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CBE Welcomes Professor Antje Berndt

CBE Welcomes Professor Antje Berndt

1 August 2016

It’s clear that newly-appointed Professor Antje Berndt of CBE’s Research School of Finance, Actuarial Studies and Statistics (RSFAS), aims to make her contribution to ANU relevant, thorough, meaningful and long-lasting. “I want to help to improve the footprint of finance at ANU, how it’s considered in Australia and in the broader worldview,” she says.

Born and raised in Germany, Professor Berndt has attained an enviable academic record. Having completed a Masters in Mathematics of Finance at Ivy League school, Columbia University, Antje went on to complete her PhD in Statistics at Stanford University in California – all within the space of five years. 

Antje joined CBE in early 2015 as Adjunct Professor, before taking on the position as Professor in mid-2016. A specialist in asset pricing, and with a focus on fixed income markets, Professor Berndt’s field of expertise broadens and strengthens RSFAS’s overall finance portfolio. “I am part of the smaller group here in asset pricing, so I want to strengthen particularly asset pricing. But I am also excited about exploring research opportunities at the intersection of asset pricing and corporate finance,” she says.

There is much about her work at CBE that Professor Berndt finds inspiring. Contributing to a better understanding of how financial markets work, how products are priced and what risks investors worry about are just some of the thoughts that motivate her. She also enjoys being able to delve deeply into financial problems, being able to develop a complete understanding of the issues at hand, and then being able to offer the best explanation possible, based on that understanding. “That’s what’s challenging me,” she states.

One such issue facing the world of finance today is understanding how to deal with zero or even negative nominal interest rates. “… Traditional interest rate models have been restricted or worked on the assumption that interest rates are a positive number. But zero or negative rates can no longer be ruled out. The fed fund target rate in the US hovered near the zero lower bound between 2009 and 2015. In 2014, several European central banks lowered key rates below zero, and in 2016 Japan did the same. How do you build this into the term structure models we’ve been teaching for the past 20 years?”

It’s a theoretical issue with some very real-world implications, as Professor Berndt points out. “How can you explain why savers in Germany should keep their money in a bank account if they earn a negative interest rate on it?” she asks. “Is it the fear that if they leave it at home under their mattress it may be stolen? Or are borrowers willing to pay for the convenience of leaving money in a bank account? What determines the price that financial institutions can charge for storing cash and providing security?”

In 2017, Professor Berndt will be developing and teaching a PhD course in Asset Pricing.

Updated:   2 March 2017 / Responsible Officer:  CBE Communications and Outreach / Page Contact:  College Web Team