Fintech at Cornell hosts symposium advancing research in financial economics

By: Stephen D'Angelo

Maureen O’Hara, the Robert W. Purcell Professor of Finance, at the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management, leads discussion at the Finance Theory Group Meeting held at Cornell in April 2022.

The Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, through Fintech at Cornell and the Finance Area, hosted the first in-person Finance Theory Group (FTG) meeting since the start of the pandemic on April 29 at Cornell University. Bringing together 80 academic participants representing institutions across the globe, the symposium facilitated presentations and discussions to help advance theoretical research in financial economics.

The FTG’s mission is to promote theoretical research that directly influences finance thought, guides and illuminates empirical work, and impact policy, especially in the areas of corporate finance, financial institutions, and financial markets.

“As the world evolves at ever-faster paces and technology and economics interact to drive new innovations, we need theoretical frameworks to organize thoughts, gain insights, and provide guidance on policy-making and empirical studies, in addition to documenting stylized patterns in the data,” said Will Cong, Rudd Family Professor of Management and Faculty Director of the FinTech at Cornell Initiative.

“Such a conference allows theorists to come together to share frontier research as well as to discuss the most important topics and challenges facing finance research. It also provides a previous opportunity for the world’s leading financial economists to interact in-person, which likely leads to further collaborations.”

Cornell faculty, including finance area and beyond, and students, including non-members of the finance theory group, actively participated in this meeting. According to Cong, the exposure to leading theoretical research, mini lectures and a panel discussion facilitates new research on fintech on campus and collaborations with researchers from all over the world. The Conference further helps establish Cornell as a global hub and leader for fintech research and finance research, he said.

Attendees at Finance Theory Group Meeting at Cornell held in April 2022.

“FinTech and digital economy are becoming mainstream topics for finance and economics theorists to study,” he said. “Finance theorists show that they have important insights to offer that can help guide policy-making and enrich our understanding of the world.”

Several big trends in financial research coming out of the conference the organizers made special note of include:

  • Greater research on decentralized and distributed systems, such as blockchain-based digital platforms and crowd-based digital marketplaces.
  • A focus on the theoretical understanding of the digital economy and big data, including how data are used in production and the tradeoffs involved in various data sharing initiatives.
  • Financial economists have much to offer for FinTech and climate research as they are well-versed in the economics of risk and uncertainty, in addition to knowing well mechanism design and information design.
  • Corporate governance and investment management topics, to only name a few, continue being actively studied by finance theorists.

The Financial Theory Group holds two regular meetings per year, where members and fellows meet to present and discuss their work. Members and fellows of the FTG are researchers from leading institutions, who work primarily on the theory of corporate finance, financial institutions, and financial markets. Founded in 2009, the group’s meetings rotate among its members. Participation is by invitation only.

The Cornell SC Johnson College of Business is among the world’s most influential leaders in fintech research, education, and industry engagement. Fintech at Cornell, based within the college, helps prepare students and empower established scholars to understand this disruptive financial transformation and realize its great potential—across nearly every sector and well ahead of today’s trends and technologies. Through generous support from Moody’s, Fiserv, Tata Consultancy Services, and Broadridge, it engages the college’s expertise in the industry and in the growing field of fintech.

The local organizers, Professors Will Cong, Adrian Corum, Maureen O’Hara, and Gideon Saar have special thanks to the FinTech Initiative and the Finance Area at the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, with thanks to all speakers, presenters and participants, including meeting organization assistants Artem Streltsov, Qihong Ruan, Mark Yeager, Ethan Goldman, and Pratham Rawat.

For more details from the event, view a summary of the presentations, recorded mini lecture, and video panel.