NYU LogoRiskEcon® Lab for Decision Metrics

Courant Institute for Mathematical Sciences


David K.A. Mordecai

  David K.A. Mordecai

   Tel: (212) 998-3277

   Email: mordecai at cims.nyu.edu

   60 Fifth Avenue, 3rd Floor, New York, N.Y. 10011



David is lead investigator at the RiskEcon® Lab for Decision Metrics, established in 2011 in order to apply a range of computational methods to analyze commercial, consumer and population-related societal trends, and Visiting Scholar at the Courant Institute for Mathematical Sciences at New York University (NYU). In his senior advisory capacity for the lab, he leads technical oversight for research activities exploring applications of agent-based computing and statistical inference, in conjunction with machine learning systems and methods, to a broad range of commercial and institutional contexts.

Between 2012 and 2015, he held a joint appointment as Senior Research Scholar for Computational Economics of Commerce, Law and Geo-Politics at the NYU Stern Graduate School of Business. In 2010, he was invited to become a Fellow, as well as a member of the Advisory Board of the Mathematical Finance Program at Courant, having served as a guest lecturer for the program since 2006.

He has served as an adjunct instructor of applied mathematics at Courant, as well as an Adjunct Professor and an active member of the working group for the NYU Center for Data Science (NYUCDS) at its inception. In this capacity, he mentors students across various NYU divisions, including Stern, Tisch ITP (Interactive Technology Masters Program) and NYU Tandon School of Engineering. In March 2014, he was appointed the Course Director to lead the NYUCDS Capstone graduate applied research program in its inaugural year (Fall 2014). He is also associated with the NYU Social Media and Political Participation Lab (SMaPP), an interdisciplinary collaboration that researches the relationships between social media and political behavior.

He earned a Ph.D. with concentrations in Econometrics/Mathematical Statistics and Economics/Industrial Organization from the University of Chicago, and an M.B.A. in Finance from the NYU Stern School of Business. His dissertation research applied principal components analysis to risk-based leverage estimation with a focus upon empirical tests of the limits of arbitrage, and how market shocks trigger contagion via the financing of highly leveraged financial institutions during periods of extreme market volatility. In addition to studying financial economics and market microstructure, as well as the economics of law, regulation and industry structure, his doctoral education included the study of Bayesian decision theory, social network analysis and behavioral economics.

Since November 2013, he was appointed and continues to serve as the first Scientist-in-Residence at FinTech Innovation Lab, an accelerator platform for early and growth stage technology firms, organized by The Partnership Fund for New York City in conjunction with Accenture and a consortium of venture capital firms and global financial institutions.

David K.A. Mordecai is also President and co-founder of Risk Economics, Inc., a New York City based advisory firm, which specializes in the application of computational economics to the proprietary development and scalable implementation of robust modeling and data analytic frameworks for valuation, strategic and systemic risk analysis, and dynamic asset-liability management. The scope of activities includes applying the expertise of Risk Economics in product development, as well as FinTech strategy and process engineering, to the commercialization of R&D for risk and liability management analytics.

As lead for the RiskEcon® litigation, regulation and arbitration expert advisory practice, David Mordecai serves as an expert on loss causation and economic damages related to market structure, financial institutions governance, and complex issues related to finance, economics and market standards and practices within securities, derivatives, reinsurance, and commodities markets, as well as market structure within a broad range of non-financial industry sectors. Having testified extensively at deposition, trial, arbitration and international arbitration, he has been admitted as an expert in federal, state and county courts, and cited favorably in court decisions. Dr. Mordecai advised the Uniform Credit Committee in the bankruptcy resolution of Lehman Brothers, and provided technical oversight for the valuation team, assigned to validate the fair market value of the exotic structured notes portfolio with a notional value in excess of 15 billion dollars. He has testified in Federal Claims Court regarding market evidence and commercial reasonability surrounding the Government rescue of AIG, and advised on a merger-related intellectual property dispute involving Samsung and Microsoft.

