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Financing future success

‘Everything good happened after I came to Concordia’
May 25, 2022

Stylianos Perrakis | Photo by David Ward

Stylianos Perrakis’s decision to endow scholarships in finance at Concordia was born of pure gratitude.

“I was approaching the mandatory retirement age for my previous position. Concordia offered me a job at age 62,” he says.

Perrakis — the RBC Distinguished Professor in Financial Derivatives at the John Molson School of Business — started teaching at Concordia in 2000 following a distinguished 30-year career at the University of Ottawa.

“Concordia trusted me.” Perrakis says that some of his most important work has happened at Concordia. A specialist in the financial product derivatives, he has been working on a theory that challenges beliefs established by Nobel Prize-winning scholars in the 1970s.

“Derivatives, which represent billions of dollars in daily trade, are used to manage risk and speculation,” he says. “The accepted belief is that markets evaluate their value correctly.”

The scholar openly challenges this axiom on the basis that the derivatives market is not a level playing field. “A small group of very large firms — like Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan — arbitrate between themselves to realize virtually riskless profits. They have cornered part of the derivatives market. Smaller companies cannot compete.”

Perrakis co-published a paper and made a presentation about his research to the Royal Society of Canada in 2021. “It has created a battle.”

In addition to his academic work, Perrakis, who grew up in Greece, is about to publish a biography of a heroine of the Second World War resistance in Greece. That follows his 2006 memoir, The Ghosts of Plaka Beach: A True Story of Murder and Retribution in Wartime Greece, in which he recounts the story of an uncle who was murdered by communists in occupied Greece.

“I am working harder today than I did when I was trying to get tenure!” 

Perrakis endowed the Phyllis Sternberg Perrakis Memorial Graduate Scholarship and Undergraduate Scholarship for Honours in Finance Students in memory of his late wife. The couple met when they were graduate students at the University of California, Berkeley, in the 1960s.

“Everything good happened after I came to Concordia,” says the scholar, who was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2007 and appointed a member of the Provost’s Circle of Distinction at Concordia in 2009.

“I figure that a young man or woman with merit will benefit from this funding — and that’s good. What those students do will benefit everybody.”

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