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Sung Won Sohn, speaker

Sung Won Sohn

    • WSJ's Most Accurate Economist
Full Bio
Fee Range

$10,000 - $15,000

Travels From




Dr. Sung Won Sohn is a Professor of Business at Loyola-Marymount University. He is also president of SS Economics, an economic consulting firm focused on the U.S. economy, international trade in the pacific-rim and technology including Artificial Intelligence. Dr. Sohn was the President and Chief Executive Officer of Hanmi Financial Corporation, a commercial bank in Los Angeles, California. Before joining Hanmi in 2005, Dr. Sohn was an Executive Vice President and Chief Economic Officer at Wells Fargo Banks. He was also Vice Chairman of the Board at a retailer Forever 21.

Dr. Sohn also serves as Commissioner for LACERS (Los Angeles City Employee Retirement System) and Chair of the Investment Committee, managing $17 billion in assets. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for Western Alliance Bancorporation and National Association of Corporate Directors PSW. He is a Trustee Emeritus at Claremont Graduate University.

Dr. Sohn was Martin V. Smith Professor of Economics at California State University CI and director of the Institute for Global Economic Research (IGER) forecasting economic and investment conditions in the Pacific-rim countries.

Prior to Wells Fargo, Dr. Sohn was a Senior Economist on the President's Council of Economic Advisors in The White House. He was responsible for economic and legislative matters pertaining to The Federal Reserve and financial markets. Dr. Sohn has also been a tenured professor in Pennsylvania State University System.

In 2001, Bloomberg News selected Dr. Sohn as one of the five most accurate forecasters in the United States. In 2002, Blue Chip Publications picked him as the most accurate forecaster for the Western States, and he was named to Time Magazine's Board of Economists. In 2006, The Wall Street Journal featured a story naming Dr. Sohn as the most accurate economist in the United States. This is one of the most prestigious honors in the economics profession.

Dr. Sohn was chosen as one of the 100 most influential Minnesotans of the 20th century by the state’s largest daily newspaper, The Star Tribune. Others on the list included Charles Lindberg, Sinclair Lewis, Hubert Humphrey, Walter Mondale and Charles Schultz of Peanuts.

Dr. Sohn was a Commissioner of the Port of Los Angeles, the nation’s largest seaport. He has served on the boards of Hanmi Financial Corporation, First California Bancorporation, Cryo Cell International, Ministers Mutual Life Insurance Company, LA Music Center (Performing Arts), Children’s Bureau of Los Angeles, Foreign Affairs Council of LA, Park Nicollet Health Services, The Blake School, Minnesota Community College System, North Memorial Medical Center, Harvard Business School Association of Minnesota, Crystal Evangelical Free Church, Children's Theater Company, and the American Heart Association of Minnesota and Girl Scouts of Minnesota.

He is the author of two books: Global Financial Crisis and Exit Strategy (2009) and The New Economy (2014).

Dr. Sohn was educated at the University of Pittsburgh, Harvard Business School, and MIT.


Interaction of The Economy (both U.S. + Global) and the Financial markets

• The U.S. economic recovery is in its 11th year. Is a recession on the horizon? There are many uncertainties here and abroad. How will the financial markets behave in the future? History shows that with any kind of economic growth, there is 84 percent probability of a rising stock market. In this environment, how should you manage your business and financial assets going forward?
• An important aspect of the discussion is the global economic outlook from China to Mexico. The mutual dependence of the economies will be included.


U.S.- China Rivalry and You

• The world’s two largest economies are drifting apart. The trade war is only a part of the story. China sees America bullying a new emerging economic and military rival. It reminds China of the humiliation the country suffered in the 19th century when the western powers imposed unfair treaties on China. In America, a vast majority of Americans see China as an unfair trading partner---an economic predator--- stealing intellectual property. America sees this as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to correct Chinese behavior. Washington is emboldened by the strong economy and a healthy stock market.

• Convergence No More: America believed that economic prosperity in China would lead to democracy. That illusion is gone now. China is viewed as malevolent actor interfering in U.S. politics, trading unfairly and seeking global leadership competing with the U.S. on every front.
• The convergence of Mood in America on China: Small business people, farmers, political on the right and left agree that China is an economic, ideological, military rival. The trade war is just a part of the big picture.
• China’s view on America has hardened: The western powers have humiliated China for generations. America wants to block the rise of China globally. China, through the Communist Party and President Xi Jin Ping, must stand tall and not back down. China is in the “New Era”.
• China has advantages: The economy is growing twice as fast as the U.S. China is ahead in advanced technology including AI, Quantum computing, biotech, battery, etc. The government-industrial complex is working overtime toward China 2025.
• How does the U.S. deal with the China threat?
• How will your businesses be affected by the confrontation?
• What should your business do to cope with the changing dynamics?

Artificial Intelligence: Will You Disrupt or Be Disrupted by It

• Will you miss new opportunities and be swept aside or will you create new markets and disrupt existing ones? Will your jobs be safe from AI? Safe and vulnerable jobs in the face of the new megatrend are discussed. This presentation visits China, the leader in AI and how it is applied there. The speech briefly explains what AI is and how it can be used in your business. Next, some examples of how AI is used in different industries (retail, banking, Investment, etc.) are discussed.
• Financial institutions are under attack from fintech. Banks, for example, could be left with regulated businesses and huge balance sheets, while technology companies occupy a profitable portion of the business. In Hong Kong, Alibaba and Tencent have received banking licenses. America may not be far behind.

Speaking Topics:

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