Past Seminars

Spring 2013

April Baltimore Chapter Market Technicians Association (MTA) Meeting
Milton Berg, CEO and Chief Investment Strategist of MB Advisors, LLC 
Wednesday 24th April 2013 Room 462 in the Bloomberg Center at 6:30 pm

This will be a joint meeting between John Hopkins Finance and Economics Club and the MTA Baltimore Chapter. For the April meeting, we welcome Milton Berg, CFA who is the CEO and Chief Investment Strategist of MB Advisors, LLC. He has worked in the financial services industry since 1978, with an impressive background in various roles on the buy side. He has worked with well-known titans of the hedge fund world including George Soros, Stanley Druckenmiller and Charles Davidson. Mr. Berg founded MB Advisors in 2012 to address a need for high-quality independent research with a macro, technical and historical focus. Mr. Berg will present his technical research and views on various markets and what he sees going forward. This will be a fantastic opportunity to gain market insight from an experienced market professional! 

The Bitcoin:Why How and ItFuture 

Cem Onat Yilmaz, tech entrepreneur 
Wednesday 17th April 2013 Room 462 in the Bloomberg Center at 6:30 pm

Bitcoin is a currency that acts as the virtual equivalent of cash. It has been around for four years now and has recently gotten strong media attention as their total valuation has approached and passed well beyond one billion dollars in net worth in the last two months. First real-world bitcoin purchase was of a large pizza for 10,000 Bitcoins in early 2010.  It has come a long way from its humble beginnings. As of today each Bitcoin is valued close to $80 to $90. The Washington Post, The New Yorker, The New York Times and The Economist have given increased coverage to it and more and more people are responding to its promise and choosing to keep their assets in Bitcoins. With this growing traction it is deserving our attention

In this talk we will cover:
- The fundamentals of Bitcoin, its value proposition as a currency and why are people coming to buy it
- How it can live up to its promise for anonymous, immediate transfers with no fees and limits
- Then we will take a systems approach and elaborate on how it can sustain large-scale economies and protect against inflation
- The future promise, challenges of Bitcoin as well as the technologies that are being developed -some of it right here in our own Hopkins community- to help it reach its potential

Trading Strategies using IBD and Technical Analysis 
Eric D. Wish
Wednesday 10th April 2013 Room 462 in the Bloomberg Center at 6:30 pm

Eric Wish is a psychologist and professor in the Department Criminology at the University of Maryland in College Park, where he directs the Center for Substance Abuse Research (CESAR). He has over 40 years experience trading stocks and teaches a course on the stock market for undergraduates in the UMD Honors College.  Dr. Wish employs a trading strategy that is a blend of IBD and technical analysis approaches.  He uses the Worden TC2000 TA software and has presented workshops for Worden and the AAII and local investment clubs. His stock market blog is available at:

Global Financial Risk Management
Gordon Bodnar, Morris W. Offit Professor of International Finance; Director of the International Economics Program at JHU
Wednesday 3rd April 2013 Room 462 in the Bloomberg Center at 6:30 pm

Gordon Bodnar is presently a research associate of the Weiss Center for International Finance and the Financial Institutions Center at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania; associate editor of European Financial Management, Journal of Asian Economics andJournal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money; currently teaches in the Wharton Executive M.B.A. Program; former assistant professor of finance at the Wharton School, where he received Excellence in Teaching awards for three straight years; former assistant professor at the Simon Graduate School of Business at the University of Rochester; former visiting professor at J.W. Goethe Universität in Frankfurt; held appointments as a research fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research and as a visiting scholar at the International Monetary Fund; Ph.D., economics, Princeton University

Professor Bodnar is going to give an overview of financial risk management issues and concepts along with a presentation of the results of a recent global risk management survey done by Duke / JHU / Wharton.

How and Why I Became a “Quant”?

David Audley, Executive Director Financial Math Master's Program at Johns Hopkins University
Wednesday 13th March 2013 Room 462 in the Bloomberg Center at 6:30 pm

David Audley, who received his PhD in 1972 from the Johns Hopkins Electrical Engineering department, worked on Wall Street for the 20 years prior to joining the full-time faculty in 2007. 

He has experience in portfolio management, analytic trading, risk management, financial technologies, and has performed research in the quantitative modeling of securities and markets - specializing in term structure models and relative value analysis.

During his tenure on Wall Street he has worked on both the Street side and on the “buy side”; at broker dealers such as Bache Halsey Stuart Shields, Inc. and Merrill Lynch; at hedge funds such as Julian Robertson’s Tiger Funds, the Clinton Group and his own Watch Hill; and at traditional asset managers including the Prudential and Ryan. 

David was founder and part owner of two companies -- Watch Hill Investment Partners, a mortgage derivatives hedge fund, and Beacon Capital Markets, whose main product for electronic bond trading is enabled by peer-to-peer computer technology.

Before joining the department full-time, David taught Financial Mathematics courses in the Applied Mathematics and Statistics department while helping to guide the creation of the new Financial Mathematics Master's program.

