RI Quarterly: spotlight on PRI Academic Network Advisory Committee new members and Academic Network Conference

The PRI is delighted to welcome the following new members to the Academic Network Advisory Committee. They bring a wealth of expertise from finance, management, strategy, corporate governance, and RI and financial performance from academia, industry and education.
Odoo Members

Diane-Laure Arjaliès 
Assistant Professor General Management, Managerial Accounting and Control & Sustainability
Ivey Business School, Western University, Canada

Diane-Laure aims to push the boundaries of knowledge by investigating the latest social innovations in finance and accounting. Over the past decade, she has studied the emergence of responsible investing, impact bonds, carbon accounting, integrated reporting and local and complementary currencies. 

She has recently been appointed by the French Ministry for Finance and Economy to the Scientific Committee of the French SRI label. She is also a board member of the French Social Investment Forum and a Jury member of the FIR-PRI Finance and Sustainability Awards.

What are the key challenges in RI?

I think that the key challenge for RI is to be able to move the entire investment chain towards sustainability. To enable a systemic change of the financial system, changing the practices of investment managers and institutional investors is not enough – although it is essential. Beneficiaries, financial advisers, credit rating agencies and public and educational bodies (among others) should join the conversation too. 

What benefits can the Academic Network and the PRI’s wider research programme bring the field of RI?

The Academic Network and the PRI’s wider research programme play an essential role in the field of RI. It raises awareness around these topics and give legitimacy to the researchers who conduct such research. When universities realise that such a network exists, they come to see that the topic is worth investigating and teaching.  

What would you like your contribution to be to this work and what would you like to bring to our programme?

If I could help transform the financial education of the forthcoming generations on these topics, I would be happy!



Odoo Members

Fabrizio Ferraro

Professor of Strategic Management

IESE Business School, University of Navarra

Fabrizio received the IESE prize for Excellence in Research in 2005 and the Best Paper Award from the Academy of Management Review in 2006. The European Research Council supported his research on responsible investing with a five-year grant (2011-2015). He has served as a member of the editorial boards of a number of journals, and his work has been published in journals including The: Academy of Management Review, Academy of Management Journal, Organization Science, and Organization Studies.

What are the key challenges in RI?

I believe that RI faces a host of complex organisational changes as high-level policies translate into strategic choices. These will require changes in the way that asset managers are organised, how they compensate people, and how the whole process works. I view this as being a potentially industry-defining moment, especially for asset managers. How they respond to these challenges will shape the future of the industry for years to come.  

I am particularly interested in the challenges that different players (asset owners, asset managers, research providers) face as they start implementing RI policies in their organisations. My current work is focused on the practice of shareholder engagement, and the potential that it may have to fundamentally change the way we think about the role of shareholders and, ultimately, our theory of the firm. 

What benefits can the Academic Network and the PRI’s wider research programme bring the field of RI?

To date, the Academic Network has done a great job of fostering research on responsible investment in the academic community, improving both the quality and legitimacy of research on the topic.

What would you like your contribution to be to this work and what would you like to bring to our programme?

One of the key challenges for academic research is still access to companies and high-quality data. I hope that the Academic Network might play an important role in enabling more collaboration between academics and practitioners, thereby contributing to producing more impactful knowledge for the field. 



Odoo Members

Caroline Flammer 

Assistant Professor of Strategy and Innovation
Questrom School of Business, Boston University

Caroline specialises in corporate sustainability, CSR, and sustainable finance. Caroline was awarded the 2015 Alliance for Research on Corporate Sustainability (ARCS) Emerging Scholar Award. She is also the recipient of several other awards including the 2013 Moskowitz Prize for Best Paper in Socially Responsible Investing, the 2015 French Social Investment Forum-Principles for Responsible Investment (FIR─PRI) Award for Best Published Paper in Finance and Sustainability, and most recently the 2016 Investor Responsibility Research Center (IRRC) Institute Research Award.

Her work has been published in journals such as the Academy of Management Journal, Management Science, and the Strategic Management Journal. 

What are the key challenges in RI?

For me, the key challenges are understanding the causes of corporate short-termism and which corporate governance mechanisms are effective in fostering a longer-term orientation and RI.

What benefits can the Academic Network and the PRI’s wider research programme bring the field of RI?

They can explore key challenges faced in RI, conduct practice-relevant and rigorous research, share its key findings and expertise with the RI community and business in general, and incorporate findings into teaching material to shape the minds of future business leaders.

What would you like your contribution to be to this work and what would you like to bring to our programme?

In my research, I examine how corporate governance can help foster a longer-term orientation and the investment in long-term strategies such as stakeholder relations and innovation. In particular, by providing executives with long-term incentives, or tying their compensation to CSR performance, shareholders can align managers’ interests with long-term value creation. 



Odoo Members

Bradley Jones
Senior Financial Sector Advisor 
The International Monetary Fund (IMF)

In this role, he serves as Course Director for Investment Management at the IMF’s Institute in Asia and the Middle East, where he advises sovereign wealth funds, public pension funds and central banks on the management of their investment and liability portfolios. He also leads the IMF’s risk-based surveillance of the asset management industry in key European centers, and has advised numerous governments on the sustainable development of their capital markets and institutional investment industry. Bradley is also a fellow at the Cambridge Judge Business School Center for Endowment Asset Management.

What are the key challenges in RI?

Much of my work has focused on the role of institutional frictions in thwarting the efforts of strategic asset owners to embark on long horizon investing. That John Maynard Keynes was writing of similar constraints when at the helm of the Cambridge Endowment some eight decades ago, should give a sense as to how difficult these issues can be to overcome. 

What benefits can the Academic Network and the PRI’s wider research programme bring the field of RI?

