economics, psychology, and neuromarketing. These are achieving considerable success in ‘nudging’ consumers towards engagement, and in helping designers create more human-friendly products and services.

However, changing communications and products is not enough: we also need to ensure that the design of superannuation markets matches the reality of messy human behaviour. This seminar explores this problem by drawing upon cutting-edge research and examples from Australia and the Netherlands.


Dr. Erin B. Taylor is an economic anthropologist whose works crosses academic and commercial environments. She researches and writes about financial behaviour, technology use, and cultural difference. Erin is the author of “Materializing Poverty: How the Poor Transform Their Lives” (2013, AltaMira), and is currently concocting a new book about fintech and human messiness.

Time 5:00pm (Pre-drinks and Food), 5:30pm (Seminar will start)   Location: Data 61’s Demonstration Lab at 710 Collins Street, a short walk from Southern Cross Station

Cost: Free

Please RSVP by 21 August via our Eventbrite site.


Seminar Title: A Structural Model of Cyber Risk Aggregate Loss Distribution of Medium Size Enterprises

19 July 2018 – RiskLab Event: Seminar and drinks/finger food


In a corporate and/or government domain, a cyber risk can be seen as a risk of a financial loss due to a breach of an institution’s IT infrastructure by unauthorized parties and the ex- ploitation, taking possession of, or disclosure of data assets, thus creating financial and/or reputational damage.

During this seminar we propose a structural model of aggregate loss distribution for the cyber risk of medium-size enterprise. To our knowledge, no theoretical model of aggregate loss distri- bution for cyber risk exists in this setting. To achieve this, we contextualize the problem in the probabilistic graph-theoretical framework, assuming the IT network topology to be represented by an appropriate (random) graph of finite (or infinite) size. We allow for heteroge- neous node vulnerability and loss topology, and discuss the characteristic examples. Contagion is modelled using the framework of percolation theory.


Petar Jevtic is an Assistant Professor at Arizona State University, School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences, USA. Previously, he held the position of Assistant Professor at McMaster University, Department of Mathematics and Statistics in Canada, where he also completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship. His main research focus is in Actuarial Science and Mathematical Finance.

Time 5:00pm (Pre-drinks and Food), 5:30pm (Seminar will start)   Location: Data 61’s Demonstration Lab at 710 Collins Street, a short walk from Southern Cross Station

Cost: Free

Please RSVP by 17 July via our Eventbrite site.

Seminar Title: Panel discussion, Forecasting models, the uncertainties and associated risks

28 May 2018 – RiskLab Event: Seminar and drinks/finger food

During this special RiskLab event, we will feature three guest speakers Henry Wong (Cbus), George Nassios (Escala Partners), Rob Hyndman (Monash University) who will present their thoughts and insights on forecasting models, the uncertainties and associated risks. Each presentation will be of a 10 minute duration with a interactive panel discussion to follow.

The panel discussion will build on the presentation session and allow a forum for attendees to get together to discuss the type of forecasting methods commonly used when dealing with uncertainties in the future and also the limitations and risks associated with using them. The discussions in the forum will provide very valuable pointers on possible improvements on how to use forecasting of future market move to guide the allocation of asset classes and individual securities.

Time 5:00pm (Pre-drinks and Food), 5:30pm (Seminar will start)   Location: Data 61’s Demonstration Lab at 710 Collins Street, a short walk from Southern Cross Station

Cost: Free

Please RSVP by 25 May via our Eventbrite site.

Thankyou to all that attended and especially to the guest speakers on the night. It was a great session with plenty of discussion. The RiskLab team.


Guest Speakers and Panel Members:

Dr Henry Wong is the Head of Quantitative Solutions at Cbus Super Fund.  He and his team are responsible for developing the internal quantitative research platform and for developing quantitative investment solutions across asset classes.  Previously, he spent more than 8 years at VFMC, most recently as portfolio manager in quantitative equities.  He also worked at Challenger Funds Management, National Australia Bank and the University of Melbourne in a range of quantitative roles.  He holds a PhD in Mathematics and a MSc(Hons) in Finance from the University of Melbourne and a BSc(Hons) in Mathematics from the University of Auckland.

