We are pleased to announce the winners of the fourth annual IRRCi Research Award.  This competition seeks innovative research that examines the interaction between the real economy and investment theory.


Practitioners and academics were invited to submit research papers by September 15, 2015, for consideration by a blue-ribbon panel of judges with deep finance and investment experience.

Two research papers – one academic and one practitioner – each have received the 2015 IRRCi Research Award along with a $10,000 award.1  For the first time in the award’s four-year history, the judges selected multiple research papers for Honorable Mention recognition.  Read the press release here.

The awards were presented on December 10, 2015, at the 2015 Millstein Governance Forum at Columbia University in New York, NY, are as follows:

The winning practitioner research paper, Beyond Divestment: Using Low Carbon Indexes, provides an actionable roadmap for institutional investors trying to navigate a financially viable path for managing carbon risk. The research provides a new framework for evaluating ways to reduce exposure to both current and potential future carbon-related assets. The research is authored by a team of researchers at MSCI – Remy Briand, Linda-Eling Lee, Sébastien Lieblich, Véronique Menou and Anurag Singh. Download the research here.

The winning academic research, Passive Investors, Not Passive Owners, demonstrates that while passive investors – such as those that invest through index funds – are not active owners in the traditional sense of accumulating or selling shares so as to exert influence over managers and their choices, they are far from passive owners. Instead, the research finds that passively managed mutual funds, and the institutions that offer them, use their large voting blocs to exercise voice and exert influence on firms’ governance.  The authors include Ian R. Appel, Ph.D., assistant professor of finance at the Carroll School of Management at Boston College; Todd A. Gormley, Ph.D., assistant professor of finance at The Wharton School; and Donald B. Keim, professor of finance and director of the Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. Download the research here.

The research papers receiving Honorable Mention recognition are:

The panel of judges includes:

  • Mark Anson, Chief Investment Officer, Acadia Investment Management
  • Collette Chilton, Chief Investment Officer, Williams College
  • Robert Dannhauser, Head of Capital Markets Policy, CFA Institute
  • James Hawley, Professor & Director, Elfenworks Center for Fiduciary Capitalism, Saint Mary’s College of California
  • Robert Jackson, Jr., Professor of Law and Faculty Co-Director, Ira M. Millstein Center for Global Markets and Corporate Governance at Columbia Law School
  • Nell Minow, Governance Expert and Columnist, Huffington Post

Biographies of the judges are available here.

This research competition has rapidly become a prominent award garnering significant attention amongst the investment community, academia and policymakers. It highlights innovative research focused on the nexus between real world economy activity and investment theory. Last year, the winning research was covered by major media outlets including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and CNBC.

More information regarding the award process, submission guidelines and calendar is available here.

Review the full body of IRRCi research here.

See the IRRCi Research Award press release here.

1 $10,000 is awarded for each winning paper. If there are multiple authors, the award will be divided evenly between each author. Each award recipient is fully responsible for all applicable taxes