Algorithmics, now IBM Analytics, considers the Professional Risk Manager program to be a key ingredient in the professional development of its financial engineers.


Name: Ben De Prisco
Title: Vice President, Research & Financial Engineering
Company: Algorithmics, Inc., Toronto, Canada, (500 employees)

Job Function: In this role he is responsible for the research, financial engineering and architectural design of risk management functionality within Algorithmics’ flagship product, Algo Suite.

Background: Ben joined Algorithmics in 1995 as a Financial Engineer. Since then, he has worked on numerous client implementations and risk management consulting engagements with various large, global financial institutions. Ben is also a major contributor to and designer of Algorithmics’ current Market Risk, Credit Risk, ALM and Asset Management capabilities. Prior to joining Algorithmics, he worked as a financial analyst for IBM Canada in their Software Development Laboratory.

Mr. De Prisco holds a Bachelor of Business Administration and a Masters of Business Administration from the Schulich School of Business at York University in Toronto; and is also a Chartered Financial Analyst.

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

Perhaps the biggest factor is having an open mind with the willingness to listen to new ideas and learn from others. Risk Management is a constantly evolving discipline with new ideas, methodologies and techniques being introduced at a rapid pace. The willingness to embrace these changes and work closely with clients and other market practitioners to adopt such changes has certainly helped.

What interesting projects are you working on right now?

The upcoming Basle II regulations represent yet another step in the evolution of risk management best practice. Incorporating operational risk and a more risk-sensitive approach to credit risk allows the regulatory rules to more realistically reflect an enterprise approach to risk management. At Algorithmics, we are not only working towards satisfying the requirements brought on by Basle II but are also looking forward to the requirements of Basle III and beyond where consistent, holistic, internal models for all risk types will be used to ensure efficient allocation of capital for our clients.

Why did you decide to promote the PRM within Algorithmics?

When we took a close look at the Professional Risk Manager program, we liked what we saw. The course content is current, comprehensive and reflective of the knowledge required by those engaged in today’s risk management discipline. Promoting the PRM within Algorithmics was seen as a natural way to continue to set industry leading standards for our staff in both skill set and knowledge base.

How will the program benefit your financial engineers and the company as a whole?

The continual development of our staff is not only a worthwhile endeavor internally but is also an absolute must in a knowledge-based industry subject to constant advancements. Endorsing the PRMIA certification will provide us with an avenue to continue setting industry leading standards for our staff. This results in highly skilled (and marketable) financial engineers capable of providing the highest caliber of risk management consulting services to our clients. Moreover, the global presence of the program ensures consistent standards and benchmarks for all our financial engineers worldwide, allowing for a geographically diverse workforce while still ensuring common standards of skills and knowledge. Finally, the program’s emphasis on ethical conduct and best practice standards ensures our financial engineers operate in a manner governed by both professionalism and integrity; two key elements that have formed cornerstones for Algorithmics since our inception.

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

The PRM represents a key ingredient for the professional development of anyone currently in risk management or those looking to get into a challenging career in risk management. The program embodies a core set of competencies and knowledge base that is quickly becoming a "benchmark" for the industry. I would highly recommend the program.

About Algorithmics

Algorithmics was founded in 1989 in response to the complex issues surrounding financial risk management for the enterprise. Today, Algorithmics continues to focus its efforts on creating and implementing enterprise risk management software that meets the evolving needs of its customers. Continuing its tradition, Algorithmics introduced Mark-To-Future (MtF), a risk-reward management framework, which won Risk magazine’s Technology Development of the Year award for 2001. Headquartered in Toronto, with 15 offices around the world, Algorithmics serves more than 140 global clients in 26 countries.

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