Sung Won Sohn Profile

  • President of SS Economics, Dr. Sohn has been ranked as the most accurate economist in the country by the Wall Street Journal.

  • Dr. Sohn’s impressive resume includes President and CEO of the commercial bank Hanmi Financial Corporation, Executive Vice President and CEO of Wells Fargo, long-time California State University professor, and former White House economic advisor.

  • Dr. Sohn’s audiences consistently give him high marks for his ability to translate economic theory and policy into a practical and valuable tool for their businesses and finances.
  • Dr. Sung Won Sohn has repeatedly been recognized as one of the most accurate economists in the US. A long-time California State University professor, former White House economic advisor, and seasoned businessman, Dr. Sohn combines theory with hands-on business experience to provide on-target economic outlooks and guidance for companies.

    Both the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg have named Dr. Sohn one of the most accurate economic forecasters in the country. Understandably, then, his insights have been widely sought by governments, multinational corporations, and financial institutions. He served as President and CEO of the commercial bank, Hanmi Financial Corporation, as well as Executive Vice President and CEO of Wells Fargo. As a Senior Economist at the White House, he made recommendations on legislation affecting banking, finance, and the Federal Reserve.

    During a decade at the California State University Channel Islands campus, he designed and built the Institute for Global Economic Research (IGER), raising funds from his personal network, and ultimately endowing the institute with a cash surplus. His vision and guidance have been critical in achieving financial turnarounds at the Bethel Foundation and the Minnesota Economic Association.

    Dr. Sohn’s contribution to corporate and nonprofit boards is extensive. Most notably, he serves on the Western Alliance Bancorporation, the National Association for Corporate Directors, and the Los Angeles City Employee Retirement System. In the past, he has been a board member of Forever 21, the Port of Los Angeles, and the Children’s Heart Fund.

    Dr. Sohn is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh and Harvard Business School. He is the author of two books, Global Financial Crisis and Exit Strategy (2009) and The New Economy (2014).

    • View Extended/Alternate Bio

      Dr. Sohn is an internationally known economist. He is president of SS Economics, an economic consulting firm focused on the U.S. economy, international trade in the pacific-rim and technology impact. 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. 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 serves on the Board of Directors for Western Alliance Bancorporation, and National Association of Corporate Directors of Southern California. He is on The Wall Street Journal’s Board of Economists.

      Dr.Sohn was an economics professor at California State University CI and director of 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, our nation’s largest seaport. He has served on the boards of First California Bancorporation, 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 and Harvard Business School.

    Sung Won Sohn Speaking Videos

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    Sung Won Sohn's Speech Descriptions

    Internationally regarded economist, Dr. Sung Won Sohn transfers his expert knowledge into pragmatic advice for your business and finances. From trade policies to AI, Dr. Sohn uses humor, examples, and plain English to explain how up-and-coming megatrends will shape markets in the short and long-term. Named one of the nation’s most accurate economic forecasters by the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg, Dr. Sohn’s insights on global economics, the stock market, world banks, or any other economic topic will prove to be a valuable asset for your company’s next move forward.

    Successful Business Strategies: Elephants and Ants
    • Do you know what your competitive advantages are? Do you know what your competitors are doing? Can you predict your competitors’ reactions to any move you make?
    • Understanding your competitive advantage is a key to success. Once you understand the wall protecting you, reinforcing and fortifying it is important. Then you are an elephant enjoying the good life. Or you could be an ant looking in from outside.
    • The essence of competitive advantages is discussed. What gives you the advantages? How do you respond when your competitors have the advantages?
    • Several case studies are introduced including Walmart, Coors Beer, Fox, Cola Drinks, Kodak, Polaroid,Microsoft, Disney, Neflix, etc. How are service businesses different?
    • In the long-run, everything is a toaster. How do you maintain your competitive advantage in the long run? How do you know you are enjoying competitive advantages in the long run?
    • How can you apply legal price discrimination to your advantage?
    • The speech concludes with some Do’s and Don’ts for businesses to consider to remain competitive.

    Fracturing of Global Supply Chain
    • The trade war has disrupted the global trade pattern permanently. The proposed “Phase One” deal with China won’t change the ongoing trade disruptions.
    • What are the Western businesses operating in China to do? In order to mitigate the disruptions in the global supply chain, alternative value chains must be found. Often it means shifting production to countries not affected by the U.S. tariff. In some cases, it means closing factories in China and relocating to India, Vietnam and Cambodia.
    • Firms have to be flexible in their supply chain and able to adapt to change. A supply chain used to be about minimizing cost of production. In the new environment, minimizing supply disruptions is a key consideration. Having alternative production options, even a parallel supply chain has become important.
    • Businesses have shifted production to Southeast Asia and even to Latin America including Mexico and Guatemala.
    • Moving away from China is not as easy as it sounds. No country can compete with China when cost, quality and service are all considered. Take apparel for example. Chinese vendors are one-stop shop providing design, dyeing, cutting, sewing, shipping all under one roof on time and budget. Bangladesh can sew but has no capabilities for dyeing. Vietnam can provide dyeing services, but no design. The Southeast Asian countries are about 10 years or more behind China in term of the supply-chain infrastructure. No country can replicate China in the foreseeable future.
    • Nevertheless, the diversification of the supply chain has begun. Everything from auto to computer parts has started to relocate to other countries in Southeast Asia. Low-tech businesses have gone to India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand. High-tech firms have developed alternative supply chains in Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore and Malaysia.
    • In other words, the fracturing of the global supply chain has reconfigured global trade patterns. The global supply chains have become longer and leaner prone to fracturing. Regional trade blocks are shorter and more flexible.
    • The regionalization of the trade pattern has its own risks. In countries like Myanmar, Cambodia and Vietnam, for example, the labor and environmental standards and the enforcement of existing laws on the books is lax.
    • The fracturing of the trade patterns means more flexibility for importers and exporters. However the added flexibility comes at higher costs.

    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. T
    • 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 including fintechs occupy profitable portion of the business.
    • How do you position yourself? A leader, a laggard or a Keep-pacer? Depending on where you are in the spectrum, you could be a destroyer or be destroyed.

    What People are Saying about Seeing Sung Speak

    Rating Entries

    “Sohn’s last speech was a great success. He pretended to be a free trade economist, President Trump, and President Xi of China. The audience rated him a 4.8 out of possible 5.”

    “Genuine thanks for offering the event to our community. Dr. Sohn is very dynamic and well informed.”

    -University student

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