Three financial sector leaders will discuss financial crisis Oct. 23 at Iowa State

AMES, Iowa -- Three financial leaders, whose collective expertise encompasses the regulatory and regulated sides of finance in domestic and international markets, will discuss the financial crisis during a roundtable at Iowa State University. "The Financial Crisis: What Now?" will be at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 23 in the Memorial Union Great Hall. The roundtable is free and open to the public.

The speakers, all Iowa State University alumni, are: James Overdahl, chief economist, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Washington, D.C.; Robert Baur, chief global economist, Principal Global Investors, Des Moines; and Ned Zachar, Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), portfolio manager, KLS Diversified, New York City. James Paulsen, chief investment strategist, Wells Capital Management, Minneapolis, is unable to attend as originally scheduled.

The roundtable was organized last spring by the economics department, said Arne Hallam, professor and chair of economics.

"Long before the current crisis, we invited them to campus in conjunction with Homecoming and the presentation of alumni awards," Hallam said. "Fortuitously (or not), the financial crisis occurred in the meantime. We have asked them to share their perspectives on how the crisis is affecting their respective firms or agencies, and how they're responding."

Hallam said the speakers would also discuss the underlying forces leading to the current financial crisis, and options for managing the crisis in the short and long terms. The format will include an eight-minute talk by each speaker and the opportunity for written questions from the audience.

Additional topics include non-performing financial assets, concentration of risk, information concerning risk embedded in derivative instruments, short- versus long-run liquidity, insurability of risk, Main Street's involvement in making initial loans, gainers and losers from government purchase of mortgage-backed securities, potential profits from security purchases, degree of regulatory oversight and its differing implications on alternative financial structures, risk exposure of top executives and boards of directors, and crises of confidence.

The roundtable is part of the National Affairs Series: "How Will America Change?" It is cosponsored by the Department of Economics, the National Affairs Committee, the William G. Murray Lecture Fund, and the Committee on Lectures, which is funded by the Government of the Student Body.

Brief biographies of the speakers are included below.

James Overdahl

Overdahl has been SEC chief economist and head of the commission's Office of Economic Analysis since July 2007. He previously served five years as chief economist of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. A specialist in financial derivatives, Overdahl has nearly two decades of experience in senior positions at federal financial regulatory agencies. Prior to his government service, he was an in-house consultant for Strategic Petroleum Inc., Dallas, Texas; and taught economics and finance at the University of Texas, Georgetown University and John Hopkins University. He is an adjunct professor at George Washington University. Overdahl earned his doctoral degree in economics from Iowa State in 1984.

Robert Baur

Baur, who has been with Principal Financial since 1995, was named chief global economist of Principal Global Investors in 2007. His responsibilities have grown from research analysis to managing an international portfolio to heading global trading with a portfolio valued at $265 billion and a client list that includes half of the country's 25 largest pension funds. Baur is responsible for all economic analysis at Principal, including forecasts, reports and presentations to client groups. He is a member of Gov. Chet Culver's Council of Economic Advisors. Baur earned his bachelor's degree in mathematics in 1967 and his doctoral degree in economics in 1992, both from ISU.

Ned Zachar

Zachar is CFA and portfolio manager at KLS Diversified, a new fixed income multi-strategy hedge fund. He previously was with Madoff Securities. He received a bachelor's degree in economics from Iowa State in 1984.