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Dr Evan Gilbert appointed chairperson of the Southern African Finance Association (SAFA)

20 March 2007

Associate Professor Evan Gilbert of the UCT Graduate School of Business (GSB) has been elected chairperson of SAFA, an academic driven organisation geared to advancing finance-related research, teaching and learning capabilities in the region.

He takes the reins from Professor Colin Firer, also from the UCT GSB, who served on the Association in this capacity for some sixteen years.

Professor Firer and his colleagues originally set up SAFA as a channel to enable finance academics to network and share research perspectives and works in progress. Since its inception, the Association has hosted an annual conference to this end and has engaged finance practitioners as well in order to share new knowledge.

The Association has a membership of nearly 150 finance academics, many from neighbouring countries such as Botswana, Namibia, Swaziland and Zimbabwe.

Dr Gilbert said that some of his aims, as the new Chairperson, are to improve the link between finance academics and practitioners as well as promoting the practice of research, with particular emphasis on assisting emerging researchers.

"There is a vibrant research community and each year new papers are presented at the annual conference on a variety of facets of finance. Through a greater participation from practitioners there is an opportunity to raise interesting new questions for researchers to answer,' he said.

Dr Gilbert has in the last 24 months concluded studies that have proven of great interest to the Southern African finance and investment community.

First was a study that proved the existence of mean reversion of share returns on the JSE from 1983 - 2005 (with Colin Firer, Michael Eidne and Estelle Cubbins). He has recently concluded a paper investigating the impact of liquidity on this observed mean reversion for the same period (with Greg Bailey).

Other recent work by Dr Gilbert includes a study revealing that relaxing exchange controls could be good for the SA economy in the long term (with Herman Steyn of Prescient Investment Management), and a study estimating the equity risk premium for South African equity markets (with Colin Firer).

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