HOME Recent Events RMI in the News ALUMNI
  Issue 6 | Archive  

February 2011

Siddiqi Shares Thoughts on Derivatives and Financial Engineering at RMI’s Public Lecture

"It's not about products; it's a way of thinking" - this was the theme of the latest NUS-RMI public lecture on January 26. Organized in conjunction with its Master of Science in Financial Engineering (MFE) program briefing session, the public lecture was delivered by Lutfey Siddiqi, the Managing Director and Asia Pacific Head of Corporate Coverage, Fixed Income, Currencies and Commodities Division (FICC) of UBS, to share his opinions on derivatives and financial engineering from an industry practitioner's perspective.

An Adjunct Professor at RMI and one of the MFE program lecturers, Siddiqi spoke in a personal capacity to a crowd of over 80 people at Suntec City Convention Centre on the Wednesday night. He started off by describing financial engineering as the match-making and risk framework which involved responding to various situations with solutions as well as identifying quants and structurers. Then, he pointed out that people should bear in mind two fundamental assumptions when handling derivatives: first of all, life is non-linear; secondly, things are interlinked. He then quoted three vivid illustrations derived from real life, which included FX options, carry trades and basis swaps, to support his arguments. The way of thinking is far more important than the technical skills of creating exotic financial products, opined Siddiqi, who was the managing director of foreign exchange Asia-Pacific at the British bank Barclays before joining UBS in 2010.

In the second half of his talk, Siddiqi spoke to the audience about the transformation from a graduate to a professional by offering them a few insightful tips on job interviews and early days on the job. He particularly stressed the importance of the narration of a person's resume to make it stand out from the rest. Showing attitude of personal accountability is also the key to the success of a job interview, he added.

Following Siddiqi's talk was the MFE program briefing session. MFE Program Director, Research Associate Professor Keshab Shrestha explained the entry requirements, application process and the syllabus of the program to those who were interested to pursue the MFE Degree. RMI also invited two student speakers to give the participants a different perspective. The two students were Gerald Tong, Assistant Vice President, Program Management Office at Singapore Exchange who just graduated in June 2010, and Sabrina Tan, Executive, Financial Decision Support at Barclays Capital, who is currently pursuing her MFE degree on a part-time basis. They both spoke on their experiences with the program and highlighted the importance of MFE for those who want to enter the financial industry. For those who are already working in financial sector, they also pointed out the theoretical knowledge they acquire from the MFE courses would help them understand their work and the financial products they deal with in a more systematic and comprehensive manner.

An interactive Q&A session ensued with questions directed to all speakers. Many of the audience stayed back to speak to the various speakers as well as MFE program coordinators before calling it a day.

Back To Newsletter

Published quarterly by Risk Management Institute, NUS
Editor: Ivy Wang (rmiwy@nus.edu.sg)