Visiting Professor Wins Award for Work on Mexico’s Financial System

Fulbright Fellow Omar Romero-Hernandez, a member of the Haas professional faculty, received the 2010 Franz Edelman Award for Achievement in Operations Research and the Management Sciences from The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS). The award was presented Jan. 12 in Mexico City.

Romero was honored for his work as a researcher and leader of a business process design team within Mexico’s central securities depository Indeval. Indeval had collaborated with the Central Bank of Mexico and Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) to develop a new operating and settlement system considered as safer, more reliable, and more efficient than the previous Securities Settlement System (SSS). Settlement systems — used by brokerage firms, banks, insurance companies, and pension and mutual funds — are the core of the financial infrastructure and responsible for concluding financial transactions through transfers of securities and/or cash into clients’ accounts. The system associated with the Edelman honor settles securities operations that average more than $250 billion daily.

Romero-Hernandez worked on the system prior to and during his time at Haas. “It has been an honor to compete with many internationally renowned universities and companies,” says Romero-Hernandez. “I am delighted to see that many of the tools and concepts that we teach at Haas can lead to the accomplishment of one of the world’s most prestigious operations research and management science awards.”

The research produced improved communication protocols, business rules, and best market practices. According to INFORMS, the implementation of the winning operations research in the new SSS strengthened Mexico’s financial infrastructure and allowed financial intermediaries to save more than $150 million per year. Romero-Hernandez says, “This new settlement engine can function with minimal resources while meeting the ever-increasing demands for intraday liquidity and for better risk management tools.”

Romero-Hernandez is a visiting professor working with Haas’ Operations and Information Technology Management Group and teaches Project Management at Berkeley-Haas. He is also conducting research on sustainable business processes with the Center for Responsible Business.