Rob J Hyndman is a Professor of Statistics in the Department of Econometrics and Business Statistics. His academic qualifications include a Bachelor of Science (Honours) and a PhD from the University of Melbourne. He is an accredited statistician with the Statistical Society of Australia. Rob has researched and consulted with a wide range of business, industry and government clients. His most recent work includes demand forecasting for the electricity industry, estimating life expectancy for the Australian indigenous population, and forecasting the national health budget.

George Nassios is a seasoned investment specialist with over 25 years of professional experience.  Having worked in senior roles with local and global banking groups, stockbroking institutions and family offices, Dr. Nassios has amassed significant understanding of key asset classes, particularly with Australian equities, fixed income, credit markets, FX and structured products. A qualified Actuary, Dr Nassios has led significant teams and held senior roles with strong capability development responsibilities.  These have included Chief Investment Officer, Head of Debt/Equity Capital Markets, Portfolio Manager and Global Head of Policy, Analysis and Quantitative Market Risk.  Many of these roles required a global mandate, due to the international nature of the respective organisations.

Seminar Title: Risk Communication & Online Risk

11 April 2018 – RiskLab Event: Seminar and drinks/finger food


Risk communication allows individuals to easily see the consequences of their action. The ideal design goal of transparency, of making visible user-action-system-consequence, may be overwhelming or impossible. Conversely, security as a default without human interaction is opaque and disabling. Risk communication is neither transparent nor opaque; but rather implies of security technologies that are easy to use, communicate risk choices only to the degree necessary to avoid inadvertent risk, and can be rejected in a straight-forward manner if the individual chooses to take a risk, or if the system is in error.

My work in this space leverages risk communication and data analytics to provide risk communication to empower people to make informed choices online.  I describe the canonical nine dimensional model of risk perception, introduce mental models for security, and provide actionable guidance for use of risk communication in design.  I include examples of failures, progress, and easy to use heuristics.

Speaker: L. Camp is a professor at the school of Informatics and Computing at Indiana University

Professor L. Jean Camp joined Indiana University after eight years at Harvard’s Kennedy School
where her courses were also listed in Harvard Law, Harvard Business, and the Engineering Systems Division of MIT. Her research focuses on the intersection of human and technical trust, leveraging economic models and human-centered design to create safe, secure systems.

Previously Jean  spent the year after earning her doctorate from Carnegie Mellon as a Senior Member of the Technical Staff at Sandia National Laboratories and began her career as an engineer at Catawba Nuclear Station with a MSEE at University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Professor L. Jean Camp is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers and American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Time 5:00pm (Pre-drinks and Food), 5:30pm (Seminar will start)   Location: Data 61’s Demonstration Lab at 710 Collins Street, a short walk from Southern Cross Station

Cost: Free

Please RSVP by 10 April via our Eventbrite site.


Seminar Title: Issues in Market Liquidity

22 February 2018 – RiskLab Event: Seminar and drinks/finger food

Abstract: Market Liquidity is integral to the smooth functioning of any financial market. This  talk outlines how a risk manager assesses liquidity risk, from a number of different contexts, and how the financial industry is responding to the dangers of potential future liquidity disruptions.

Speaker: Stephen McCarthy is a consultant for the Market Risk division of the National Australia Bank.

Stephens focus is primarily on model risk in a wholesale pricing and quantitative credit/market estimation.

Time 5:00pm (Pre-drinks and Food), 5:30pm (Seminar will start)   Location: Data 61’s Demonstration Lab at 710 Collins Street, a short walk from Southern Cross Station

Cost: Free

Please RSVP by 20 February via our Eventbrite site.


Seminar Title: Market Insights form the Risk Side of the Coin

12 October 2017 – RiskLab Event: Seminar and drinks/finger food

Abstract: In this talk, Olivier d’Assier, Managing Director of Applied Research for APAC at Axioma, will discuss the major drivers of the change in risk of global equity market with a particular focus on Australia. Looking at market events through the lens of a fundamental multi-factor risk model to attribute its returns to sources of systematic premia, he will provide a comprehensive picture of how the risk environment impacts investor portfolios. Key topics covered include market volatility, correlation, and factor returns. In the second part of the talk, Olivier will focus on Sector and Style (a.k.a. smart beta) strategies and how each can be analyzed for suitability and timing.

