By: Carrie Gilmour
More than 300 financial investment professionals travelled and convened at the annual Finance & Investment Forum in Toronto. Discussions at the Forum were focused on the Canadian investment climate, financial technology and innovation, real estate investment bottlenecks and opportunities, capital globalization and configuration. Representatives attended the ‘Fortune Forum’, chaired by President of the Canadian Alumni Association, and Professor for the School of Accounting and Finance (SAF), Changling Chen.
The sponsor for the event, the Central University of Finance and Economics (CUFE), is one of the most prominent and well-known educational institutions specializing in finance and economics in China.
Keynote speakers included Hurt Reiman, Chief Investment Strategist of Blackrock Canada, and Adam He, Chief Financial Officer of Wanda’s America Investment Holding Co., one of China’s biggest corporations.
The University has a long-standing relationship with CUFE as 17 faculty members visited the campus earlier this summer to learn about Waterloo’s teaching curriculum and methods. Discussions focused on exploring collaborative opportunities in research and exchange programs.
During his keynote, the Hon. Joe Oliver, the former Minister of Finance and Minister of Natural Resources of Canada, spoke of his experience in participating in the G7 and G20 summits. He discussed the current situation and challenges of the political economy and argued that there are troublesome signs of economic growth and stability.
SAF Financial Accounting Professor, Satiprasad Bandyopadhyay, challenged Mr. Oliver to elaborate on the issues behind the Alberta Pipeline, “What is the problem with exporting Alberta oil from the pacific to British Columbia?”
Oliver outlined the economic benefits to Canada.
The problem is not technological, it is complex to move a pipeline through the Rockies, but we have the expertise to do that. It’s not economic because the private sector is willing to invest tens of billions of dollars and they have come to the conclusion that it would be economical to do it. There is an opportunity for immense employment and revenue to governments to support critical social programs like health care, education, and infrastructure.
Another SAF Professor, Alan Huang from Computer and Financial Management (CFM) participated in a panel with Frank Maeba, Head of Investment Strategy and Trading and a Managing Partner at Breton Hill Capital, of which they presented and discussed the importance of Fintech and Big Data. Huang emphasized the significance of research needed in the Fintech area and how CFM students from the University of Waterloo are graduating with data science and finance knowledge, making them leaders in the industry.
Our students are choosing their careers wisely and with their degree [they’re] replacing bookkeepers, traders, and risk managers.
Focusing on the current state of development of financial technology in China, Huang elaborated to audience members that “Fintech is a gradual process. The first pillar is data, and the second is the data processing power. When you pay a bill online using your mobile phone there are two steps. The first is ‘who are you?’ that is the data, and then the information needs to be processed right away, that is the data processing.
Maeba was so impressed with Huang’s description of our CFM students, they are now collaborating to potentially hire Waterloo graduates to support Maeba’s asset management business, with the goal of establishing a longer-term relationship with the Waterloo’s CFM program.