Aurele Houngbedji is one of a growing number of people who see the PRM as a valuable tool to advance their careers

Profile

Name: Aurele Houngbedji, Ph.D., PRM
Title: Senior Financial Analyst
Company: Ohio Savings Bank (OSB)

Currently: In this role I provide analytical, quantitative statistical, and risk management supports for the Capital Markets group. I am involved in several financial risk related projects within the bank. I participate actively in developing the new OSB hedging model. I developed, implemented, and maintain Mortgage Backed Securities price/yield functions for hedging mortgage pipeline, and a new model to measure loans fallout risk or mortgage pipeline risk.

Background: After a Ph.D. in Mathematical Finance at the University of Pittsburgh in April 2000, I started my career as analyst in the Capital Markets group at Ohio Savings Bank, one of the top mortgage banks in the U.S.

I hold a Ph.D. in Mathematical Finance from the University of Pittsburgh, an MS in Applied Mathematics from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and a Maitrise in pure Mathematics from the University of Cote d’ Ivoire (West Africa). During my three years as a professional in the financial industry, I gave several presentations at both academic and practitioner events in both the U.S. and Europe. In addition to being a practitioner, I am very active in theoretical research as well. I am originally from the republic of Benin (West Africa) and I speak French.

What have been the key factors to success in your career?

I believe that my ability and willingness to learn from others and work very hard are key factors. In addition I read a lot about new techniques and methodologies every day from publications. The risk profession is growing very fast, and I am personally driving by the desire to be at the top of the game.

What interesting projects are you working on right now?

Currently, within the capital markets division, we are developing a new model to hedge OSB loans commitments. Part of my responsibility in this project is to build a state of the art model to measure loans fallout risk or mortgage pipeline risk, a key input for the hedging model, using a Monte Carlo technique. I am also implementing a Risk Based Pricing model; a model designed for pricing residential loans based on the loan characteristics using credit value at risk type approach.

Why did you decide to pursue the PRM designation?

When I started my career at OSB, I quickly realized that having a Ph.D. degree in a quantitative field may not enough to be successful in financial industry. To succeed as a risk professional, it is very important to have not only the required quantitative skills but also be able to understand the financial markets, the business, and to have the ability to explain complex mathematical ideas to our clients, traders, and other people with less quantitative background. The PRMIA PRM program meets my criteria to achieve my goal and I perceive it as a benchmark in the risk Management industry. Having the designation is proof that I understand risk. In addition to all these, there is the intangible value and the prestige associated with having the PRM designation.

How does the PRM benefit those who prepare for and pass it?

The PRMIA PRM is very beneficial because the program covers all type of financial risks, ethics, and much more. It tests candidate’s financial markets and technical knowledge, and addresses all kinds of issues faced by risk professionals every day. I personally found the case study questions extremely helpful.

What would you say to others who are considering the PRM for their company or are considering pursuit of the PRM on their own?

Whenever I have the opportunity, I talk to people in the in the risk profession about the PRMIA and its PRM program. I definitively recommend the PRMIA PRM program, because it is important to our industry, and it gives exposure to key materials useful for risk professionals. I see it as a benchmark of knowledge.

About Ohio Savings Bank

Ohio Savings Bank and its AmTrust Bank division share a rich and successful history. Founded in Cleveland, Ohio in 1889, Ohio Savings Bank has grown from a local savings and loan to a nationally recognized leader in retail banking, wholesale mortgage lending and construction lending. Ohio Savings Bank ended its first year with one branch office and $20,000 in assets. Since then, we have grown to nearly $12 billion in assets, and are one of the 20 largest mortgage lenders in the United States.