On December 1, 2021, a historic joint program was held between the Armenian Bar Association and the Armenians in Banking & Finance organizations called New Trends & Developments in Personal Finance & Financial Markets. The program was held at the magnificent rooftop of the Horizon Building, in midtown Manhattan, overlooking the East River and the Manhattan skyline, which was graciously made available by Emma Arakelyan.
Lawyers, financial professionals, engineers, investors, and others interested in the major shifts and changes in the financial markets and investment models were gathered to learn, share information, engage in existing networks and form new connections.
Souren A. Israelyan, the Vice Chair of Armenian Bar Association’s NY/NJ/CT Chapter opened the event by welcoming the organizers, panelists, sponsors, and guests. He stressed that the dramatically changing commercial landscapes and financial markets create big risks yet open great opportunities. Like at the dawn of the Sail Age with the Julfa Armenian Trade Network, and the dawn of the Oil Age with the Armenian network in the oil industry, both of which significantly accelerated and contributed to the human progress, at the present time, at the dawn of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and Metaverse, opportunities exist and networks are being formed by and for the Armenians that could assist in the human progress. He reminded that engaging in networks often brings the result-multiplying effect.
Sebouh Nahabedian, a cofounder of the Armenians in Banking & Finance (“ABF”) organization, moderated the program. Sebouh spent 22 years at Blackstone, a diversified alternate asset management firm based in New York City, working in various leadership capacities across several of its businesses. From 2010 through 2018, he joined Blackstone’s Credit Investing Group and was responsible for strategic planning and oversight of its business management groups including finance, technology, investment operations, risks, and taxes. The credit investing business grew from approximately $10 billions in assets under management (“AUM”) to over $120 billions in AUM during that time. From 2018 through 2020, he helped launch Blackstone’s Insurance Solutions Asset Management Group managing over $25 billions in AUM as its Head of Finance and Operations.
With Sebouh, on the panel were Raffi Setrakian, a cofounder of ABF and a highly sought out research analyst and short- and long-term equity strategist in financial markets, and Gregory J. Amerkanian, the Senior Vice President at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management.
The panelists discussed many aspects of the current public equity market activities, including valuations, fluctuations, market players’ anticipations, and various strategies. They drew parallels with the past market activities and emphasized where the current market activities are in unchartered territories. The panel discussion also addressed the quality of information available to retail investors and the roles of wealth managers. The increasing hyper cryptocurrency markets and non-fungible tokens, commonly called NFTs, were also discussed. Considerations of risks and pitfalls were stressed as investment options are considered. After the panel discussion, a lively question-and-answer period ensued.
Thereafter, Yelena Nersesyan, a member of Armenian Bar Association’s NY/NJ/CT Chapter Board, presented the sponsors of the event and provided them with an opportunity to make brief presentations. Peter Zakian of Sotheby’s International Realty shared his role in assisting people to invest in real estate assets in one of the world’s top real estate markets, in New York City. Dickran M. Kabarajian of Equitable Advisors shared his advice for early investment and explained by examples of significant advantages that could be gained in taking early action. Armen Kherlopian presented cognaize, a company that operates in the big data extraction business space and is its founder Vahe Andonians’s fourth startup company, based in Germany and with significant operations in Armenia, and is poised to be a unicorn. Lastly, Emma Arakelyan shared information about the BAJ Accelerator, a collaboration between Baltic-American Chamber of Commerce, Orion Worldwide Innovations, and Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute at Cornell Tech, which has and continues to assist a growing number of startups in Armenia and around the world with education, fundraising, client development, and opportunities to invest as angel investors in these startups.
After the presentations, Yelena Nersesyan introduced Nuné Melik, a world acclaimed violinist, who performed on the 1827 Jean Baptiste Vuillaume violin, on a loan from the Group Canimex. Her performance of the Armenian and non-Armenian classical and contemporary pieces mesmerized and transported the audience into the magical land where music, sounds of wind and emotions coexist in perfect harmony.
The audio-visual services was provided by Ashot Krikorian of IAN-Audio, photography by Jonathan Levin of Pixel Mojo Productions, and the Voice of Armenians TV NYWatch Voice of Armenians TV program about the event aired on December 19th, 2021
View Photos of the event by Jonathan Levin