7th International Young Finance Scholars Conference 12-13 July 2021

On the 12 and 13th of July, PHBS-UK was pleased to host the 7th International Young Finance Scholars Conference. This year’s event was open to all finance related topics and the keynote speech was by Nobel Laureate, Professor Thomas J. Sargent, the Director of the Sargent Institute for Quantitative Economics and Finance at PHBS. The organizing committee received a record number of 226 submissions from the US (13%), EU (24%), UK (33%), and Asia Pacific (13%), making the conference truly international for global connectivity. 

Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic this conference was held completely online running from 8.30am to 6.30pm (UK time) attracting attendees from all over the world and from different time zones. The conference consisted of 7 sections with 6 parallel streams in each section, providing a total of 42 slots each with 4 presentations over the two conference days. The panel topics discussed include Asset Pricing and Valuation, Banking, Behavioral Finance, Corporate Finance, Financial Markets, Corporate Governance, Credit Risk, Fintech, Forecasting, Fund Management, Green Finance, Macro Finance, and Market Microstructure. 

Apart from the individual presentations, the notable sessions of the conference include a welcome address by Professor Pengfei Wang, Deputy Chancellor of Shenzhen Graduate School, Peking University, and Associate Dean of Peking University HSBC Business School, who wished all attendees a fruitful and intellectual discussion with peers and senior academics. Professor Wang remarked that it was indeed a wonderful opportunity for everyone involved to meet one another albeit virtually, to share knowledge and learn from each other. As it was the first time that PHBS-UK hosted a virtual conference and Professor Wang also expressed his thanks the organizing committee, the session chairs, the presenters for their hard work and for making this event possible. 

The highlight of the conference was having renowned Nobel Laureate in Economics, Professor Thomas J. Sargent talk to the attendees about his research on ‘the Impact of US Fiscal and Monetary Policy on Global Financial Markets’. It was an incredible experience having such a distinguished professor walk everyone through his ongoing research on the fiscal and monetary policy of the US since its founding, and its impact on the global financial markets under various presidents and global events. It is particularly exciting to have an intimate insight into how such a great mind conducts research and how this research is relevant to current times and how it might potentially predict the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. We thank Professor Sargent for this wonderful learning experience and we hope that there would be more opportunities for us to learn from him in the future.

On the second day, conference hosted the incredibly popular Meet-the-Editors Session with four internationally well-known editors of renowned journals – Professor Carol Alexander, Co-Editor for the KJournal of Banking and Finance; Professor Rama Cont, the Chief Editor of Journal of Mathematical Finance, and Co-Editor of Statistics and Risk Modelling (with Applications in Finance and Insurance), Professor Douglas Cumming, Chief Editor of the Review of Corporate Finance and Co-Editor of the British Journal of Management; and Professor Alexander McNeil, Senior Editor of the Journal of Risk and Insurance. The aim of this session was to provide young scholars with the opportunity of have direct exchanges with journal editors and learn from their editorial experience in publishing research for the leading journals in financial studies. Many attendees asked numerous questions and engaged the senior editors in sharing their insights on the publication process. It was truly a very enlightening session for attendees to be provided with a behind-the-scenes look at research publication and they gained valuable insights on what it takes to submit a publishable research article.

Finally, the conference ends with an awards ceremony which was made possible by the generous donation of Dr Changliang Xu, founder of Tangram Capital, a Chinese Asset Management Company. Dr Xu, a distinguished alumnus of Peking University who obtained his PhD from the University of Oxford, is a strong advocate for learning and research. He very generously donated £1500 to the conference in recognition of the hard work and dedication of young scholars. He hoped that the monetary award and the peer recognition of their research would motivate the young scholars to achieve greater heights.

The 7th International Young Finance Scholars Conference would like to extend our heartiest congratulate the following young scholars on their outstanding achievement in their research:

Award Winners:

  • Best Paper in Asset Pricing - “Corporate Balance Sheets and Sovereign Risk Premia” by Steve Pak Yeung Wu, University of California, San Diego – 
  • Best Paper in Banking - “Banks’ Next Top Model” by Elizaveta Sizova, KU Leuven 
  • Best Paper in Behaviorial Finance - “Time-varying Impact of Investor Sentiment” by Pengfei Sui, Chinese University of Hong Kong -
  •  Best Paper in Corporate Finance - “Locked-in at Home: Female Analysts’ Attention at Work during the COVID-19 Pandemic”  by Mengqiao Du, University of Mannheim -
  •  Best Overall Paper - “A Machine Learning Factor-based Interpretation for the Bond Risk Premia in the U.S” by Caio Vigo Pereira, University of Kansas 

Highly recommended papers:
  • “Which Factors are Priced? It Depends on Who You Ask: Investor Heterogeneity and Factor Pricing”  by Zhao Jin, Tsinghua University
  • “Geographic Proximity in Short Selling”  by Xiaolin Huo, Remin University of China
  • “Merger-Driven Listing Dynamics”  by Markus Lithell, Norwegian School of Economics
  • “Active Mutual Funds: Beware of Smart Beta ETFs!” by Thanh Dat Le, Auburn University
  • “Client-Dealer Intermediation in OTC Markets” by Vincent Skiera, University of California, Berkeley 
  • “Loss Function-based Change Point Detection in Risk Measures” by Xiaohan Xue, University of Reading

We truly appreciate all our young finance scholars for their contribution to a programme that is more comprehensive and bigger than ever this year. It is through the sharing of knowledge and peer interaction can we truly grow as a researcher. We thank all the attendees and presenters for their valuable research, insights and comments. We wish all young finance scholars all the success in their future endeavors.
We are also grateful for all the 36 distinguished professors from renowned universities all over the world to take the time out of their busy schedules to chair the parallel streams and offer their valuable advice and suggestions to our presenters and conference attendees. The success of this event could not be made possible without the support of all the members of the Science Committee of the Conference, and we are all in much debt for their time in chairing each panel and making valuable comments on each presentation.
This conference will not be possible without the help of our student helpers who worked very hard for 2 consecutive days rendering assistance to each individual Zoom breakout rooms. We are very thankful to Michael Reyner Suwijono, Mengzhen Fan, Yushuang Jiang, Diandian Hou, Sirui Ning, and Adel Moin for their time and dedication.

Our last note of appreciation is to the members of the Conference Working Committee, who have worked tirelessly to ensure its success. We extend our gratitude to Professor Carol Alexander, Founder and co-chair of the conference, Professor Guy Liu, co-chair of the conference, Dr Hursit Celil, Dr Carryn Yong, Dr Domenico Tarzia, Ms Yuting Hang, Ms Jacqueline O’Brien, and Ms Na Mao for all their tremendously hard and efficient work.
It was a wonderful and intellectually stimulating two days and we look forward more conferences of such caliber and academic rigor in the following years to come.