The Inactivity in Active: A Worrisome Sign of the Times?


There is a robust discussion ongoing among academics and investors around the need for cost management in investing, providing appropriate solutions for retirement finance and the general underperformance of active managers, which has led to the bulk of “smart capital” flowing to passive strategies. At the same time a subset of believers in the industry argue that the absence of active investing can lead to the suboptimal allocation of capital, the lack of liquidity in capital markets, and more disquietingly, a reliance on passive investing can lead to the magnification of correlation shocks in periods of market stress. To discuss this and related topics, such as Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) investing in Asia, “Fintech” disruptions to the investment industry’s business model, and the manner in which institutions, investors and academics should respond, the ABFER will bring together a panel of academic and investment experts to shed light on the issues and challenges - and address pertinent questions in the industry today.


 Location: Katong Ballroom

5:15 pm
5:30 pm
ABFER-GIC Industry Panel & Roundtable
"The Inactivity in Active: A Worrisome Sign of the Times?"

Ms Arisa Kishigami, Head of ESG, Asia Pacific, FTSE Russell

Professor Charles M. C. Lee, Moghadam Family Professor of Management and Professor of Accounting at the Graduate School of Business (GSB), Stanford University

Mr Percy Wong, Head of Systematic Global Equities, GIC Private Limited

Mr Hugh Young, Managing Director, Aberdeen Asset Management Asia Limited

Professor Joseph Cherian, Practice Professor of Finance & Director of CAMRI, National University of Singapore Business School
7:00 pm


  • Professor Joseph Cherian (Moderator)

    Professor Joseph Cherian (Moderator)


    Practice Professor of Finance andDirector of the Centre for Asset Management Research and Investments (CAMRI),
    National University of Singapore

    Joseph Cherian is Practice Professor of Finance and Director of the Centre for Asset Management Research & Investments (CAMRI) at NUS Business School, where he also serves on the School's Executive Education Board.

    Prior to that, Joe was Managing Director, Global Head, and CIO of the Quantitative Strategies Group within Credit Suisse Alternative Investments in New York, where he had direct responsibility for over US$67 billion in client assets managed to a quantitative discipline. While at Credit Suisse, Joe also served on the Global Executive Committee and various senior management, investments, and risk committees of the Asset Management division. Joe joined Credit Suisse in 2004 from Banc of America Capital Management, also in New York, where he was Managing Director and Senior Portfolio Manager of their asset allocation funds.

    Previously, he was an Associate Professor of Finance at Boston University. He has authored numerous articles for financial journals, and serves on the Scientific Advisory Board of Nipun Capital, a boutique hedge fund based in San Francisco. Joe has or had appointments at the Ministry of Manpower's CPF Advisory Panel, the Singapore International Mediation Centre's Panel of Technical Experts, the National Research Foundation's Early Stage Venture Fund Evaluation Panel, the SNEC/SERI Medical Director’s Advisory Council in Singapore, the Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index (MMGPI) Steering Committee in Australia, and the Journal of Alternative Investments' Editorial Board in the US. He formerly served as a review board member of the Research Foundation of the CFA Institute, and on the Scientific Advisory Boards of net Decide Corp., a pioneering RoboAdvisory firm, Orissa Group, a pioneer in the development and dissemination of liquidity-based data and analytical products across multiple asset classes, and SKG Inc., all based in the US. Joe holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from MIT, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Finance from Cornell University.

  • Ms Arisa Kishigami

    Ms Arisa Kishigami


    Head of ESG, Asia Pacific, FTSE Russell

    Arisa Kishigami is responsible for FTSE Russell’s Environmental, Social and Governance services across the Asia Pacific region. Arisa works closely with clients to provide a comprehensive range of products and data to support them in reaching their investment decisions.

    She has been working as an expert in ESG and Sustainable Investment since 2007, including managing corporate engagement programmes, ESG indices and ratings, and advisory research on stewardship implementation for pension funds. Arisa relocated to Tokyo in 2015 to take up her position as Head of ESG, prior to this she was based in London, a key hub for ESG investments.

