IRRC Institute Announces Winners of of 7th Annual Investor Research Award

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The Investor Responsibility Research Center Institute (IRRCi) has announced the winners of its seventh annual competition for research that examines the interaction between the real economy and investment theory.

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.

The winning academic research paper, Index Funds and the Future of Corporate Governance: Theory, Evidence and Policy, is co-authored by Lucian Bebchuk, James Barr Ames Professor of Law, Economics, and Finance, and Director of the Program on Corporate Governance, Harvard Law School and Scott Hirst, Associate Professor, Boston University School of Law and Research Director, Program on Institutional Investors, Harvard Law School.

This paper studies the resources and decisions of index fund managers — how they monitor, vote and engage with their portfolio companies. This research provides an analytical framework for understanding the incentives of index fund managers,  provides the first comprehensive and detailed empirical account of the full range of stewardship activities that index fund managers do and do not undertake, and considers the significant policy implications of the issues analyzed. Download the research here.

The winning practitioner research, Measuring the Sustainability Impact of 25 European ESG Funds, is co-authored by Larry Abele and Antti Savilaakso, both with Auriel Investors.

This research introduces a new quantitative data-driven model to measure the level of sustainable investments in a portfolio as compared against a benchmark by creating a measure called “active ESG (environmental, social and governance) share” intended to quantify the impact of sustainability considerations on the portfolio’s holdings. The research then compares the active ESG share of 25 diversified European ESG funds. It finds that these funds prioritize the provision of environmentally and socially positive products and services by their portfolio companies, but have lower board independence, gender equality and social impacts than their benchmark. Download the research here.

The submissions were of such high quality that the judges selected another research paper for Honorable Mention recognition, Are Sustainability Factors Associated with Stock Price Informativeness? This research is authored by Zabihollah Rezaee, Professor, School of Accountancy, University of Memphis. Download the research here.

The IRRCi is scheduled to dissolve by December 31, 2018. The John L. Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance at the University of Delaware will take over the award beginning in 2019, as well as sustain access to the full body of IRRCi research.

See the full body of IRRCi research.

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.