LQG 2023/04/11 – Causal AI for Investment Management: Separating potential from pitfalls- Seminar by Ben Steiner

Causal AI for Investment Management:
Separating the potential from the pitfalls

Seminar by Ben Steiner

11th April 2023 – In-Person and On-Line – Hybrid

The LQG is very grateful to BlackRock for hosting this seminar.

A PDF of the slides presented are available to download here

Causal AI is a new set of techniques designed to reason about the world like humans (according to AI visionaries) and which are becoming increasingly visible:
•    “To build truly intelligent machines, teach them cause and effect.” Judea Pearl, Turing Award winner 2011, Author ‘Book of Why?’, 2018
•    “Causality is very important for the next steps of progress of machine learning.” Yoshua Bengio, Turing Award winner 2018
•    The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in memory of Alfred Nobel, awarded to Professors Joshua Angrist and Guido Imbens for “analysis of causal relationships”, November 2021
•    “ADIA Award for Causal Research in Investments” Prize announced in the areas of finance and economics, with particular interest to investment strategies, December 2022.
So, what are causal techniques and where is the value for investment management?
This presentation first introduces causality and covers the foundational concepts using a simple example from one type of algorithm.  We then review several potential applications before concluding with assumptions, limitations and weaknesses to separate the potential from the pitfalls of these techniques.


Ben Steiner

Columbia University

Ben Steiner’s experience is at the intersection of machine learning and model risk management for investment firms. His expertise combines hands-on technologies, delivering strategic projects and implementing model risk frameworks.
He helps asset managers and institutional investors deploy causal AI technology to add value by offering explainability and integration into human decision-making.
With a history of successful leadership roles, including chief-of-staff in the Global Fixed Income division of BNP Paribas Asset Management, Ben’s focus is on delivering long term sustainable value for his clients. Earlier in his career, Ben was Head of Model Development, Portfolio Manager & Quant Researcher at investment managers and quantitative hedge funds.
Ben is a well-regarded speaker at computational finance and machine learning events and holds a BA (Hons) Economics from the University of Manchester and an MSc Mathematical Finance from Imperial College, London. Ben is also a lecturer at Columbia University and Director of the Society of Quantitative Analysts (SQA)

Dan diBartolomeo