Dr. Abena F. Owusu

Assistant Professor | Accounting and Finance | Feliciano School of Business
Location: 361
Telephone: 973-655-3947
Fax: 973-655-7968
Email: owusua@montclair.edu

Biography

Abena holds a Ph.D. in Finance and an M.S. in Financial Engineering and Risk Analytics from the Lally School of Management at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI). Before joining RPI, she got her B.S. in Actuarial Science with a minor in Statistics from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Ghana. Abena's primary research interests in financial institutions, risk governance, big data and application of machine learning in Finance.

Expertise

Corporate Governance<br>Big Data Analytics<br>Machine Learning in Finance

Education

  • Ph D, Finance, 2020, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY
  • MS, Financial Engineering and Risk Analytics, 2014, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY
  • BS, Actuarial Science, 2012, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana

Professional Experience

  • Teaching Assistant, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. (August 2016 - May 2020).
  • Research Assistant, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. (August 2015 - May 2020).
  • Research Fellow, Global Association of Risk Professionals. (June 2014 - January 2015).

Honors and Awards

  • Best Paper Award , 17th Finance, Risk and Accounting Perspectives (FRAP) Conference. (September 2019).
  • Don Shohfi Best Doctoral Student Paper Award , Lally School of Management, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. (May 2019).
  • Spring 2014 GARP Research Fellowship , Global Association of Risk Professionals. (May 2014).
  • Masters’ Scholars Research Program Award , Lally School of Management, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. (August 2013).

Research

  • Climate change poses as a serious risk for insurance firms, threatening the affordability of the impact of insurance risks and sustainability of the firms. In this paper, we assess and distinguish between insurance firms’ response to climate change risks, and examine how their climate change risk exposures relate to their financial and governance characteristics. Using a text mining approach, we build a climate change dictionary with three sub-dictionaries - risk, impact and response, and apply a ‘nested structure’ feature extraction approach to extract, define and classify insurance firms’ adaptation levels to climate change risk exposures. We find that insurance firms with high exposure to climate change physical risks (event-driven (acute risk) and long term shift in climate change patterns (chronic risk)) present a high level of adaptation response to the pecuniary impact of the risks. Furthermore, these insurance firms have lower financial performance measures compared to insurance firms with low exposure to climate change risks. Relating the climate change risk features to quantitative firm characteristics in a classification and regression tree analysis, we find that reinsurance liabilities and reinsurance assets of insurance firms, in addition to the depreciation of tangible fixed assets, reserves and plant, property and equipment largely dictates climate-related risks of insurance firms.
  • Is the risk culture of insurance firms different from that of banks? In this paper, we compare the risk culture in both financial industries by extending the unsupervised machine learning approach used to identify the risk culture of banks in Gupta and Owusu (2019) to insurance firms. Using a K-means clustering technique, we group our sample of 10-K text documents filed by insurance firms into three distinct risk culture clusters and define them as good, fair and poor risk culture groups. Validation of our cluster analysis shows that, insurance firms with a sound risk culture have higher return on asset, return on equity and Tobin’s Q ratios and have more independent and female directors on their boards. In comparing the risk culture of insurance firms to that of banks, we observe that although both firms disclose more of their positive risk leadership, strategies and portfolio in their annual reports, the uncertain and litigious risk leadership and strategies are more defining of their risk culture. We also find that for insurance firms uncertain and litigious risk training, education and recruitment is significant when defining the risk culture. This clearly indicates the importance of having trained risk professionals like actuaries, within the insurance industry to engage in risk decision and risk management.

Refereed Published Articles

  • Bhattacharya, S., Gupta, A., Kar, K., Owusu, A. (2020). Risk management of renewable power producers from co-dependencies in cash flows. EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF OPERATIONAL RESEARCH, 283 (3), pp. 1081-1093.