Professor Audley will talk about his experiences during his career, his view on the markets, and will be willing give his opinion about the things no one can tell you about in class.

Financial Advising in 
Meeting with the United Nations (Cancelled for weather reason!)
Jerome Simons, Carlo Schmid Fellow, Outreach and Partnerships at UNOPS
Wednesday 6th March 2013 Room 462 in the Bloomberg Center at 6:30 pm

Jerome is going to talk about his work in energy policy and international development at the United Nations. He will supply a brief introduction to one of the biggest physical challenges – climate change – and talk about how the development community responds to it. He will then describe how policy approaches are conceived and then channeled through UN agencies until they reach the ground. Particularly, he will mention adaptation and infrastructure finance as well as how project-based development has been improved in the past decade. After briefly describing the professional environment of the UN along with its quirks, Jerome will recount his story and how he broke into development as someone who used to stand in a physics laboratory. For the club members and audience, Jerome will discuss opportunities for all majors. and explain the difference between technical and generalist positions. To conclude, Jerome will provide some reading recommendations for interested students and take questions. 

Financial Fallacies: Tell You the Truth about the Financial Market

Dr. Yuval Bar-Or,Professor in JHU Carey Business school, writer and
Founder and President of The Light Brigade LLC 
Wednesday 27th February 2013 Room 462 in the Bloomberg Center at 6:30 pm

On top of the uncertainty inherent in financial markets, investors are confused, distracted, and thwarted by urban myths, misconceptions, stereotypes, overreactions, ignorance, fear, greed, rumors, specialized jargon, unhelpful 30-second media sound bites, as well as inept, conflicted or dishonest advisors.

To have a fighting chance, investors need help cutting through this noise. This session aims to open consumers' eyes and give them a cleaner, more accurate perspective with which to make more enlightened decisions.

How to start your own Hedge Fund
Daniel Roettger (, Founder of String Hedge Fund
Wednesday 20th February 2013 Room 462 in the Bloomberg Center at 6:30 pm

Daniel and 3 of his friends have designed a powerful algorithm for automated trading on the Forex market and they are now in the process of starting their own Hedge Fund. He is going to talk about their algorithm and the different phases between being a student designing a model and and being a Hedge Fund manager. This will be a great opportunity to learn.   

The markets for the year and what to look for: The Free Money Bubble
Greg Diamond, Senior Trader at Lockheed Martin Investment Management Company
Wednesday 13th February 2013 Room 462 in the Bloomberg Center at 6:30 pm

This will be a joint meeting between John Hopkins Finance and Economics Club and the MTA Baltimore Chapter. We will discuss the coordination of Central Bank's efforts (hopes?) to print the global economy back into prosperity (recession?). We will analyze what the technical indicators are telling us going forward for equities, precious metals and interest rates as a result of this worldwide effort. The forecast may surprise you.

Fall 2012

Systemic Banking Crises 
Fabian Valencia Researcher at the International Monetary Fund 
Friday 7th December 2012 The Sherwood Room int the Levering Hall at 11 am

Banking crises are highly disruptive events, often involving panic, large output contractions, and slow economic recoveries. In this talk, I will discuss the main characteristics of a banking crisis, why it happens, how it evolves, how it is resolved, and its outcomes. In doing so, I will review salient features of modern banking crises, and discuss the rationale for government intervention.

The asymmetric behavior between buying and selling strategies among hedge funds 
Alvaro E. Pedraza, PhD student at University of Maryland College Park, 
Wednesday 28th November 2012 Room 462 in the Bloomberg Center at 6:30 pm

Prices in secondary financial markets aggregate information from many sources. When making corporate decisions, firms use all available information. In particular, their own stock prices may reveal valuable information about future payoffs based on investors' private information. I study how this information revelation by traders affect resource allocation by firms. I discuss the conditions under which financial markets might improve or deter real economic activity when this feedback effect is present. In particular, when firms' uncertainty about their own fundamentals is high, markets fail to improve capital allocation even if some market participants have perfect information.

Introduction to Technical Analysis 
Hima Reddy, Chartered Market Technician, 
Wednesday 14th November 2012 Room 462 in the Bloomberg Center at 6:30 pm

Hima will introduce the discipline of technical analysis and explain some of its basic tenets and applications. She will share her experience as a CMT (Chartered Market Technician), who has worked as professional technical analyst and an independent trader. She will also introduce the work of W.D.Gann, a prolific trader and writer from the early 1900s whose work helped develop technical analysis as we know it today. Lastly, Hima will discuss how to best approach technical analysis as a possible career choice. Hima Reddy is the author of "The Trading Methodologies of W.D. Gann: A Guide to Building Your Technical Analysis Toolbox". You can find out more about the book at her website,

Urban development and disaster risk management - World Bank talk 
Paula Restrepo, Young Professional at the World Bank 
Wednesday 24th October 2012 Room 462 in the Bloomberg Center at 6:30 pm

We are not a bank in the ordinary sense but a unique partnership to reduce poverty and support development. We comprise two institutions managed by 188 member countries: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA). The IBRD aims to reduce poverty in middle-income and creditworthy poorer countries, while IDA focuses exclusively on the world's poorest countries. These institutions are part of a larger body known as the World Bank Group. 

