Risk In The Real World: Financial Services Roundtable Discussion

American Express, Cambridge Associates and Other Finance Professionals

There is classroom learning and then there is real world learning. Combine the two and you set the stage for true academic growth – especially when it comes to finance and garnering a deeper understanding for “Risk and Return in a Post-Crisis Environment.”

That is exactly what Raymond A. Mason School of Business students, faculty, alumni and Executive Partners experienced Wednesday, Feb. 4 during the 2nd Annual Financial Services Roundtable featuring senior finance professionals from top firms across the country, including American Express and Cambridge Associates. Moderator Carl Tack commented on the proceedings:

We established the Financial Services Roundtable two years ago to give our students more direct exposure to some of the many accomplished alumni and friends of the College currently working in the financial services industry.  W&M graduates include senior executives and principles at major companies and organizations across the financial services industry landscape, including commercial and investment banking, asset management, consumer and corporate finance, and insurance.  We began our Financial Services Roundtable last year with a look back at the critical events of 2008-9 ("Five Years from the Brink:  What have we learned") and this year we continued that discussion with a more focused look at issues of "Risk and Return in the Post-Crisis Environment."  Risk and return are core subjects in the study and practice of finance, and it is good for our students to share perspectives on these important topics with some of the country's leading finance practitioners and professionals.

More than 140 people attended the event, presented by the Boehly Center and organized as part of Tack’s new Financial Services class, a course designed to connect accomplished professionals with students in the classroom.

“We touch on volatility in class, but this was an opportunity for it to be touched on in a more in-depth way than in the classroom,” said Park Lippold ‘16.

The complete panel included the following finance experts:

  • Moderator Carl Tack ‘78, adjunct professor of Finance at the Mason School of Business
  • David L. Yowan ‘80, Executive Vice President and Corporate Treasurer of American Express
  • Peter W. Atwater ‘83, founder of Financial Insyghts, LLC
  • Brian Hiestand, Chief Investment Officer of the College of William & Mary Foundation
  • David J. Jallits, Head of Global Investment Research and a Managing Director at Cambridge Associates
  • Audra Lalley ‘90, partner at Miracle Mile Financial Advisors

“It is truly alumni and friends of the College like our esteemed panelists who make the William & Mary experience unique,” Professor and Boehly Center Director Julie Agnew observed.  “We look forward to continuing this tradition of excellence through future Boehly Center events.”

Throughout the discussion, panelists shared their personal experiences and perspectives, detailed how risk and return have evolved, highlighted the risk involved in starting a company and discussed how to estimate future returns.  

MORE INFO ON THE PANELISTS:

Carl Tack ’78, Raymond A. Mason School of Business

Tack, adjunct professor of Finance at the Mason School and leader of the Financial Services Courses at William & Mary, began his career as a corporate lawyer with Kirkland & Ellis in Chicago, representing private equity and venture capital firms. He joined Salomon Brothers as an investment banker before working for Merrill Lynch in Chicago and London. In London, he worked for Deutsche Bank as the co-head of the global telecommunications investment banking practice and vice-chairman of the global TMT group. Tack retired from investment banking in 2009 and has since served as a managing partner of a Dubai-based telecoms consulting business, director of a U.S.-based public manufacturing company, and lecturer in Finance in London and Dubai. Prior to teaching at William & Mary, he lectured at the London School of Economics and at Imperial College, London. Tack received his BA in Economics from William & Mary and his JD from the University of Chicago Law School.

Peter W. Atwater ’83, Financial Insyghts, LLC

Atwater founded Financial Insyghts, LLC in 2008 to provide research on the financial services industry to money managers and hedge funds. Today, his firm advises asset managers, corporations and public policymakers on the role of confidence in human decision-making. Atwater has served as a financial services executive at JPMorgan, First USA, Bank One, and Juniper Financial. He speaks and writes extensively on how changes in confidence affect preferences, decisions and actions. Atwater received his BA from William & Mary, where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and now serves on the investment committee for the College Foundation Board.

Brian Hiestand, The College of William & Mary Foundation

Hiestand joined the College of William & Mary Foundation in 2005 and serves as its first Chief Investment Officer, overseeing all of the investment management functions for the endowment, including asset allocation and manager selection and review. Prior to joining William & Mary, Hiestand served as Principal and Portfolio Manager at Harris Investment Management in Chicago and as the first Director of Alternative Investments for the Indiana University Foundation, where he launched their Alternative Investment Program for allocations to hedge funds, venture capital, private equity and timberland.

David J. Jallits, Cambridge Associates

Jallits is the Head of Global Investment Research and a Managing Director at Cambridge Associates. He oversees more than 150 professionals dedicated to evaluating institutional quality investment managers and to researching and publishing a wide range of reports addressing capital markets themes and trends. As Head of Global Investment Research, he drives collaboration among the leaders of public growth, private growth, hedge funds, real assets, investment grade bonds and market research teams to set the strategic direction for all of the firm’s research efforts. Before joining Cambridge Associates, Jallits spent more than 25 years as an investment manager, serving as the director and senior portfolio manager at the Capital Fund, the portfolio manager at the hedge fund Teton Partners, portfolio manager at Putnam Investments and proprietary trading group leader at Citibank.

Audra Lalley ’90, Miracle Mile Advisors

Lalley is a partner at Miracle Mile Financial Advisors, a Registered Investment Advisor in Los Angeles that serves ultra high net worth families, endowments and foundations, focusing on asset allocation, global investing across all asset classes, estate planning and philanthropic giving. She began her career with KPMG as a financial institutions group consultant and then with GE Capital in portfolio management. Lalley has since served as an investment advisor for Goldman Sachs and then for the Private Wealth Management Division of Morgan Stanley. Lalley is a member of William & Mary’s Foundation Board and has served two terms on the Swem Library Board of Directors, where she served as board chair and chair of the Development Committee. She received her MBA from the Booth School at the University of Chicago and her BBA in Finance from William & Mary, where she competed on the swimming and diving team.

David L. Yowan ’80, American Express 

Yowan is Executive Vice President and Corporate Treasurer of American Express, a position he has held since July 2006. In his current role, he has overall AXP responsibility for capital, investments and asset-liability management, corporate insurance programs. Yowan holds a number of other senior positions within AXP, including membership on AXP’s ALCO, Enterprise-wide Risk Management and Disclosure Committees. He is the CEO of American Express Credit Corporation, a wholly-owned subsidiary and SEC registrant, among other roles. He has broad experience in establishing and managing risk management systems and in implementing hedging strategies for interest rate and other market risks. Yowan holds a Master of Management degree from the Kellogg School of Northwestern University and a BA in Economics from William & Mary.