Campus News

Alumnus, former Merrill Lynch CIO to discuss markets, investing

Ashvin Chhabra

The physics and astronomy department in UGA’s Franklin College of Arts and Sciences will welcome alumnus Ashvin Chhabra, former chief investment officer for Merrill Lynch, back to campus to present a guest lecture.

Chhabra’s lecture, “The Aspirational Investor: A Physicist Reflects on Financial Markets and Investing,” will be held April 28 at 3:30 p.m. in Room 202 of the physics building. Co-sponsored by the Center for Simulational Physics and the physics and astronomy department, the lecture is open free to the public.

The stock market crash of 2008 brought to the forefront questions about the stability of financial markets: Are financial markets stable? Was the crash an unexpected aberration? How should individual investors invest over a lifetime? Why are otherwise smart people such lousy investors? What does Modern Portfolio Theory tell us about investing, and where does it fail? Does behavioral finance capture investor mistakes correctly?

Answering these questions from a physicist’s viewpoint, Chhabra leads to a new framework for investing that extends Modern Portfolio Theory to incorporate large deviations such as bubbles and crashes. The colloquium will not assume prior knowledge of the subject matter and is instead aimed at an audience with a variety of backgrounds.

Chhabra is president of Euclidean Capital and manages the endowment for the Simons Foundation. He was CIO of Merrill Lynch Wealth Management and CIO for the Institute for Advanced Study. He received a bachelor’s degree in physics in 1982 from St. Stephen’s College in New Delhi, India; a master’s degree in physics from UGA in 1984; and a doctorate from Yale University in applied physics in 1989.