Ralph Y. Liu is the Founder and Chairman of California-based Advanced e-Financial
Technologies, Inc. (AeFT). AeFT is currently a research and consultancy firm. It has been one of
the major providers for financial innovations in the new real estate and property derivatives field
since its inception in 2001. AeFT's earlier seminal REIFO venture attempt in early 2002 on
REIFO Exchange was regarded as the first online real estate index futures and options
exchange in the global financial derivatives industry. Here below are some published references
on the original real estate derivatives project for establishing and clarifying the patent prior art
purposes regarding business method inventions in the global real estate industry.
- Futures and Options Week, "First Online Exchange for Real Estate Futures", Vol. 7,
Number 36, September 16th, 2002 (page 3).
- Risk Magazine, "Building A Hedge for Housing", Feature, December 1st, 2002.
- John Rubino's book, "How to Profit from the Coming Real Estate Bust - Money-Making
Strategies for the End of the Housing Bubble"; Published by Rodale, 2003; ISBN
1579548709, 9781579548704; pages 226-227.
- Risk Magazine again, "Universal Hedging", Feature by Nick Sawyer, March 6th, 2003.
- "Contract Market Viability" by Gordon C. Rausser and Henry L. Bryant, April 2004.
- Comments on Session "Aggregation Issues" by Professor Robert J. Shiller, BIS Paper No.
21, Part 26, Page 338, April 2005).
The REIFO project fostered the subsequent interests and efforts by many other industry
participants to start exploring in this emerging field. The housing-led financial crisis that started
to appear in early 2007 has made its earlier extensive research and development work in the
preceding years coincidentally very relevant and timely.
In early 2006, AeFT pioneered the development of real estate index derivatives into more user
friendly consumer financial products. Notable examples are its patent pending SwapRent (SM)
instruments to facilitate the newly created "economic renting, owning and switching" concept as
well as the related new generation of mortgage products such as HELM, PELM and FVCM for
property owners and investors in countries located in many parts of the world.
Upon introducing this radically new simplifying and unifying consumer "economic renting/owning"
or "economic own-rent switching" concept, Ralph has been able to provide the similar economic
benefits, traditionally offered only by complicated financial derivatives in the past, to
homeowners and investors without having to resort to those traditional complex derivative
instruments, since most consumers are already very familiar with the many differences between
the financial transactions of owning and renting a real estate property.
Through its REIDeX subsidiary (a WIP prototype is currently located at http://www.REIDeX.com
for illustration and public education purposes), it provides a marketplace for the trading and
settlement support of the three types of SwapRent (SM) contracts (Generic, AG and DP) and
other property index-linked derivatives on both residential and commercial properties.
Due to the fact that the SwapRent (SM) system and its embedded mortgage product HELM were
originally invented based on an efficient flexible and reversible shared economic ownership
concept that is coincidentally ideologically consistent with the equity based profit sharing
principles of Islamic finance, Ralph has devoted much of his time in the entire year of 2009
learning and researching Islamic banking practices in order to develop a new generation of
Islamic mortgage products based on a Sharia compliant version of SwapRent (SM) and HELM to
introduce his new "economic owning and renting" concepts to the 1.66 billion of global Muslim
The existing so called "Islamic mortgage" in practice in the Muslim world seems to be almost a
direct mirror image copy of the Western mortgages, but with an alternative name for the interest
payments. Home owners and borrowers could still get foreclosed and they still have to be
burdened by the debt obligations.
The newly invented SwapRent (SM) embedded mortgages products such as HELM and FARM
were created to fix those exact problems by providing a genuine equity-based home ownership.
The final exciting new type of housing finance products based on the SwapRent (SM) invention
but was modified specifically under those Islamic finance principles and desires was explained in
the following blog post FARM (Flexible And Reversible Musharakah/Mortgage).
Subsequently, this new invention FARM has since evolved into a new home ownership structure
called FARJHO (Flexible And Reversible Joint Home Ownership) which ends up providing
similar ultimate economic benefits universally to both Muslim and Western consumers alike.
For the first time people could finally own, occupy and use a residential property not only without
Riba, the burdening of people through the abusive borrowing or lending of money, but also get
to hold on to the property under unforeseen future adverse economic situations.
The successful implementation of this new universal home ownership structure FARJHO (SM)
by homeowners could potentially make the term "mortgage foreclosure" or "property
repossession" obsolete, when borrowing is only allowed under the FARJHO (SM) proposed
method, i.e. lending to partial owners only at the member level and not at the property level.
Future defaulting members will be able to simply walk away quietly and be replaced without
affecting other co-investors and most importantly, without disturbing the home occupiers.
When lesser credit-worthy aspiring home owners have already resorted to this new equity
financing method, what is left for the banks to lend to will be much better credit quality home
buyers/borrowers. More free market based consumer choices will always be a win-win situation
for everybody under the uninhibited free market capitalism.
