‘Bitcoins, hedge funds and tennis balls’

Financial Institutions, Regulation & Corporate Governance (FIRCG) Conference

22 – 23 January 2016

Conference Highlights

Yermak-(1).jpgProfessor David L. Yermack, distinguished scholar from Stern School of Business, New York University delivered a keynote presentation on the challenging issues facing financial institutions and their national regulators in the age of global opportunity and disruption.

He discussed how blockchain technology may soon be used to register and trade corporate stocks and bonds and enable ownership to become much more transparent. This transparency could see cost of trading could fall dramatically, causing significant changes to corporate governance and alter the balance of power between shareholders and managers in numerous ways.

Find out more in Prof. Yermack’s paper here.



Brown-(1).jpgProfessor Stephen J. Brown discussed the crisis and value proposition in the hedge funds industry and the issues facing diversified hedge fund strategies in his presentation ‘Why Hedge Funds?’.

Prof. Brown has just stepped down as the David S. Loeb Chair of Finance at New York University Stern School of Business and has been appointed Emeritus Professor of Finance at New York University. He is currently Professor of Finance at Monash Business School.


Best paper award

Jun Yang, Indiana University, Kangzhen Xie, University of Arkansas, Yupeng Wang, Northwestern University, and Irina Stefanescu, Federal Reserve Board won the BEST PAPER award at the FIRCG conference this year for their analysis of how large US companies modify the inputs of benefit formulas of defined benefit pension plans for top executives in anticipation of plan freezes and executive retirement.

The paper titled “Pay me now (and later): Benefit Manipulation before Pension freezes and Executive Retirement” was a standout during the conference and pointed to how discount rate manipulation applied before pension-related events suggest opportunistic managerial behaviour.

See Dr. Jun Yang's paper here.


Round Table Session

A key highlight of FIRCG 2016 was the Round Table Session, where leading regulators and law, finance and industry experts analysed the challenges the finance industry faces from systemic risk, cryptocurrencies and block chains.

Key papers:

  • Central Counterparties and Strategic Reduction of Systemic Risk Preliminary and Incomplete - Dr James Chapman, Bank of Canada
  • The Legal Status of Online Currencies, Are Bitcoins the Future? - Dr Rhys Bollen
  • Virtual Currencies and Block Chains: Potential Impacts on Financial Market Infrastructures and Corporate Ownership - Professor Paola Fico, Borsa Italiana, London Stock Exchange Group
  • Bitcoin Currency or Asset? - Dr Adrian Lee, Kühne Logistics University

PhD Session


Professor Iftekhar Hasan joined the conference to run a special PhD session on Day 2 of the conference.

Professor Hasan is the E. Gerald Corrigan Chair in International Business and Finance at Gabelli School of Business and Co-director of the Center for Research in Contemporary Finance. He also serves as Scientific Advisor at the Central Bank of Finland and is the managing editor of the Journal of Financial Stability.