Q&A with Mine Wealth + Wellbeing's new Quant Analyst March 2016


Adam Shao enjoyed an academic career with a focus on addressing population ageing issues and retirement risks before moving to 'the dark side'. Now, as a quant analyst at Mine Wealth + Wellbeing, he tells Industry Moves that he's looking forward to applying these learnings to developing better retirement solutions for members, as well as increasing industry awareness of the issues.

What are you most looking forward to in the new role?

I have always been passionate about applying my academic skills to industry and doing something that contributes to society. The role at Mine Wealth + Wellbeing provides me with a great opportunity to work on topics I am passionate about. For example, one of my key research areas is pricing and design of retirement products accounting for a broad range of risks. The stochastic modelling skills I have developed in my academic career can add great value as we strive to develop better retirement solutions for our members.

What are your biggest goals for the first 12 months?

My biggest goal is to make a contribution to our super fund’s effort to improve members’ retirement outcomes.

…and your greatest challenge/s?

Many academic people call the industry ‘the dark side’. This is because our industry can neglect many important issues. The greatest challenge I can think of is helping people understand the cutting-edge research undertaken in this field by the academic community and raising the whole industry’s awareness of these important issues.

Who do you most admire and how have they influenced your life/work?

Professor Michael Sherris, my PhD thesis supervisor at UNSW, has shaped my research area and personality. From him I learnt rigorous research skills and most importantly a strong work ethic. These are invaluable assets which I will take with me through life.

What is the best advice you've been given?

David Bell gave me the best advice to join Mine Wealth + Wellbeing… though I think his advice may have been biased.

Where did you grow up?

I was born and brought up in Xianyang, China. Xianyang was the capital city of the first imperial dynasty of Ancient China called Qin dynasty which dates back to 2,230 years ago. So yes, lots of solid Chinese history was taught in my childhood. I then went to Beijing for undergraduate and postgraduate studies, before I came to Sydney for my PhD studies in 2011.

What was your very first job?

After completing my PhD I was a postdoctoral research fellow at UNSW and at the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research (CEPAR). In this job, I worked on projects that aim to tackle the population ageing problems and retirement risks that we face in Australia and many other countries.

Do you have a secret skill/hidden talent?

I have been playing table tennis since age 10.

Is there a particular cause or charity that you support?

Yes, Care Australia aims to defend dignity and fight poverty.

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