CRAFT Holds Annual Advisory Board Meeting

For the first time, the meeting was held at a CRAFT industry partner headquarters in New York City.

The Center for Research toward Advancing Financial Technologies (CRAFT) recently held its fifth Industry Advisory Board Meeting. For the first time, the meeting was held at a CRAFT industry partner headquarters in New York City. The collaboration between Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Stevens Institute of Technology and the industry host proved to be very beneficial in solidifying many long-lasting relationships.

The first day of the conference included academic presentations, panel discussions and three keynote speakers. In addition, five research-project proposals, which were pre-vetted during the September “lightning round” pitches, were presented. The second day consisted of an administrative session, presentations by four primary investigators of currently funded projects, a closed session and a final report. Three gentlemen speak during the CRAFT Advisory Board Meeting cocktail reception.


Keynote: United Nations “Fintech Fundamentals and their ESG Applicability in Driving Market-Share Growth”
  • Randy Delbart Letang, Chairman/President/CEO Founder, SGP BioEngergy

Observations from a business standpoint, accelerating the mechanisms of how consumers learn, fintech foundations, ESG applications and driving market share growth.

Keynote: UK Fintech Landscape
  • Maggie Chen, Personal Chair, Professor of Financial Mathematics at Cardiff University, UK Fin+ Director

  • Karen Elliott, Chair (Full Professor) of Practice in Finance at University of Birmingham Fintech Business School, UK Fin+ Director

  • Sheena Robertson, University of Birmingham, School of Computer Science, UK Fin+ Project Manager

Discussion of the UK Fin+ mission and project team, Kalifa review and objectives and areas of strength in the UK, key points, national connectivity recommendations, CFIT (Centre for Finance, Innovation, and Technology), the relative size of UK Fintech, UK research and innovation through EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council).

Panel Discussion: Fintech Innovation and Commercialization
  • Paul Lashmet (Moderator), Business Integration Architect, Park Avenue Finance

  • Nathan Pierce, Founder and CEO, Park Avenue Finance

  • John Short, Senior Vice President, Business Development Manager, Bank of America

  • Jeff Stewart, Managing Director, GPO Fund

Topics included developing a big-picture view of IP, defining “know-how” and creating buckets of IP, reducing investment friction, simplifying the licensing framework and efficient methods of capitalization.

Academic Presentation: University of Manchester
  • Jian-bo Yang, Chair in Decision and System Sciences at the Alliance Manchester Business School and Director of the Decision and Cognitive Sciences Research Centre

  • Karim Derrick, Chief Products Officer, Kennedys IQ

A presentation of Fintech research at the University of Manchester, the need for explainable AI (XAI), properties of the evidential reasoning rule, explainable AI loan underwriting decision making, XAI fraud detection, and Kennedy IQ’s next-generation risk management.

Keynote: Decentralized Finance and CBDC
  • Gilles Chemla, Professor of Finance at Imperial College Business School, Co-Director of Imperial's Centre for Financial Technology

Ideas covered included Stablecoins and CBDCs, gave an introduction of the technology, and spoke about cryptocurrencies as money, what a Stablecoin is, tether (USDT), USD coins, alternatives to provide stability, stablecoins, markets and the economy, the limitations of stablecoins, what CBDCs are, and stablecoins vs CBDCs.

Two people pose for a photo at the CRAFT Advisory Board Meeting reception.Panel Discussion: Workforce Development, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion
  • Eric Leininger, Executive Director, Financial Research & Product Development, CME Group

  • Kumar Bhaskaran, Global Innovation & Technology Scout, Office of CTO, IBM Cloud

  • Michael Oliver, Senior Talent Acquisition Americas, SWIFT

  • Eric Brubaker, Senior R&D Manager, Charles Schwab

A panel designed to discuss important topics that are meaningful to the students, professors and industry members, including engagement of industry and academia, the gap or need to align trends in technology and business with academia and business and the challenges and opportunities between new technology such as generative AI and human talent.


“Unpacking Failed Big-Ticket M&A: Exploring Behavioral Characteristics and Decision-Making Dynamics Using Deep Learning Models”
  • Suman Banerjee, Associate Professor, Stevens Institute of Technology, School of Business

“Large Transaction Models for Fintech”
  • Kristin Bennett, Professor, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Lally School of Management

“A Next Generation AI-Powered Financial Advisor”
  • Jacek Ossowski, Teaching Associate Professor, Stevens Institute of Technology Charles V. Schaefer Jr. School of Engineering and Science

“Semantically Enhanced Graph Neural Networks for Event-Driven Financial Impact Analysis”
  • Mohammed Zaki, Professor and Department Head of Computer Science, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

“An Initial Framework to Inderstand Financial Systems Resilience”
  • Jose Ramirez-Marquez, Associate Professor, Stevens Institute of Technology, School of Systems Enterprise