June 26, 2023by Cristian0

Always fun to be on the CBC News’ Weekend Business Panel. This week I was asked to talk about the price fixing fine on Canada Bread, Equifax’s reporting small businesses have significantly increased their credit card debt (and reduced loans), and the most livable cities ranking from The Economist.

With respect to the second point, in general it is not a good sign. It is not clear why businesses are using more revolving debt (no good reason though), but the reduction in traditional lending does reflect lower investment in the future. I think the pinch of inflation plus high cost of debt is being felt more widely already. The FT called it the “pain phase” earlier this week: the period where rates are high, but inflation still hasn’t come down.

See my thoughts below!

June 8, 2023by Cristian0

The Bank of Canada raised the interest rate once again, shocking a section of the market. I honestly expected this as the fundamentals aimed at it, with inflation still high, a tight labour market, the US still very aggressively raising rates, and the time it takes for people to renew their mortgages and take higher rates. Also, relative to inflation interest rates are still around historical averages.

It sadly does mean higher debt costs for everyone. This will also mean a slowdown in the medium term, but how big will this be (either a recession or not) is anyone’s guess. Canada has a safer banking system, so interest rate risks are significantly lower, giving more runway to the BoC for future rises.

CTV News London interviewed me about this yesterday. I speak around 6 minutes in.

May 29, 2023by Cristian0

I had the opportunity to be at CBC News‘ Power and Politics on Friday speaking about the debt ceiling. First time in a TV studio! Time went so fast I didn’t even mentioned anything about the specific impact on the stock and bonds markets of either a shutdown or a default. As there is a deal now, my second point on the specifics of the deal are more important. Any deal could impact Canada’s bottom line for years to come. So far, it seems like a general reduction in spending growth to no more than 1% yearly, rather than specific programs cut, we’ll know in the next few days. These are good news for Canada in general, at least much better than cuts that could threaten specific strategic industries.

The interview is below, I start at 29:18.

Extending the coverage, the Canadian Press interviewed me about it. The interview was then featured at The Toronto Star, here. Also, CIXXFM here in London took a bit of a different path, focusing more on the personal finance side of it (don’t panic!!). This interview can be read here.


May 20, 2023by Cristian0

I had the true honour of being invited by Prof. Ali Hirsa to present at this excellent workshop. The organizers review 1400 abstracts published during the year and select the ones that according to them reflect the most significant research at the intersection of ML and Finance. Our work with Kamesh Korangi and Christophe Mues, “A transformer-based model for default prediction in mid-cap corporate markets” [paper, ArXiV], was one of them!

Excellent roster of speakers, including people from MIT, Stanford, Blackrock, Morgan Stanley, and of course, the hosts Columbia and Bloomberg. Everything went amazing except that the IT team lost a few of my slides, but I think the audience did not mind very much. I look forward to keep engaged with such an excellent team moving forward. Here are a few pictures of the event.

Cristián on the stage before his presentation at the Alfred Lerner Hall

The presentation was at the amazing Alfred Lerner hall at Columbia University. 400 attendants from industry and academia were present.

The stage at the Alfred Lerner hall

April 24, 2023by Cristian0

Stock image of code of ethics

During 2022 I had the pleasure of participating on a series of workshops discussing the challenges in AI applied to financial institutions. I was part of a group of 30 professionals from industry and academia. The forum was organized by the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI), Canada’s prudential banking regulator. These discussions will inform the future regulation in the area that OSFI is targeting for release later in the year.

The report discusses the EDGE model for financial institutions: Ethics, Data, Governance, and Explainability. It aims to provide general guidelines to strike the right balance between regulation and innovation. I greatly enjoyed all discussions that led to this report, in my minor capacity as participant.

Give it a read in this link.

April 17, 2023by Cristian0

I was on the CBC panel again this weekend! This week we spoke about the BoC’s decision to keep the monetary policy rate steady, the Mercer report on Millennial renters needing 50% more upon retirement (not a fan of the study) and Amazon’s Bedrock & Titan, although my producer cut me off because we were running out of time. I had a lot more to say about AI!

What I didn’t say on Saturday: I believe we will end up in a three-tiered world: A first world of companies developing these models (having the technological capacities and data availability to properly train them). A second world of companies that can take outputs of these models, or available public models and fine-tune them over either private or public infrastructure (BloomberGPT for example and several research projects I am working on). And a third world of companies that will be technology takers and deploy these technologies either via live services (such as Amazon Bedrock) or via prepackaged assistants (such as LLM-powered Bing or Microsoft’s Copilot).

See the panel below.