During his thirty year tenure in the financial services industry, David has served as a Managing Director at Swiss Re, where he led Relative-Value Market Strategies, a quantitative economics and financial engineering function with the global mandate to develop firm-wide and industry standards, benchmarks and frameworks for the valuation and trading of exposures underlying long-dated life, health, medical and pension liabilities as well as geopolitical risk. Prior to this, he served as Senior Advisor to the Head of Swiss Re Financial Services. Previously, at a multi-strategy hedge fund with $10 Billion of assets under management, he was Managing Director of Structured Products, responsible for $5 billion of CDO assets. Prior to his role as a hedge fund manager, he was Vice President of Financial Engineering/Principal Finance at AIG, and a Director at the rating agency Fitch. During the first decade of his career, he specialized in credit analysis and the origination, structuring, and trading of leveraged loans for non-recourse project finance and highly leveraged transactions involving corporations and financial institutions.

David has served as an advisor on systemic risk issues to the Federal Reserve, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the US Treasury, and the Commodities and Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), and as an advisor on hedge fund valuation issues to the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO). He coauthored the second working paper published by the Treasury Department's Office of Financial Research, entitled Forging Best Practices in Risk Management. He has also been a member of the Investment Advisory Committee of the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX). He is the founding Co-Chair of the International Association of Financial Engineers’ (IAFE) Liquidity Risk Committee, and has actively served on the Steering Committee of the IAFE’s Investor Risk Working Group on hedge fund and CTA disclosure issues, as well as the Advisory Board.

David was the founding Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Risk Finance (JRF ca.1999), a quarterly peer-reviewed research periodical, which addresses topics in financial risk intermediation. He remains a senior member of JRF’s Advisory Board subsequent to its sale by the original publishers Institutional Investor/Euromoney to Emerald Publications. He has published numerous articles on topics including hedge fund strategies, structured credit, and weather and insurance derivatives. He has also served on the advisory committee for Chartered Alternative Investment Analysts (CAIA) Association, and on the editorial board of the Journal of Alternative Investments. In addition, he has been a guest lecturer at Columbia University, at the Graduate Business School, the Engineering/Operations Research Division, as well as the School for International and Public Affairs.

In Fall 2016, David was elected to the board of governors of New York Academy of Sciences, a membership organization founded in 1817 with over 20,000 members, including research scientists at universities and industry, as well as representatives of business, government, and policy organizations, in 100 countries. In addition, he has served on the board of directors of Hudson Highlands Land Trust since 2007. He is also a member of the leadership council of Black Rock Forest Consortium, a 4,000-acre natural living laboratory for field-based scientific research and education, operated by a consortium of twenty-three colleges and universities, public and independent schools, and scientific and cultural institutions. He previously served as a member of the board of directors of Scenic Hudson, one of the nation’s three largest conservation organizations, and during his second term, co-chaired their Science Committee.

His biography has been published in the Marquis publications Who’s Who in the World, Who’s Who in America, and Who’s Who in Finance and Business.


Research Interests:

  • Applications of generative agent-based modeling, spatio-temporal mapping and social computing to forensic geopolitical, socioeconomic, psychometric, sociometric, demographic, syndromic, and environmental surveillance, inference and analytics.
  • Market-consistent enterprise risk and liability management applications of scalable, robust cyber-physical adaptive learning and pervasive, embedded computing systems. 
  • Institutional and industry configuration, market microstructure, and commercial process engineering applications of computational linguistics, law and economics.
  • General methodological interests and experience include: applications of high-dimensional computational and graphical statistics to Bayesian experimental design, simulation and statistical inference; applied principal components and dimension reduction methods; applied information geometry, graphical statistical modeling and network analysis; applied functional data analysis, nonparametric hierarchical mixture and kernel models; latent variable analysis; applied generalized linear and logistic regression models and discrete choice methods, algorithmic natural and social computing frameworks; robust market-based predictive estimation, pricing and valuation applications of auctions and parimutuel exchange mechanisms.