Harry M. Markowitz was named the inaugural winner of the $80,000 Wharton-Jacobs Levy Prize for Quantitative Financial Innovation, according to a statement Wednesday by the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
The prize committee reached back more than two decades to honor Mr. Markowitz, laureate of the Nobel Prize in economics and adjunct professor of finance at Rady School of Management, University of California, San Diego.
Mr. Markowitz was recognized for “his groundbreaking innovations in individual retirement planning, including his article, 'Individual Versus Institutional Investing,' published in 1991 in Financial Services Review.
“No one better embodies the excellence in quantitative research for which this prize is awarded,” Bruce Jacobs, principal, Jacobs Levy Equity Management, said in an interview. “With the shift from defined benefit to defined contribution plans, the responsibility for retirement planning has fallen more and more on the shoulders of individual workers who face a proliferation of investment choices. I expect his contributions to the field of retirement planning will be as influential as his achievements in portfolio theory.”
“The nature of the award is for innovation, not … for best paper,” Mr. Jacobs said. In this instance, the prize committee among nominations that were considered “reached back to 1991 for innovation that had a significant effect on (investment management and retirement planning) practice. These innovations can take some time to develop. There is a gestation period.”
The award will be presented to Mr. Markowitz in New York at the Oct. 23 Forum on Quantitative Finance hosted by the Wharton School's Jacobs Levy Equity Management Center for Quantitative Financial Research.
The center plans to award the Wharton-Jacobs Levy Prize biennially to an individual or individuals who have exhibited excellence in quantitative research and have contributed to a particular innovation in the field of finance.