Surprisingly, it is only in more recent times that researchers have begun to quantify the debilitating impact that excessively short time horizons and poor governance practices can exert on both investment and broader societal outcomes. I believe that the Academic Network has a pivotal contribution to make in advancing this frontier, as well as articulating a framework to help investors convert the aspiration of RI into tangible action. 

What would you like your contribution to be to this work and what would you like to bring to our programme?

Reflecting my current work and as a former investment manager, I am very much looking forward to contributing to the agenda of the committee.



Odoo Members

Sebastien Pouget 
Professor of Finance
Toulouse School of Economics

Sebastien is also the director of the Chaire FDIR, the Sustainable Finance and Responsible Investment research centre. His research into behavioural finance focuses on market inefficiencies and investors’ motivations.

What are the key challenges in RI?

In my opinion, two important challenges that face RI are short-termism and the valuation of externalities. Short-termism is widely discussed, but is difficult to identify empirically. It can have a major impact on the incentives of investors and firms to act responsibly and on the appropriate design of financial regulations. The valuation of externalities that firms impose on society is also one of the central tenets of RI, and responsible investors would like to have a clear view as to how to value such externalities. Unfortunately, such a view is often missing.

What benefits can the Academic Network and the PRI’s wider research programme bring the field of RI?

The Academic Network is playing a very important role because it fosters the creation and dissemination of knowledge on these issues.

What would you like your contribution to be to this work and what would you like to bring to our programme?

I hope that I will be able to contribute to this beneficial action by promoting research that will help better understand the incentive mechanisms (both implicit and explicit) that drive firms and investors towards more responsible practices. 



Odoo Members

Bobby Lamy
Head of Practice Analysis and Curriculum Design
CFA Institute

Bobby’s responsibilities include identifying the competencies required of investment management professionals and designing curricula for the CFA Program and CIPM Program. 

What are the key challenges in RI?

The primary challenge facing the RI industry is the lack of trust that clients have in investment professionals. This trust deficit reflects behaviours that are inconsistent with serving clients’ needs and promoting fair markets. Fundamentally, this stems from an incomplete understanding of the challenges to integrating responsible investing within the traditional investment decision-making process. 

What benefits can the Academic Network and the PRI’s wider research programme bring the field of RI?

The Academic Network will play a pivotal role in raising awareness of responsible investing, influencing the direction of future research, and providing practical guidance to investment management professionals.  

What would you like your contribution to be to this work and what would you like to bring to our programme?

I welcome the opportunity to support the PRI’s objectives as a member of the Academic Network. 



Odoo Members

Michael Viehs 

Manager, Engagement and Research

Hermes Investment Management (EOS)

Michael is responsible for corporate engagement on ESG and strategic issues, as well as for producing research on responsible investing. He is the sector lead for automotives and has additional responsibility for developing a consistent and stringent proxy voting policy and corporate governance principles for the German market. Michael is also an honorary research associate at the University of Oxford’s Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment. Before his appointment at Hermes EOS, he was research director at the Smith School.

Michael’s work on responsible investment, corporate governance, and stewardship has been published in Corporate Governance: An International Review and Annals of Social Responsibility. He has also co-authored From the Stockholder to the Stakeholder - How Sustainability Can Drive Financial Outperformance, and contributed a chapter on active ownership to Re-Imagining Capitalism, Oxford University Press.
 
What are the key challenges in RI?

All actors in the financial industry need to more systematically address sustainability. Following the global financial crisis, trust in the financial system, and capitalism more broadly, was badly damaged. To restore this, I think that all actors in the financial and economical eco-system need to take into account sustainability topics.
 
What benefits can the Academic Network and the PRI’s wider research programme bring the field of RI?

The Academic Network bridges the gap between academic research and the financial industry. The financial industry needs more academic research showing the benefits of sustainable or long-term investing, and not just in financial terms. Reflecting this, I think the Academic Network will help steer the discussion between academics and practitioners, and in doing so, can embrace the need for the incorporation of sustainability issues into the investment decision-making process.
 
What would you like your contribution to be to this work and what would you like to bring to our programme?

By training, I am an academic researcher, and reflecting this I hope to contribute by sharing my dual experience as a researcher and practitioner.  The dialogue between the investment industry and researchers is important in identifying gaps in the literature and to help make academic research more meaningful for investment professionals. Through our work in the network, I hope we can motivate young scholars to start a career in responsible investing, be it on the research or investment side.


 


PRI Academic Network Conference 
The PRI is proud to collaborate with the University of Hamburg for the ninth Academic Network Conference. We are delighted to announce that the conference will once again be a part of PRI in Person and will be held on 26-27 September at the InterContinental Berlin. 
With a membership of over 2,000 academics, investment practitioners and policy makers, the Academic Network represents a diverse array of research interests from around the world. 
The conference focuses on the latest RI research on responsible investment practices. The eventIt is for academic researchers in the SRI field of SRI and will also be an opportunity for academics and investors to engage with each other, learn and discuss the latest insights, and to network. The conference will begin with a networking event on the 26th of September.
The conference is led by Alexander Bassen who is a Professor of Capital Markets and Management and Head of the Center for a Sustainable University at the University of Hamburg, Germany. 
He is a member of the German Council for Sustainable Development – advisory body of the German Federal Government; Vice-chair of the PRI Academic Network Advisory Committee; member of the Commission on Environmental, Social & Governance Issues (CESG) of the European Association of Financial Analysts Societies (EFFAS), and member of the advisory panel for sustainability of Deutsche Asset and Wealth Management (Deutsche Bank). Alex’s research interests are responsible investment, corporate governance, and sustainability reporting. 

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