Speaker: Olivier d’Assier, Managing Director of Applied Research for APAC at Axioma

Olivier d’Assier is Head of Applied Research, APAC for Axioma, responsible for generating unique regional insights into risk trends by leveraging and analyzing Axioma’s vast data on market and portfolio risk. His research helps clients and prospects to better understand and adapt to the evolving risk environment in Asia Pacific. The author of periodic special reports, d’Assier produces regional and global research on market and portfolio risk.

Previously Managing Director of APAC, Olivier was responsible for the performance, strategy, and commercial success of Axioma’s operations in Asia Pacific. Upon joining in 2006, d’Assier brought Axioma’s key innovations to the Asia Pacific marketplace via the development of Asian-centric products.

In addition to his experience managing quantitative solutions, d’Assier spent nine years in investment banking as a sales trader in Europe and Asia for Nikko Securities and SMI Securities. He is a sought-out public speaker and regular guest on business and financial news programs with CNBC and Bloomberg TV, providing expert commentary on investment performance, risk management, and industry challenges.


Seminar Title: How Australia Saves, Landmark Vanguard Research Report

27 September 2017 – RiskLab Event: Seminar and drinks/finger food

Abstract: How Australia Saves examines the member experience and outcomes by looking at distinct behavioural categories (built around default as well as self-directed investment selections), as well as traditional demographic and economic segments. The report uses research techniques developed by Vanguard’s Centre for Investor Research in the US to examine trends in contributions, choices and outcomes for individual members.

In this presentation, we will explore the findings of the How Australia Saves research in two critical areas – members’ contribution behaviour, and the impact of a Fund’s choice architecture on the outcomes experienced by members in each of the behavioural segments examined.  

Speaker: Paul Murphy, Senior Manager Superannuation Policy, Vanguard Investments

In this role, Paul is focused on research, policy, and product innovation in the Australian superannuation industry. Of particular focus for Paul is the post-retirement phase and the next wave of innovation in Australia’s maturing superannuation system – the provision of sensible, scalable and robust income solutions for retirees.

Prior to joining Vanguard in May 2016, Paul gained over 30 years of experience in the financial services sector. He has held roles across strategic marketing, financial education and advice, industry advocacy, public affairs and stakeholder relations in organisations such as the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors, UniSuper and the Australian Investment Managers’ Association.

Paul holds a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) from Monash University, a Diploma of Financial Services from Tribeca Education, and a Masters in Organisational Leadership from Melbourne Business School. He is also a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD).


Seminar Title: Risk Sharing and Premium Regulation in Health Insurance Markets

31 August 2017 – RiskLab Event: Seminar and drinks/finger food

Abstract: Australia has a high standard health system that is a mix of public and private services and includes health insurance as a means of funding service delivery together with Medicare. Health systems around the globe all face the challenge of funding increasing health costs and adjusting for risks of higher and low cost individuals.This presents unique data and analysis challenges.  This session looks at some of these challenges and how they are tackled in different health systems around the world.

Speaker: Andrew Matthews, Chief Actuary for Medibank Private 

Andrew is an actuary with a passion for organizational development. He is currently Chief Actuary for Medibank Private and oversees the actuarial services capability including capital management, pricing and scenario analysis.

Andrew brings more than 20 years of experience leading strategic development, analysis involving probability, statistics and the assessment of possibility. He is a former partner of Ernst & Young, Asia pacific, a senior actuary for Insurance Australia Group (IAG); manager of actuarial and financial strategies with the Transport Accident Commission (TAC); consultant with Trowbridge consulting and an actuarial trainee with National Mutual.

