PhD Defence: Thomas Pistorius
In his dissertation ‘The Rhetoric of Investment Theory. The Story of Statistics and Predictability’, ERIM’s Thomas Pistorius gives attention to a lot of ideas to change finance: the alternative statistical theory of Mandelbrot, bubble theory, political finance, the analysis of rhetoric, the analysis of culture, innovative practices, ethics in the form of virtue and value ethics, and the history of finance. How to make the culture of finance more heterogeneous? That starts with awareness of the current problems, the introduction of multiform metaphors for investment theory, and handling the ambiguity of theory uncertainty, by presenting, explaining and elaborating the alternatives.
Thomas Pistorius defended his dissertation in the Senate Hall at Erasmus University Rotterdam on Thursday, 14 January 2016, at 11:30. His supervisor was Prof.dr. S.J. Magala. Other members of the Doctoral Committee were Prof.dr. A. de Jong (RSM), Prof.dr. A. Klamer (ESHCC), and Prof.dr. T.P. Kocken (VU).
Thomas Pistorius was born in 1965 in Dongen in the Netherlands. In 1991 he obtained a MSc in finance (in Dutch: drs.) from Tilburg University. In 1999 he finished the postgraduate VBA-education, the Dutch CFA-equivalent for becoming an investment and financial analyst. In his professional life he has for the last 20 years been working in investment management as an investment advisor, analyst, risk manager, and researcher.
His research interest as a MSc-student in finance and as a researcher at the investment management company Robeco at the research institute IRIS has been on mathematical-statistical analysis of investment theory. Besides his interest in the science of finance, he is also attracted to arts. In September 2010, he completed a BA in philosophy at Utrecht University. In his dissertation finance and arts meet in the form of the rhetoric, history, philosophy, and culture of investment theory to discuss the problem of stochastical predictability.
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- Beyond statistics, a new rhetoric for investment theory. 2014. Journal of Organizational Change Management
- Dynamisch ALM-beleid voor pensionfondsen. 2011. VBA-journaal
- Opkomst aandelen bij Nederlandse pensioenfondsen. 2005. IRIS Research
- Aandelen, een zaak van lange termijn. 2004. IRIS Research
- Beleggen in de BV of privé. 2003. Belastingbrief
- Klikfondsen. 2001. In handbooks ‘Opties en Futures’
- Beleggen vanaf 2001: van fiscaalgedreven naar rendementgedreven. 2000. Vakblad Financiële Planning (VFP)
- Lijfrenteaftrek of zelf beleggen onder Vermeend? 2000. VFP
Uncertainty is a feeling of anxiety and a part of culture since the dawn of civilization. Civilizations have invented numerous ways to cope with uncertainty, statistics is one of those technologies. The rhetoric as the discourse of investment theory uncovers that the theory of statistics applied is a blind spot in the current conversation about investment theory and practice. Probability and prediction in investment theory look like a tying sale, since investment theory is founded on stochastical predictability. The proof of unpredictability, however, lies outside the paradigm of statistics, because statistics assumes that the substrate, that produces probability outcomes, is stable.
The theory of objective probabilities founds the Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM) but does not stochastically predict, and neither do Markowitz’s subjective probabilities for his portfolio theory. Statistical models for investing have a function, despite that they cannot predict: in essence, the models try to quantify statistically the equity, the fairness of the distribution of risk and return between parties involved.
In the dissertation, a lot of ideas to change finance have had attention: the alternative statistical theory of Mandelbrot, bubble theory, political finance, the analysis of rhetoric, the analysis of culture, innovative practices, ethics in the form of virtue and value ethics, and the history of finance. How to make the culture of finance more heterogeneous? That starts with awareness of the current problems, the introduction of multiform metaphors for investment theory, and handling the ambiguity of theory uncertainty, by presenting, explaining and elaborating the alternatives.
Photos: Chris Gorzeman / Capital Images