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$12 Million Gift to Establish Center and Prize for Financial Research

September 13, 2011, Volume 58, No. 03

Bruce Jacobs Kenneth Levy

The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania announced a $12 million gift from Bruce Jacobs and Kenneth Levy, classes of 1986 and 1982. The gift will include $10 million to establish the Jacobs Levy Equity Management Center for Quantitative Financial Research and $2 million to fund the Wharton-Jacobs Levy Prize for Quantitative Financial Innovation. This commitment marks one of the largest gifts to The Campaign for Wharton, the school’s ambitious $550 million fundraising effort.

The Jacobs Levy Equity Management Center for Quantitative Financial Research will enable the school to develop and expand its resources in an important field of study within finance. The Center will support faculty research projects in quantitative finance and will fund PhD dissertation fellowships for doctoral students pursuing dissertations in quantitative financial research. It will disseminate its research through a White Paper Series hosted on its website, as well as an annual conference that will bring together academics and practitioners. Donald B.  Keim, Wharton’s John B. Neff Professor of Finance, will be the director of the Jacobs Levy Equity Management Center for Quantitative Financial Research. The Wharton-Jacobs Levy Prize for Quantitative Financial Innovation will recognize one or more persons who have published peer-reviewed journal articles that demonstrate outstanding research that has contributed to a particular innovation in the practice of quantitative financial analysis and asset management. By focusing specifically on financial innovation, the prize is anticipated to become one of the most distinguished awards of its kind. The recipient(s) of the award will receive a cash award of $80,000, and will be chosen by a five-person Selection Committee of prominent academics and practitioners. The prize will be awarded every other year at the Jacobs Levy Center’s conference.

“The Jacobs Levy Center will build upon Penn’s rich tradition of applying interdisciplinary approaches to help solve the complex problems facing the world today,” said University of Pennsylvania President Amy Gutmann. “In addition to inspiring generations of thought leaders in both academia and industry to advance quantitative finance, the Wharton-Jacobs Levy Prize will distinguish itself in recognizing innovation and excellence in the field. We are very grateful for Bruce and Ken’s vision and generosity.”

“We believe that establishing a research center and a prize for innovation will foster the advancement of quantitative financial research and practice,” said Bruce Jacobs, co-founder of Jacobs Levy Equity Management. “Given recent market volatility and economic uncertainty we think the timing of this gift could not be more critical as investors are seeking new solutions to meet their growing funding gaps.”

“Bruce and I both emerged from Wharton’s doctoral program into an investment world that had little patience for academic notions such as the efficient market and random walk hypotheses. We created Jacobs Levy Equity Management to apply the academic ideas and tools we had learned at Wharton, expand upon them, and put our proprietary research into practice in the real-world pursuit of value-added investing for clients,” said Ken Levy, co-founder of Jacobs Levy Equity Management. “Our firm’s success is a testament to the usefulness of quantitative financial research.”

The Center will incorporate these core values:

Knowledge for Action: Prepare the next generation of business leaders with new knowledge by funding innovative research.

Promoting Academic Pursuit: Create a new cadre of academics (PhDs) who continue to push the boundaries of existing financial knowledge.

Good Governance: Promote research in, and the practice of, good governance and ethics.

Knowledge for the Future: Embolden research in finance that can help investors meet their goals, based upon the innovative ideas of Jacobs Levy as well as the respected strength of Wharton’s Finance department.

“The establishment of the Jacobs Levy Equity Management Center for Quantitative Financial Research is an extremely significant event for the Wharton School and for the field as a whole,” said Thomas S. Robertson, Reliance Professor of Management and Private Enterprise and dean of the Wharton School. “The Jacobs Levy Center not only will have a transformative effect on quantitative finance, but also will keep Wharton at the forefront of innovative models and financial research. With the firm’s strong ties to Wharton and exceptional commitment to pioneering quantitative financial research, Jacobs Levy Equity Management is an ideal partner in this endeavor.”

Almanac - September 13, 2011, Volume 58, No. 03