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World-class Financial Conference Hosts Strong HEC Representation

A strong HEC Paris delegation joins the world’s top finance researchers and students in Barcelona on June 1 for a three-day conference on financial intermediation and related topics. Organized by the Financial Intermediation Research Society (FIRS), it will be presided by HEC Professor of Finance Denis Gromb. The annual forum aims to bridge the gaps in the flow of ideas across the continents as well as bringing scholars in emerging markets into the mainstream of financial research.

The Financial Intermediation Research Society - FIRS

Over 400 specialists in finance will descend onto the Hilton Barcelona this Friday to expose yet-to-be published research to fellow-travelers eager to discover the latest explorations into intermediation in the spheres of banks, insurance companies, private equity, pension funds, markets and all other topics linked to such financial institutions. “We received around 1,100 proposals in the past eight months and whittled them down to 150 papers,” explains this year’s President-Elect and Conference Coordinator Denis Gromb. The monumental task has given birth to an annual conference with six thematic sessions, half of them focused on banks. “But you’ll find a broad spectrum at this event which is unrivalled in the world of finance. There are of course the headliners like Nobel laureate Bob Merton , - whose paper “Trust in Lending”, will be presented by co-author Richard Takor - but the diversity of actors make this one of the world’s most exciting finance gatherings of the year.”

HEC Paris students are being flown in to share in the 51-hour conference, many of whom are PhD researchers observing or even presenting their work on a global stage for the first time. And the rewards can be rich as the research paper “Finance Conference Quality and Publication Success”, by SJ Reinartz reveals: “Conference participation constitutes an important factor when publishing research articles in top finance journals,” he wrote in 2016, noting that FIRS features among the top such events.

Heavy HEC Involvement

The diversity of topics covered are reflected in some of the papers presented. They include talks with tantalizing titles such as “Mind the Gap: Gender Stereotypes and Entrepreneurs’ Financing”, “Naughty Firms, Noisy Disclosure” and “Older and Wiser, or Too Old to Govern?” This last paper will be discussed by HEC Finance Professor François Derrien, one of dozens of academics and PhD students involved in the exchanges. “HEC is very strong on financial intermediation,” notes Denis Gromb. “Nine of the 14 professors attending will be presenting their research, three more will be session chairs, and of the 10 students we’re flying out, one, Victor Lyonnet, will share the work he’s doing alongside Johan Hombert with FIRS participants, two others will chair sessions.” Indeed, HEC arguably represents the strongest contingency at the conference, both in terms of number of papers selected and active participation in the meeting.

This includes Gromb’s own talk, entitled “Financial Restructuring and Resolution of Banks”, which he presents with HEC co-researcher Jean-Edouard Colliard“We ask how the threat of a bank defaulting influences pre-emptive restructuring. It’s a theoretical paper which postulates on shareholders and perhaps the government trying to resolve the bank’s solvency crisis before bankruptcy.”  Overall, the conference will be dominated by themes around regulation. However, since the 2008 banking crisis, much of the research has also been devoted to shadow banks, stress-testing and bank runs. These also featured prominently in the previous conferences Gromb attended in Hong Kong, Lisbon and Reykjavik. “But there are always surprises, exchanges which enrich to world of financial research. I’m particularly looking forward to the opening session on Friday afternoon, for example, when researchers from some of the world’s top universities will be exposing their empirical work on banks and fintech,” concludes Gromb, whose case study on Prada’s Hong Kong IPO just bagged both a Case Centre Award and the AFFI-CCMP trophy.