DemocratizeQuant2018 2018-03-20T12:12:51+00:00

Let’s Democratize Quant…Together

The goal of the Democratize Quant Conference is to help a select group (Max = 50) of highly motivated high-net-worth investors and sophisticated independent advisors access and leverage academic finance research to improve their investment processes.

This conference is meant to be the “anti-conference.”

  • No sponsorships; low-cost admission.
  • Limited invitations and screened applications.
  • No product-hawking.
  • No story-telling.
  • No egomaniacs or jerks.
  • A genuine pursuit of intellectual truth.

Who should attend?

  • Independent Advisors
  • HNW Investors
  • Institutional Investors
  • ETF Issuers
  • Academic Researchers

The program is a joint effort between Alpha Architect and Villanova University that seeks to turn academic insights into investment performance.

The education-focused conference is a compliment to the long-standing MARC academic conference, which is hosted by the Villanova University Finance Department. The MARC conference hosts a wide range of academic researchers and provides a forum to discuss and debate cutting-edge academic research related to investments, corporate finance, market microstructure, and so on.

The Democratize Quant Conference will be held the day prior to the MARC conference and will be more practitioner-oriented, while still maintaining a high degree of depth and an intimate atmosphere that facilitates networking and discussion among practitioners and academic researchers. While not required, Democratize Quant attendees are encouraged to attend both the practitioner-conference and the academic-conference.

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Improve Your Knowledge

Keynote Speakers

An Expert on Hedge Fund Replication; and an Academic Who’s Done it All

Day 1: “Pracademic” Keynote

Vinay Nair, PhD

Found and Chairman of 55IP; Visiting Professor at The Wharton School (Penn) and The Sloan School (MIT)

Vinay Nair is the Founder and Chairman at 55ip. Dr. Nair was the Founding Principal at Ada Investment Management LP where he helped form an investment platform and team to design portfolio solutions using financial research and quantitative methods. Prior to founding Ada, Dr. Nair was research director at Old Lane, a hedge fund firm founded by senior executives at Morgan Stanley.

Dr. Nair is a visiting professor at The Wharton School and at The Sloan School at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), having previously been a full-time faculty member at The Wharton School, and has also been a visiting professor at The University of Pompeu-Fabra (Barcelona), University of Amsterdam, The Indian School of Business and the Graduate School of Business at Columbia University. His teaching interests are in private equity, investment management, entrepreneurship, and fintech. He authored “Investing for Change” in 2008. Dr. Nair completed his PhD in Financial Economics from the Ne York Universiy Leonard N. Stern School of Business with an award for the best thesis. Dr. Nair received a B. Tech from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT, Madras), where he was awarded the Governor’s Gold Medal for curricular and extra-curricular excellence.

Day 2: Academic Keynote

Darrell Duffie, PhD

Dean Witter Distinguished Professor of Finance at Stanford University

Darrell Duffie’s research interests include over-the-counter markets, banking, financial risk management, credit risk, valuation and hedging of derivative securities, financial market infrastructure, the term structure of interest rates, financial innovation, security design (including legal treatments at failure resolution), and market design. Recently, Duffie has focused on how capital moves from one segment of asset markets to another, and the implications of imperfect trading opportunities for asset price behavior, especially in over-the-counter markets.

Darrell Duffie is the Dean Witter Distinguished Professor of Finance at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. He is a Fellow and member of the Council of the Econometric Society, a Research Fellow of the National Bureau of Economic Research, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a member of the board of directors of Moody’s Corporation since 2008. Duffie was the 2009 president of the American Finance Association. He currently chairs the Market Participants Group, charged by the Financial Stability Board with recommending reforms to Libor, Euribor, and other interest rate benchmarks. Duffie’s recent books include How Big Banks Fail (Princeton University Press, 2010), Measuring Corporate Default Risk (Oxford University Press, 2011), and Dark Markets (Princeton University Press, 2012).

