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‘We Can Now Say That the Finance Conference Is Global’

‘We Can Now Say That the Finance Conference Is Global’


The 10th International Moscow Finance Conference, organized by HSE ICEF, took place on October 29–30 online. Vladimir Sokolov, Head of the International Laboratory of Financial Economics, which hosted the conference, talks about the participants, the key presentation topics and how they will impact the global economy.

The Conference

The International Laboratory of Financial Economics (ICEF) was established in 2010 and organized its first conference in 2011. The idea was to create a centre of international financial research and to make a name as an authoritative and active research team. Over the years, scholars from various global universities have visited us. Thanks to the conference, ICEF and the laboratory have a reputation as a new point of attraction among young research centres, which raises interest in cooperation and communication with our researchers.

Every summer, the laboratory also conducts Finance Workshops, which have been held in a hybrid format in recent years. Such events are a platform for exchanging research ideas as part of ICEF and HSE University; they also help students to learn more about academic research.

International Participants

The 2021 conference was our tenth anniversary and the second conference to be held online, which allowed us to expand its geography. This time, the speakers included academics from leading universities in North America, Europe and Southeast Asia. The online format had a positive impact on the range of participants and the variety of the programme. It made it much easier to attract recognized participants—they agree more readily, since they don’t have to spend time on travel, administrative issues, scheduling adjustments and other difficulties of combining academic mobility with teaching.

The researchers’ willingness to participate was a plus of the online format: it helps us expand the programme

Now, we can say that the financial economics conference is not just an international one; its reach is now global. For example, prior to this year, we had never had speakers from South Asian universities, while this year, we had participants from the University of Hong Kong and the National University of Singapore.

At the same time, the online format has one big disadvantage: the lack of informal face-to-face communication, which is essential for all kinds of cooperation in academia. This lack of personal contact, particularly at the international level, is, unfortunately, relevant to all professions today.

The Programme

Each of our financial economics conferences has one keynote speaker. They are usually a scholar who has made an outstanding contribution to financial research, someone who adds a perspective, an alternative view, and makes the other participants think about new issues in financial research. We also try to vary our programme with ‘newcomers,’ young speakers who are only beginning their academic careers, but are carrying out some extremely interesting studies. The conference offers them an opportunity to prove themselves at an international level.

Our conference is notable for not having an umbrella topic or one specific area of studies. Our format is a wide-range finance conference, where we bring together theoretical and empirical studies in different areas of financial research

This year, the conference included serious works on auction theory, banking competition and financial network theory, together with a few remarkable applied studies. These include a paper by Marcin Kacperczyk (Imperial College London) on ‘Carbon Emissions and the Bank-Lending Channel’. I believe that this is a highly relevant topic in terms of the investment sphere’s attention to ‘green’ problems and environmentally friendly businesses.

Vladimir Sokolov

Our guests were also able to hear about a highly relevant study by Janet Gao (Indiana University) on ‘Dirty Money: How Banks Influence Financial Crime’ in which she examines money laundering and related bank reporting policies that precipitate financial crime.

Our keynote speaker, Professor Christine Parlour (University of California, Berkeley) presented a very interesting paper about a stock exchange based on smart contracts with Ethereum ('Decentralized Exchanges’). Today, the topic of digital assets and their regulation is particularly pressing. Christine carried out a study of one of the world’s leading cryptocurrencies, Ethereum. Her presentation was particularly interesting to me, my colleagues and many students. Christine Parlour spoke at ICEF three years ago, and she has once again demonstrated her talent both as a researcher and an outstanding speaker.

Participants from HSE University

Three representatives of HSE ICEF were at the conference: I spoke on ‘Money Illiquidity’, while my colleagues Alexei Boulatov and Vincent Fardeau were involved in discussions of other participants’ presentations. Discussion with peers is essential for any researcher presenting their latest paper at a conference. Since our programme included only unpublished papers, the format of a discussion with a recognized colleague helped uncover alternative perspectives, look at the idea from another angle, and get feedback for further research.

New opinions and ideas motivate all of us to carry out new studies

Applied Importance of the Conference

The conference is also of interest to regulators. Theoretical studies may be less relevant in terms of daily policies, but they are always a foundation for long-term strategies, which play a huge role in how society perceives innovation. Applied papers that demonstrate quantitative results and specific cases can be used by various governmental bodies to develop policies.

Every year, the conference benefits our students by introducing them to academia and relevant research problems. They can participate as visitors, commentators or discussion participants. Quite often, their participation helps to determine their choice of topic for theses or PhD programmes. We are also happy that our conference attracts external participants who care about cutting-edge research and are willing to learn more about advanced studies in finance.

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