Andrew is a Fellow of the Actuaries institute; He also has a Masters in Organizational Development (MSOD) with Pepperdine University in California, USA – a leadership program in the art and science of strategic change and building organizational capability. He is an accredited Executive Coach and Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Andrew’s works to bring together analytics and human endeavor that informs today, explores possibilities and creates readiness for initiating collective action.



Seminar Title: SUPERANNUATION (jointly organised with Sci+Tech in the City)

03 August 2017 – RiskLab Event: Seminar and drinks/finger food

FOUR talks about research and practice in the superannuation industry, featuring Deborah Ralston from Monash/ACFS on the topic of the Monash-CSIRO Superannuation Research Cluster,  Data61’s Alec Stephenson on data-driven analysis of superannuation draw-down behaviour, George Nassios (‎Investment Advisor Escala Partners) providing insight into the super funds industry and Professor Colin O’Hare from Monash University Department of Econometrics and Business Statistics on the topic of pricing longevity risk.

Seminar Title: How does the Future Fund navigate an uncertain investment environment

28 June 2017, RiskLab Event: Seminar and drinks/finger-food.

Abstract:The Future Fund Board of Guardians invests around AUD150bn of sovereign wealth across a number of Mandates on behalf of the Federal Government.  While prospective economic and financial conditions are inherently uncertain, the current investment environment is particularly challenging to navigate.

In this context, the talk will provide an overview of the policy framework that has been developed by the management team to help the Board manage the Future Fund and Medical Research Future Fund portfolios with ‘acceptable but not excessive’ levels of risk as required by the Mandates.


Nigel Wilkin-Smith, Director, Investment Strategy and Risk at Future Fund.

Nigel is a Director in the Portfolio Strategy team at the Future Fund. Portfolio Strategy is responsible for economic and capital market analysis, portfolio design and quantitative analysis, and portfolio construction. Nigel leads the Portfolio Construction function, ensuring that the approach to total portfolio construction melds top-down considerations with bottom-up insights in a consistent manner that aims to improve overall portfolio outcomes.

Nigel joined the Future Fund in 2010 from van Eyk Research where he was Head of Strategic Research. Prior to this he worked as a research fellow at both the University of Queensland and the Australian National University (ANU). He holds a PhD in Mathematics from ANU.


Seminar Title: Optimal decisions in retirement planning

24 May 2017, RiskLab Event: Seminar and drinks/finger-food.

Presentation slides: Presentation CSIRO 2017 05


Two of the main decisions in retirement planning are asset allocation and consumption. In this study employing a Constant Relative Risk Aversion utility function in the dynamic programming framework; firstly we analyze the optimal decisions in retirement planning both during working life and in retirement with allowing for taxation effects. Then the impact of the existing taxation and social security structure, in particular the age pension, on the optimal decisions is analyzed. Policy implications, particularly taking into account the introduction of the CIPR regime, are discussed.


Adam Butt BCom, MHE, FIAA, SFHEA, PhD Associate Professor in Actuarial Studies and Statistics Research School of Finance, Actuarial Studies and Statistics ANU College of Business and Economics Australian National University Canberra  ACT  2601



Seminar Title: Can Trusted Computing and hardware-based security prevent attacks or reduce damage of attacks?

27April 2017 RiskLab Event: Seminar and drinks/finger-food.

Abstract: Trusted Computing based on the so-called Trusted Platform Module TPM has been around for quite some time and millions of TPMs have been integrated in PCs, laptops, tablets, etc. In spite of this large number of TPMs in the field, only a very small percentage is actually used. 

This talk will give an introduction to the idea of Trusted Computing, discuss potential values and possible reasons for the lacking uptake of the technology. Finally, two examples (a VPN client and a small router for ICS) are used to show how Trusted Computing can be used in practical applications and what the advantages and disadvantages might be.

Dr. Carsten Rudolph is an associate professor in the Faculty of IT at Monash University and Director of the Oceania Cyber Security Centre in Melbourne, Australia. His research concentrates on information security, formal methods, security engineering and cryptographic protocols with a strong focus on hardware-based security and Trusted Computing. Results of his research work have been applied in areas such as critical infrastructures, industry control systems, or certified systems. Among other activities he has worked on a security validation of the Trusted Platform Module TPM 1.2 on behalf of the German BSI and he contributes as invited expert to the standardisation of the TPM in the Trusted Computing Group TCG.