Fireside Chat: Jeremy2  

Jeremy Schwartz asks Jeremey Siegel about the Market

Jeremey Schwartz

Director of Research, WisdomTree Investments, Inc.

Jeremy S. Schwartz has been the Director of Research at WisdomTree Investments, Inc. since October 2008.

Mr. Schwartz was previously the Deputy Director of Research at the firm from February 2007 to October 2008. From May 2005 to February 2007, he was a Senior Analyst at the firm. Mr. Schwartz is responsible for construction process and oversees research across the WisdomTree equity family. Prior to this, he had been a Senior Analyst at Index Development Partners Inc. since July 2005. Prior to that, Mr. Schwartz was Professor Jeremy Siegel’s Head Research Assistant and helped with the research and the writing of Stocks for the Long Run and The Future for Investors. He is also the co-author of the Financial Analysts Journal paper, “What Happened to the Original Stocks in the S&P 500?” and the Wall Street Journal article, “The Great American Bond Bubble.”

Mr. Schwartz is a registered representative of Foreside Fund Services, LLC. He received a BS in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania – The Wharton School in 2003.

Jeremy Siegel

Russell E. Palmer Professor of Finance at The Wharton School

Jeremy Siegel is the Russell E. Palmer Professor of Finance at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He graduated from Columbia University in 1967, received his Ph.D. in Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1971, and spent one year as a National Science Foundation Post-Doctoral Fellow at Harvard University. Prof. Siegel taught for four years at the Graduate School of Business of the University of Chicago before joining the Wharton faculty in 1976.

Prof. Siegel has written and lectured extensively about the economy and financial markets, has appeared frequently on CNN, CNBC, NPR and others networks. He is a regular columnist for Kiplinger’s and has contributed articles to The Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, The Financial Times and other national and international news media. Prof. Siegel served for 15 years as head of economics training at JP Morgan and is currently the academic director of the U.S. Securities Industry Institute.

Prof. Siegel is the author of numerous professional articles and three books. His best known, Stocks for the Long Run, which published its fifth edition in 2014, was named by the Washington Post as one of the ten-best investment books of all time. His book, The Future for Investors: Why the Tried and the True Triumph over the Bold and New, was published by Crown Business in March 2005 and was named one of the best business books published in 2005 by Business Weekthe Financial Times, and Barron’s magazine.

Prof. Siegel has received many awards and citations for his research and excellence in teaching. In November 2003 he was presented the Distinguished Leadership Award by the Securities Industry Association and in May 2005 he was presented the prestigious Nicholas Molodovsky Award by the Chartered Financial Analysts Institute to “those individuals who have made outstanding contributions of such significance as to change the direction of the profession and to raise it to higher standards of accomplishment.”

Other awards include the Roger F. Murray Prize for best paper presented at Q Group Conferences, 2014, the Graham and Dodd Award for the best article published in The Financial Analysts Journal in 1993 and the Peter Bernstein and Frank Fabozzi Award for the best article published in The Journal of Portfolio Management in 2000.

In 1994 Professor Siegel received the highest teaching rating in a worldwide ranking of business school professors conducted by Business Week magazine and in 2001, Forbes named JeremySiegel.com as one of the “Best Business School Professor” websites.

Prof. Siegel served 15 years as head of economics training at JP Morgan from 1984 through 1998 and is currently the academic director of the U.S. Securities Industry Institute. Prof. Siegel currently serves as Senior Investment Strategy Advisor of WisdomTree Investments, Inc., consulting the firm on its proprietary stock indexes.

Dinner with Barry Ritholtz

Barry Ritholtz

Founder and CIO, Ritholtz Wealth Management

Barry L. Ritholtz is the founder and chief investment officer of Ritholtz Wealth Management. Launched in 2013, RWM is a financial planning and asset management firm, with $743 million in assets. The firm offers a variety of services to the investing public, including LiftOff — a low-cost online-only investment site.

