Posted March 14, 2007

Finance and risk expert to revitalize Fox School’s Advanta Center for Research in Financial Institutions

John Cummins
Photo by Ryan S. Brandenberg / Temple University
J. Dave Cummins, new Fox School Joseph E. Boettner professor in risk management and insurance and financial institutions, and director of the Advanta Center for Financial Services, teaches his undergraduate actuarial science class.
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  • Read more about J. David Cummins
This fall, professor of risk management and insurance and of finance J. David Cummins will join the Advanta Center for Research in Financial Institutions at The Fox School of Business as director, and will re-energize the center with new initiatives. Cummins joins The Fox School as the Joseph E. Boettner Chair of Risk Management, Insurance and Financial Institutions.

The Advanta Center conducts research in financial institutions and promotes the study of financial services within The Fox School. Carrying out its research mission, the center also publishes the journal Risk Management and Insurance Review and the Journal of Risk Finance, and has helped a number of doctoral students from the risk, insurance and healthcare management department and the finance department by granting them doctoral assistantships.


Cummins comes to The Fox School and the Advanta Center from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, where he served as the Harry J. Loman Professor of Insurance and Risk Management, and as executive director of the S.S. Huebner Foundation.

“The Advanta Center is very similar to the Huebner Foundation at Penn in terms of objectives,” said Cummins.

“At Advanta, we will be launching a research seminar series. The series will bring in high-ranking professors and industry professionals as guest speakers who will present papers on risk insurance, and financial institutions,” he added.

In anticipation of Cummins joining the center, Fox School Dean M. Moshe Porat said, “Professor Cummins is a great mentor to doctoral students and a prolific researcher, well-known for his contributions to the fields of insurance economics and financial risk management. I look forward to the new energy and perspective he will bring to the Advanta Center and to his faculty position with our top-ranking risk management and insurance program, and with our finance program.”

One new development for the center will be its involvement with The Fox School's new M.S. program in financial engineering. This program, which concentrates on the application of mathematical tools and market experience to evaluate, structure and price financial risk, will be based at the center. The program will begin enrolling students in fall 2007. (For more information, visit The directors of the program are Assistant Professor of Finance John Soss and Professor of Risk Management and Insurance Michael Powers, who is also editor of Risk Finance. For the past four years, Powers has also been the director of the Advanta Center.

In addition to the seminar series and the new financial engineering program, the Advanta Center will begin holding annual conferences, the first of which is about alternative risk transfer in the insurance industry and will be held in Paris in fall 2007. This follows the success of Advanta’s conference on “Global Risk Management: Financial, Operational, and Insurance Strategies,” which was organized by past director Michael Powers.

Powers, also a professor of risk management and insurance, who will stay involved in the center, is looking forward to the new changes.

“Professor Cummins is a most prominent leader in the risk and insurance research field, with broad expertise involving all types of financial institutions,” Powers said.

Cummins is the author of 85 articles that have appeared in academic journals, and a book coming out this month, Handbook of International Insurance: Between Global Dynamics and Local Contingencies. He will also be teaching an actuarial science class this semester on loss distribution and statistics.

Through his teaching, research and direction of the Advanta Center, he will be an excellent addition to The Fox School’s prestigious risk management and insurance undergraduate program, ranked this past fall by U.S.News & World Report as the fifth-best such program in the nation. Cummins also is an important addition to the finance program, which recently was ranked fourth in the United States for research productivity by Academic Analytics.

The Advanta Center for Research in Financial Institutions was started in 1990, when Dennis Alter, chief executive officer of Advanta Corp., created the Advanta Foundation as a way to give back to the Philadelphia-area. Dennis Alter continues to positively affect The Fox School. In 2004, he and his wife Gisela donated the $15 million that kicked-off the construction of the new Fox School facility Alter Hall.

The new building will enable consolidation of the entire extended Fox School faculty, soon to be 185 equivalent full-time faculty; its many bachelors, masters and doctoral programs; and its more than 6,000 students.