In the US, the legal entity structure selected back in 2010 to be used to implement the FARJHO
(SM) concept going forward is the familiar LLC structure in order to corporatize American homes,
one home at a time. People ought to know that borrowing should not be the only way to own
homes. When this new concept and method take off, it could finally accomplish the goal of
creating a liquid equity market for homes just like there have been liquid stock markets for major
businesses in many countries since over 300 years ago already.
For current commercial FARJHO (SM) offering, please visit http://www.FARJHO.com or http:
//WeHomeowners.com and http://WeHomeowners.org For the non-profit operations at http:
//www.PeoplesAlly.org for low income working families. An implementation of FARJHO (SM) is
currently available under InvestorsAlly Realty in the US at the moment. Here is a FARJHO
Previously Ralph was the Chief Investment Officer and an Executive Vice President of China
Everbright (Guang-Da) Bank based in Beijing where he introduced the first RMB (CNY) -
denominated interest rate swap to the Beijing inter-bank community (described in WSJ Article
0214 2006) that started the domestic derivatives industry in China. Due to the newly created
ability to manage the bank's asset and liability through these new interest rate swaps, he was
able to design and launch the first long term fixed rate residential mortgage offered by the bank
to the entire homeowners market in China as well as the first fixed rate corporate loans for
corporate borrowers in the country. Using fixed interest rates to borrow from commercial banks
was finally made possible for the first time for Chinese homeowners and corporate borrowers
since the introduction of the free market concepts in the 80's by a previously central planning
society under the Communist government. Chinese business entities finally got to compete with
American, Japanese or European companies on an equal basis at the global stage in terms of
managing their own borrowing cost. Global MNCs doing business in China could hence manage
their overall interest rate risks in the domestic currency RMB as well.
Due to this newly introduced capability for all the Chinese property mortgage borrowers to use
fixed rate mortgages which was introduced, launched by China Everbright (Guang-da) Bank in
January, 2006 and subsequently followed by many major commercial banks in China,
homeowners in China may get to avoid a similar subprime mortgage lending fiasco by relying on
transient low variable rates that happened in the US home mortgage markets. Although the RMB
lending rates have not moved sharply higher since then and the Chinese property market is
continuing to be pushed higher by short term variable borrowing rates, the low interest rate
environment may come to an end sooner or later and the credit-induced climb of the Chinese
property market may subsequently also come to a halt as a result.
With a timely development of the SwapRent (SM) transaction service for homeowners and the
SwapRent (SM) embedded HELM and FARM products in a new alternative complementary
housing finance system, banks and other financial institutions in the future may easily get to
escape the massive mortgage defaults and foreclosures that banks in places like the US, the
UK, Ireland and Dubai have encountered in recent years.
Ralph built and ran a successful Singapore-based derivatives trading/risk management
consulting and IT systems company in the 90's called ARMS (Advanced Risk Management
Solutions, Pte. Ltd.) which provided services over 26 countries covering the entire emerging
markets from Asia, Middle East to Central and Eastern Europe with a 4% global market share.
Counted among clients were many major stock exchanges, futures and options exchanges,
brokerage companies, banks and other financial institutions including central banks around the
ARMS' teams of financial engineers and traders would typically set up and run OTC derivatives
trading desks such as interest rate swaps and FX options through joint ventures with local banks
in the region. Ralph was an innovator, creator as well as a prolific writer, speaker and educator
that had helped shape the development of the financial markets in many of the Asian, Middle
Eastern, and Central / Eastern European emerging economies in the 90's. Among many of his
earlier academic publications and inventions, the VaR Derivatives and related new theories that
he created were of particular interests to the financial enterprise-wide risk management
In his earlier years as a prominent derivatives banker in Asia, he was brought to Singapore from
New York by UBS while a Vice President in sales, trading and risk management. With the early
experiences gained on Wall Street, he successfully created many new innovative treasury
businesses based on structured derivatives for the Asian banking community. He then moved on
to be the Managing Director and Head of Structured Derivatives for Chase Manhattan Bank
based in Hong Kong to run the entire Asian derivatives business with many more financial
innovations and substantial business revenue results for the bank.
Ralph acquired his earlier training in financial derivatives and capital markets sales and trading
through working at many prestigious Wall Street institutions such as Morgan Stanley, Chemical
Bank (JP Morgan Chase now) and Equitable Life Assurance Society (AXA now), all based in
New York City.
Ralph received his MBA in 1987 from the Wharton Business School after he completed many
other graduate degrees and studies in computer information science and chemical engineering
from various top American universities (Penn, Michigan and Rice).
Ralph was born in Taiwan and holds both US and EU citizenships as well as an Australian,
Singapore, Hong Kong and China Permanent Residence. He speaks fluent Chinese and
understands basic Russian. He lives in Rancho de Liu in Southern California with his wife,
children & their Arabian horses.
Here below are partial lists of references.
Press, Magazine and Book Coverage
Conferences and Seminars
Sample Awards, Rankings and Event Photos