In addition to running a wealth management and financial planning firm, Ritholtz is a frequent commentator on many financial topics. He was named one of the “15 Most Important Economic Journalists” in the United States, and has been called one of the 25 Most Dangerous People in Financial Media. He writes a daily column for Bloomberg View, and previously wrote a monthly column on Personal Finance and Investing for the Washington Post.  He is the creator and host of Masters in Business  a popular podcast on Bloomberg Radio. It is a long-form dive into the minds of the most important people in business and finance.

One of the few strategists who saw the coming housing implosion and derivative mess far in advance, Ritholtz issued warnings about the market collapse and recession in time for his clients and readers to seek safe harbor. Dow Jones Market Talk noted that “many market observers predict tops and bottoms, but few successfully get their timing right. Jeremy Grantham and Barry Ritholtz sit in the latter category…”  (A summary of major market calls can be found here). His observations are unique in that they are the result of both quantitative data AND behavioral economics, a function of his unusual career path.

“The Fine Art of Failure”

Meet Some of Your Faculty

We’ll take your knowledge to the next level

Jeremy Siegel, PhD


Darrel Duffie, PhD

Stanford University

Reggie Browne

Cantor Fitzgerald

Vinay Nair, PhD


Wesley R. Gray, PhD

Alpha Architect

Tammira Philippe, CFA®

Bridgeway Capital Management

Jeremy Schwartz


Chris Meredith, CFA®

O’Shaughnessy Asset Management

Erik Balchunas


Corey Hoffstein

Newfound Research

Mike Pagano, PhD, CFA®

Villanova University

Annette Poulsen, PhD

University of Georgia

Ryan Kirlin

Alpha Architect

Bryan Johanson

RBC Capital Markets

Elisabetta Basilico, PhD, CFA®


Jack Vogel, PhD

Alpha Architect

Liqian Ren, PhD

Vanguard Factor Group

Chris Hempstead

ETF Trading, Deutsche Bank

Kent Daniel, PhD

Columbia University

Barry Ritholtz

Ritholtz Wealth Management

Democratize Quant Agenda

Two Days of Intense Study (Day 2 is Optional)

30-minute presentation; 10-minute discussant; 10-minute Q&A

*Business casual attire

*PDF Version of Day 1

Time Event Lead Faculty
9:00 Registration and Coffee Session  N/A
9:40 Dean’s Welcome and Opening Remarks Villanova Dean
10:00 The Future of the ETF Landscape  Balchunas/Kirlin
10:50 Break  N/A
11:15 Understanding ETF Market Structure Pagano/Vogel
12:05 Break  N/A
12:20 Moderated Panel  Pagano & Panelists
12:50 Lunch/Keynote Nair
2:10 The Factors that Matter  Philippe/Meredith
3:00 Break  N/A
3:30 How to Use Factors Hoffstein/Basilico
4:20 Break N/A
4:40 Moderated Panel Ren & Panelists
5:10 Break N/A
5:25 Fireside Chat Siegel/Schwartz
5:55 Closing Remarks Gray
6:00 Reception N/A
7:00 Dinner Ritholtz

Here is the official schedule on the Villanova Site.

Time Event Lead Faculty
8:15 Registration and Coffee Session  N/A
8:40 Opening Remarks Pagano
8:45 Dean’s Welcome N/A
9:00 Financial Markets Session Multiple
10:15 Distinguished Speaker Kent Daniel
10:45 Coffee Break N/A
11:00 Investments Session Multiple
12:15 Lunch and Keynote Darrell Duffie
1:30 Corporate Finance Session Multiple
2:45 Distinguished Speaker Annette Poulsen
3:15 Coffee Break  N/A
3:30 Financial Institutions Session Multiple
4:45 Reception N/A

Democratize Quant Event Logistics

Empower Investors Through Education.

Are you ready to become a better investor?

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