    Arisa has contributed to the wider debate on ESG and long term investment through various international committees including the UNPRI Assessment Technical Committee, and is a bridging spokesperson between Japan and globally as a member of the Management Committee member of J-SIF (Japan Sustainable Investment Forum).

    Arisa holds an MSc in African Studies at the University of Oxford, UK, and a bachelor’s degree in Policy Management from Keio University, Japan.

  • Professor Charles Lee

    Professor Charles Lee


    Moghadam Family Professor of Management and Professor of Accounting, Stanford University
    Co-Founder, Nipun Capital and Senior Fellow, Asian Bureau of Finance and Economic Research (ABFER)

    Charles M. C. Lee is the Moghadam Family Professor of Management and Professor of Accounting at the Graduate School of Business (GSB), Stanford University. He is also Co-Founder of Nipun Capital, a San Francisco based asset management firm focused on Asian equities. Professor Lee studies the effect of human cognitive constraints on market participants and factors that impact market pricing efficiency. He has published extensively on topics that span behavioral finance, financial analysis, market microstructure, equity valuation, quantitative investing, and security market regulation. From 2004 to July 2008, he was Managing Director at Barclays Global Investors (BGI; now Blackrock), where he served as Global Head of Equity Research and Co-Head of North America Active Equities.

    Professor Lee has received numerous honors and awards for his research and teaching. He has also served as either Editor or Associate Editor of a number of academic journals, including: the Journal of Finance, The Accounting Review, the Journal of Accounting Research, the Journal of Accounting and Economics, the Review of Accounting Studies, Management Science (Finance), and the Financial Analysts Journal.

    Professor Lee received his BMath from the University of Waterloo (1981), and his MBA (1989) and PhD (1990) from Cornell University. He has been a faculty member at the Michigan Business School (1990-95) and the Johnson Graduate School of Management, Cornell University (1996-2004). From 1995-96 he was Visiting Economist at the New York Stock Exchange. At Cornell he held the Henrietta Johnson Louis Professorship in Management and was Director of the Parker Center for Investment Research. He also served as Co-chair of the Accounting Department at Guanghua School of Management, Peking University (2003-2015).

    Prior to entering academic life, he spent five years in public accounting, the last three in the National Research Department of KPMG, Toronto, Canada. He holds a Certificate in Biblical Studies from Ontario Theological Seminary, and is fluent in Mandarin Chinese.

  • Mr Percy Wong

    Mr Percy Wong


    Head, Systematic Investment Group, GIC Singapore

    Percy Wong is currently a Senior Vice President and Head of the Systematic Investment Group (SIG). SIG is a quantitative investment group that manages long-only and absolute return portfolios in equities and macro markets. Prior to SIG, Percy was a cross-asset strategist in the Economics and Investment Strategy department, advising senior management on asset allocation at the total portfolio level.

    Percy joined GIC from Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAML), where he headed up a Cross-Asset Macro research team advising hedge fund, institutional, and SWF clients. Prior to BAML, Percy spent five years at Goldman Sachs (Asia), in the Principal Strategies Group (GSPS) as an investor in Asian equities and macro investments, as well as in Global Investment Research (GIR), as an Asia Pacific ex Japan Equity Strategist for an Institutional Investor ranked research team. Prior to GS, Percy spent five years as a consultant at Stern Stewart & Co., advising clients in the US, Latin America, and Asia on corporate strategy, valuation, and implementation of the EVA® value-based framework.

    Percy holds an MBA from the University of Chicago and an HBA from the Ivey Business School at Western University, Canada. Percy is also a CFA charter holder.

  • Mr Hugh Young

    Mr Hugh Young


    Managing Director, Aberdeen Asset Management Asia Limited

    Hugh Young is a Director of Aberdeen Asset Management PLC. He is Head of Investments for the Group and Managing Director of Aberdeen Asset Management Asia Limited. He founded Singapore-based Aberdeen Asia in 1992 and has been managing the Group’s Asian equities since 1985. Hugh is a director of a number of Group subsidiary companies and Aberdeen-managed investment trusts and funds.

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