Established in 1944, the World Bank is headquartered in Washington, D.C. We have more than 9,000 employees in more than 100 offices worldwide.

Trade and Investment - the Inter-American Development Bank talk 
Shunko Rojas, Consultant at Inter-American Development Bank 
Wednesday 17th October 2012 Room 462 in the Bloomberg Center at 6:30 pm

Shunko Rojas is a consultant at the Inter-American Development Bank and at the Argentinian embassy. The bank supports efforts by Latin America and the Caribbean countries to reduce poverty and inequality. It aims to bring about development in a sustainable, climate-friendly way. Established in 1959, it is the leading source of development financing for Latin America and the Caribbean, with a strong commitment to achieve measurable results, increased integrity, transparency and accountability. It has an evolving reform agenda that seeks to increase the development impact in the region. While it is a regular bank in many ways, it is also unique in some key respects. Besides loans, it also provides grants, technical assistance and does research. Its shareholders are 48 member countries, including 26 Latin American and Caribbean borrowing members, who have a majority ownership of the IDB. Given its shareholder base and prudent management, they have a strong financial position. As a result, the IDB is able to borrow in international markets at competitive rates and transfer that benefit to our clients. Its Fund for special operations (FSO) provides concessional financing to their most vulnerable member countries.

Case Studies of Investing in Small-Cap Companies
Dan Scolnic, PhD student at Johns Hopkins University
Wednesday 10th October 2012 Room 462 in the Bloomberg Center at 6:30 pm

Everything You Wanted to Know About Value Investing, But Were Too Afraid To Ask!

I will be giving a presentation on investing from the perspective of a grad student at Johns Hopkins in a discipline far removed from finance.  I will go over the difference between being a value investor and a technical investor.  I will discuss the important fundamentals of a company's balance sheet, and how to find them.  I will also discuss the differences between investing in small, medium and large cap companies.  I will go through a few case studies of companies I have invested in, and share what mistakes I've made, and what traps early investors typically fall into. Finally, I'll discuss various investing strategies, and how to use your own unique edge for success and I will talk about how to invest with options.

Minsky, Micro-foundations, Financial Markets and Monetary Policy
 Robert BarberaChief Economist at Mount Lucas Management LP
Wednesday 3rd October 2012 Room 462 in the Bloomberg Center at 6:30 pm

The elemental micro question is not, 'how much to manufacture', it is 'how much to wager'. More specifically, the key question is 'what constitutes the optimal debt to equity ratio'. Understanding how attitudes about debt use and risk taking evolve, endogenously, provides a solid foundation for understanding the Great Recession of the past few years. Elevating finance to center stage, when thinking about how the real economy works, more generally allows one to understand the boom bust cycles of the 1980-2012 period.  It demonstrates how naïve and foolhardy it is for central banks to exclusively focus on 'price stability'. It also identifies the dangerous asymmetry practiced by the Greenspan led Fed, an asymmetry that fostered/invited the Great Recession. With finance at center stage, we can talk intelligently about how central banks can operate as they confront the zero bound. We can critique the post-crisis ECB, and award it a D-. We can critique the FOMC, post-crisis and award it a B. 

Related links:

Statistical Mechanics of Money, Income, Debt, and Energy Consumption
Pr. Victor M. Yakovenko, Professor of Physics at the University of Maryland College Park 
Wednesday 26th September 2012 Room 462 in the Bloomberg Center at 6:30 pm

By analogy with the probability distribution of energy in statistical physics, I argue that the probability distribution of money in a closed economic system should follow the exponential Boltzmann-Gibbs law.  Analysis of the empirical data shows that income distribution in the USA has a well-defined two-class structure.  The majority of the population (about 97%) belongs to the lower class characterized by the exponential ("thermal") distribution.  The upper class (about 3% of the population) is characterized by the Pareto power-law ("superthermal") distribution, and its share of the total income expands and contracts dramatically during bubbles and busts in financial markets.  I will briefly discuss demographic causes (the baby boom wave) underlying long-term dynamics of financial markets, see  The probability distribution of energy consumption per capita around the world also follows the exponential Boltzmann-Gibbs law.  
For more information, see

The Kondratieff Cycle
Greg Diamond, Senior Trader at Lockheed Martin Investment Management Company
Wednesday 19th September 2012 Room 462 in the Bloomberg Center at 6:30 pm 

This will be a joint meeting between Johns Hopkins Finance and Economics Club and the MTA Baltimore Chapter. We will discuss the Kondratieff Cycle (K-Cycle), its origins, forecasting ability and where we currently fall in the cycle. Specifically, we will cover what the K-Cycle is indicating for interest rates and what effect this could have on capital markets going forward. Please feel free to forward this invite to anyone you feel would have interest in attending.

For more information on Technical Analysis, the MTA or the CMT program please visit