UMass Amherst finance Professor Ben S. Branch to Give First Distinguished Faculty Lecture Oct. 22

AMHERST, Mass. Ben S. Branch, professor of finance and operations management at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, will give the first Distinguished Faculty Lecture of this year’s series on Monday, Oct. 22 at 4 p.m. in the Massachusetts Room at the Mullins Center. The event is free and open to the public.

Branch’s talk is titled, “If Markets Aren''t Efficient, Why Aren’t You Getting Rich?”
He will examine the question of whether markets are able to incorporate available information into prices quickly and effectively. Branch will also discuss why most professional investors only earn average returns.

He will also examine where very successful investors such as Warren Buffet fit into the financial world. The talk will address these questions and discuss how investors tired of 5-percent return rates on certificates of deposit could earn at least the historic market average of 9 percent to 11 percent and perhaps build on the little opportunities that would allow them to do somewhat better financially.

Branch joined the university in 1975 and is a professor of finance and operations management at the Isenberg School of Management. He was acting department chairman in the spring of 1999; doctoral program director for ISOM from 1989-91; associate chairman of the department of general business and finance from 1982-85 and acting chairman in the summer of 1981; and chairman of the ISOM management personnel committee from 1982-83 and 2005-present. Prior to coming to UMass Amherst, Branch was an assistant professor of economics at Dartmouth College from 1970-75.

In addition to his teaching and research interests in investment, corporate finance, bankruptcies, strategic planning, futures markets, corporate finance and industrial
organizations, Branch has served as a Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee for the Bank of New England Corp. from 1991-present. Branch was a director of Proactive Technologies Corp. from 1997-99 and manager of VFBLLC from 2001-present. He was the chairman of the senior unsecured creditors committee of the First Republic Bank Corporation from 1989-91 and chairman of the board from 1991-94. He was an ex officio director of the BankEast Corp. from 1991-93. He is a member of the Academic Advisory Council of the Turnaround Management Association from 1999-present.

Branch earned his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Emory University in 1965; a master’s degree in economics from the University of Texas in 1968 and a master’s degree and doctorate in economics from the University of Michigan in 1969 and 1970, respectively.

The other participants in this year’s series are Stephen G. Sireci, department of educational policy, research and administration, who will talk on Tuesday, Dec. 11; H. Martin Wobst, department of anthropology, who will give his lecture on Monday, March 3, 2008; and Sara Lennox, department of languages, literatures and cultures, who will speak on Monday, April 28, 2008.

A reception follows each talk. Faculty members in the series receive a Chancellor’s Medal following their lecture. The Chancellor’s Medal is the highest honor bestowed on individuals for exemplary and extraordinary service to the campus. The lecture series is sponsored by the offices of the chancellor and the provost.