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FINCAD Announces Women in Finance 2021 Award Winner

The award supports women pursuing advanced degrees in financial studies and encourages women to break through the glass ceiling of the financial industry.

FINCAD, a pioneer in providing pricing, modeling and risk analytics, recently announced the winner of its 2021 Women in Finance Scholarship. The winner is Diana Laura Alvarez Vizcarra from Mexico. She will receive a $20,000 award to support her continuing education as she studies for her Master of Science in Computational Financial Mathematics at University of Edinburgh.

Traditionally, the financial sector has largely been a male-dominated industry. According to a 2019 analysis from Deloitte, women accounted for just under 22 percent of leadership roles at U.S. financial services firms. Additionally, about 30 percent of senior officials and managers in the finance and insurance industries were women, according to data from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. These numbers drop even more for women of color in the finance industry.

Celebrating ambitious women in finance

The FINCAD Women in Finance Scholarship launched in 2014. It aims to support outstanding women in the financial world pursuing advanced degrees. It particularly supports women in the areas of financial asset management, market risk management and derivatives finance within capital markets. A $20,000 USD award is given to one woman annually to help support her graduate-level studies in Finance. Half of the award goes directly to the winner. The remaining half goes directly to her educational institution to assist with tuition. Female applicants from all countries can apply. They must be enrolled in a post-graduate program (master’s or PhD) in Finance at an accredited university. All applicants must be attending the program on a full-time basis during the 2021 – 2022 academic year.

“The candidates for the 2021 scholarship represented a diverse cross-section of talent and expertise,” said Mark D’Arcy, CEO of FINCAD. “Every applicant brought something unique to the table, including a phenomenally wide array of educational and career goals. It was difficult to narrow down our choice to just one, but Diana’s story, experience and goals kept rising to the top with our selection committee. I couldn’t be happier with the response to our program and this year’s winner.”

An impressive resume

Vizcarra’s extensive resume of professional experiences are part of her drive to return to the classroom.

“I want to continuously update my industry knowledge and my skills in new technologies, combining my graduate studies and my professional career to address future challenges and make a positive impact,” Vizcarra said. “The master’s in computational financial mathematics is my best option to make an impact and to become a risk manager.”

After studying actuarial sciences, Vizcarra found a passion for quantifying the uncertainty in financial risks and potential future costs. She completed her social service in the National Bank of Foreign Trade. There she refined her skills in analyzing and evaluating hedges in bonds and swaps. Her resume also includes time with the Mexican Stock Exchange. Alvarez provided pricing services, calculating value at risk and determining yield curves. She designed a software suite to simulate asset prices in stress scenarios before being hired as a risk analyst. She soon earned a position as a credit risk manager. In that role, she developed credit strategies and scoring models to mitigate losses and fraud.

A promising future

As she counts down the days to the beginning of her graduate studies, she is proposing new tools and systems to better underwrite, oversee and manage loans through Genworth. She is also designing risk mitigation actions, including the integration of pricing and models, and a new methodology based on the Vasicek model.

“My next big challenge is to modify and validate the processes to adjust to Basel III, and to analyze and measure its impacts,” Vizcarra said. “Once I complete my studies, my goal is to be the leader of a risk management team. Mexicans face many barriers, including gender inequality, and access to graduate education. I want to support gender-inclusive economic development by developing projects focused on innovation and decision-making through technology. I want to solve problems and ultimately make a difference in someone’s life.”

For more information about FINCAD’s Women in Finance Award visit: https://fincad.com/about#women-in-finance

About FINCAD

Backed by more than 30 years of experience, FINCAD is a pioneer in providing pricing, modeling and risk analytics to financial institutions such as asset management firms, banks, insurance companies, hedge funds as well as over 75 Alliance Partners. From the most basic to the bespoke, FINCAD has the financial engineering expertise to address any derivative challenge. FINCAD empowers global organizations to optimize risk and return through simplified and direct control over the valuation and analytics of derivatives. With the most precise, transparent and scalable technologies for pricing derivatives and fixed-income products, FINCAD’s highly dedicated customer support team goes above and beyond to help customers achieve their goals. FINCAD is headquartered in Vancouver, Canada.

Read about “$avvy,” a documentary that explores women’s financial wellbeing.