 Before joining Monash University in 2015, he was head of the research department on Trust and Compliance at the Fraunhofer Institute for Secure Information Technology SIT, Germany. He successfully initiated five large co-operative European research projects funded by the European Commission along with six projects funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, BMBF. His industry co-operations included large companies and many small and medium-sized enterprises. In 2015, he supported Huawei in establishing a Trusted Computing research team in Germany.

22ndMarch 2017:  Formal launch of RiskLab.

The agenda of the launch event on the 22nd/March (Wednesday):

  • 3:30-4:30pm: first joint meeting of RiskLab Advisory Board members and Academic Members
    • Overview of current activities at RiskLab
    • Discuss research plans and propose new activities in the next 12 months.
  • 4:30-5:30pm: two half-hour seminars open to the public:
    • Presentation 1: ETFs – A toolkit for investors and how ETF strategies work  by Dr Roger Cohen of BetaShare
    • Presentation 2: Blockchain and its applications, by Dr Mark Staples at Data61 of CSIRO
  • 5:30-6:30pm: drinks/nibbles and networking

Location: Level 6, Tower Two, 727 Collins St, Docklands, Melbourne. For details, please download: LocationForRiskLabLaunch.

22nd/March/2017: Public Seminar at RiskLab

4:30-5:00pm: Presentation 1: ETFs – A toolkit for investors and how ETF strategies work , by Dr Roger Cohen

Abstract: The ETF market in Australia is experiencing exponential growth. The key driver of this is that they are an effective tool for all classes of investor, ranging from individuals to large institutions. An overview of why this is the case, how ETFs work, some examples of current ETF strategies, and what is on the horizon will be presented. We will also focus on market making and the role of market makers, which underpins the success of ETFs, and how it has evolved with the market.

Dr Roger Cohen: is the principal and founder of Portable Beta and also a senior advisor to BetaShares, with a particular focus on product development. He also lectures on risk management and other topics in finance. Roger was previously a Managing Director at Deutsche Bank (Sydney & London), where he ran the EMEA index trading desk, and was involved from inception with the launch of the highly successful db x-trackers ETF platform. Roger has also worked at Macquarie Bank, where he was involved in building the global index swap and delta one trading capability. Prior to his career in the financial markets, Roger was an academic, lecturing in Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering. Roger has PhD and BE (hons1) degrees from the University of Sydney. He was a Fulbright Scholar in the US in 1988, and is a Fellow of the Financial Services Institute of Australia.

5:00-5:30pm: Presentation 2: Blockchain and its applications, by Dr Mark Staples

Abstract: Blockchains are an emerging technology first used for digital currency transactions in Bitcoin.  New blockchain platforms are now recognised as a more general-purpose technology – a kind of distributed database and computational platform that could in principle be used in any industry. This may in turn create new fintech opportunities, for example in trade finance.  There is as yet little use of blockchains in production systems, but this may begin to change in 2017. I will review some of the use case opportunity areas, identify some of the design trade-offs when using blockchains instead of conventional technologies, and discuss the development of trustworthy blockchain-based systems. This talk is based partly on emerging results from NISA-funded projects with The Treasury which were announced in the 2016 budget, and which are nearing completion.

Dr Mark Staples: leads the Software Systems group at Data61, CSIRO, which is conducting research into blockchain technology, analytics architectures, behavioural analytics, business process systems, and legal informatics. His research interests are in software engineering and the philosophy of engineering, and he has worked in the software engineering industry in Australia, on implantable medical devices, electronic payments systems, and distributed control systems. He holds a BSc and BInfTech (Hons) from University of Queensland and a PhD from University of Cambridge. He is a Conjoint Associate Professor in the School of Computer Science and Engineering at UNSW. He is a member of Australia’s standardization committee on blockchain and DLT (IT-041), under Australia’s leadership of the Secretariat of the International Technical Committee for Blockchain Standards (ISO/TC 307).