Research & Innovation

Stevens’ Leadership in Finance is Earning Interest Around the U.S.

Back-to-Back Conferences on Finance, Cybersecurity, Entrepreneurship Attract Researchers, Industry Leaders to School of Business

Three panelists answering questions during the FinCyberSec conference in Hoboken.
Peter Thermos, center, president of Palindrome Technologies, makes a point during a panel discussion at FinCyberSec. Looking on are Andy Ellsweig, left, a vice president at Investors Bank, and Tim Green, information security officer for Kearny Bank.

Industry and thought leaders around the country are getting a closer look at why Stevens Institute of Technology is so widely respected as a leader in finance.

The university’s School of Business hosted two back-to-back conferences on finance, technology and innovation that brought hundreds of practitioners and academics to the Hoboken, NJ, campus for in-depth examination of financial cybersecurity and entrepreneurial finance.

With a location just minutes from Wall Street and a curricular and research emphasis on how technology and analytics are creating new opportunities in finance, both conferences were a natural fit for the School of Business, home to a series of undergraduate and graduate programs in finance.

FinCyberSec 2017, which took place May 31, offered a deep dive into the issues surrounding the emerging threats, compliance issues and security effectiveness in this arena, said Dr. Paul Rohmeyer, an industry associate professor at Stevens who organized the conference in partnership with the New Jersey chapter of ISACA.

The headlines are full of the disruption caused by single attacks, Dr. Rohmeyer said, “but finance is unique in the sense that there is so much partnership between companies and markets. For a single financial institution to deliver on your services, they need to draw on contributions from multiple players. That interdependency has created tech-driven business opportunities, but a malware breach to one company could disrupt the whole value chain.”

A unique degree of expertise

The School of Business, he said, is in a unique position to offer insights on the complexity of these problems, owing to its strengths in areas like technology management, finance, accounting, business and computer science.

Dr. Paul Rohmeyer introducing a panel of speakers at the conference.
Professor Paul Rohmeyer introduces a panel of speakers at the FinCyberSec conference. It's the second year Dr. Rohmeyer has run the event.

“At Stevens, we’re fortunate to have a depth of expertise in these domains, and our size and our working environment are very conducive to collaborating on these multidisciplinary problems,” Dr. Rohmeyer said.

The need for scholars of varied backgrounds to investigate the systemic challenges of finance helped Stevens usher in the Hanlon Financial Systems Center. This research center, home to two state-of-the-art financial analytics labs, allows for research and instruction into how the data revolution is transforming this industry.

FinCyberSec is now in its second year, and Dr. Rohmeyer typically hosts a distinguished speakers event in the fall to coincide with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s National Cybersecurity Awareness Month.

Fintech’s impact on startup activity

On June 1, meanwhile, the School of Business opened a two-day conference examining the new sources of financing available to entrepreneurs seeking to bring tech-driven products or services to the market. The event, Emerging Trends in Entrepreneurial Finance, presented research findings about the implications of a fintech-driven explosion in funding channels available to startups.

Dr. Stefano Bonini, an assistant professor of finance who created the conference, said this new ecosystem affects investors and entrepreneurs, and ultimately will help shape global economic growth.

“At Stevens, we have a long history of innovation and a unique expertise in finance and technology's roles in disrupting established business models.”

Dr. Stefano Bonini, assistant professor

“The last 20 years have been momentous, in terms of how innovation has reshaped our lives and the way we do business,” Dr. Bonini said. “Innovation, technology and finance are intimately related, because businesses like Uber, Facebook and Amazon have been made possible because of this convergence between innovation and entrepreneurial finance.”

Stefano Bonini
Dr. Stefano Bonini.

Among the topics explored during the conference were the changing role of venture capital in the face of technology-driven disruptions, angel activity in supporting new ventures and how the availability of new financing sources is changing business startup activity.

Emerging Trends in Entrepreneurial Finance was intended as a one-time event, but Dr. Bonini said participation and audience feedback convinced him to turn this into an annual event. Just this week, he secured sponsorship to bring the conference back next year.

“At Stevens, we have a long history of innovation and a unique expertise in finance and technology’s roles in disrupting established business models, which resonated strongly with our audience,” he said. “I’m excited for more in-depth discussion around these topics next year.”