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The fourth annual International Workshop on Financial System Architecture and Stability (IWFSAS) offers leading academics, practitioners and policymakers the opportunity to discuss cutting edge research on a range of topics related to sustainable finance. This call for papers asks for reflections on what is sustainable finance, how it is viewed by various stakeholders, its potential impact on the structure and stability of financial systems, and its role in promoting sustainable development and inclusive economic growth. Further information on previous IWFSAS conferences and programs can be found at http://iwfsas.org/previous-iwfsas/.

IWFSAS 2019 organizers:

This year’s IWFSAS meeting is hosted by the Gustavson School of Business and the Centre for Social and Sustainable Innovation (CSSI), in collaboration with the Centre for Banking Research (CBR) at Cass Business School, the Alberta School of Business at the University of Alberta and the Department of Economics at the University of Victoria.

Keynote Speaker

Luigi G. Zingales

Robert C. McCormack Distinguished Service Professor Of Entrepreneurship And Finance, The University of Chicago Booth School of Business

Luigi Zingales’ research interests span from corporate governance to financial development, from political economy to the economic effects of culture. He co-developed the Financial Trust Index, which is designed to monitor the level of trust that Americans have toward their financial system. In addition to holding his position at Chicago Booth, Zingales is currently a faculty research fellow for the National Bureau of Economic Research, a research fellow for the Center for Economic Policy Research, and a fellow of the European Governance Institute. He is also an editorialist for Il Sole 24 Ore, the Italian equivalent of the Financial Times. Zingales also serves on the Committee on Capital Markets Regulation, which has been examining the legislative, regulatory, and legal issues affecting how public companies function. In 2014 he was the President of the American Finance Association.

Aim and Topics

Sustainability is today recognized as a vital theme in economic development and has dominated the global agenda not just at the governmental level, for instance with the adoption of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, but also increasingly at the business and corporate levels. The financial system has a key role to play in achieving the desired goals of sustainable and inclusive growth. It is also faced with more challenges (and opportunities), including new regulatory pressures, increasing investors demand for green, environmental and socially responsible financial instruments, more relevant risk management and insurance products, in addition to massive capital needs by corporations and governments as they embark on a transition to low carbon economies. As mentioned in the 2018 final report of the EU High Level Expert Group on Sustainable Finance, “reaching our Paris agreement goals requires no less than a transformation of the entire financial system, its culture, and its incentives.”

While a wealth of academic research has been dedicated to sustainability, its importance in the finance field is still debated and the theme of “sustainable finance” has only recently been featured in prominent finance conferences. There is still no universally accepted definition of “sustainable finance”. The Expert Panel on Sustainable Finance appointed in 2018 by the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change and the Minister of Finance in Canada, views sustainable finance as “capital flows (as reflected in lending and investment), risk management (such as insurance and risk assessment) and financial processes (including disclosure, valuation and oversight) that assimilate environmental and social factors as a means of promoting sustainable economic growth and the long-term stability of the financial system.”

Many questions related to these topics remain open for debate. For example, in the investment field, should environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues and their assessment be viewed as part of the fiduciary duties of asset managers? What impact does this have on the practice of asset allocation and risk diversification? Does divestment from fossil fuel companies make sense from an economic and financial perspective? Likewise, in the field of corporate finance, we need more research to answer questions such as: what is the impact of climate policies and disclosure requirements on firms’ earnings and valuation? How do managers reconcile shareholders wealth maximization and potentially conflicting demands by other stakeholders, including other shareholders who value environmental and social impact? Are good ESG policies beneficial for the long-term performance of companies or are there tradeoffs? Similarly, in the field of financial institutions and markets, many questions remain unanswered. For instance, do green bonds and loans actually deliver on their emission reduction targets? Are we facing a carbon bubble in financial markets due to potential overvaluation of firms exposed to climate risks? Are banks and other financial institutions well prepared to withstand external shocks related to climate change and the potential systemic failure of unprepared firms?

We invite authors to submit high quality papers on topics related to sustainable finance as broadly defined above, including, but not limited to, such topics as:

  • Asset pricing and climate risk
  • Sustainable asset management and ESG integration
  • Green bonds, loans and transition-linked financial products and instruments
  • Impact investing, socially responsible investing and ethical investing
  • Climate change and fiduciary and legal duties of institutional investors
  • Ethics and trust in finance and banking
  • Sustainable finance and pension fund management
  • Shareholders vs stakeholders wealth maximization
  • Climate-related financial disclosure and impact on firms earnings and valuation
  • Sustainable finance and long-term Investments
  • Climate and environmental risk management
  • Fintech and sustainable finance
  • Gender differences, culture and financial risk taking
  • Sustainable finance in emerging markets
  • Microfinance, financial inclusion and social entrepreneurship
  • Sustainable finance and inequality
  • Financial innovation and Sustainable Development Goals
  • Sustainability in financial systems: stability and crises

We welcome both theoretical and empirical contributions on the above topics, in addition to other more general topics that relate to structure and stability of the financial system.

Program Co-chairs

Rym Ayadi

CASS Business School, City university of London
rym.ayadi@city.ac.uk 

Basma Majerbi

Gustavson School of Business & CSSI, University of Victoria majerbi@uvic.ca

Vikas Mehrotra

Alberta School of Business University of Alberta Vikas.mehrotra@ualberta.ca

Local organizing Committee

Paul Schure

Department of Economics University of Victoria schure@uvic.ca

Stuart Snaith

Gustavson School of Business, University of Victoria
ssnaith@uvic.ca

Michael King

Ivey Business School Western University
mking@ivey.ca