Corinna Blasch joins research platform


Corinna Blasch recently joined the research platform after she accepted a position as a research assistant at the Department of Banking and Finance in April. Corinna has by now fully arrived in the group and starts teaching Banking Management this term. Given her background of Master's degrees in Economics and Law, she will focus on banking regulation in the first course she gives together with Erik Theissen.

Regarding her research, Corinna specializes in empirical finance research. Together with Roland Mestel and Erik Theissen, she forms the core of the team working on analyzing and aggregating the intraday data the department has recently obtained from the Vienna Stock Exchange (see our blog post "Successful cooperation talks with Vienna Stock Exchange"). Corinna is also involved in a grant application aiming to obtain external funding for this work.

We are happy to have Corinna in our team and look forward to (continue) working with her!

CEO of BKS Bank talks about future of banking


In a collaborative effort, the Department of Banking and Finance together with the SOWI-AV of alumni UNI graz and the Finance Club Graz managed to attract Dr. Herta Stockbauer, CEO of BKS Bank AG to the University of Graz on October 12, 2016, where she held a talk about "The Changing Business of Banking: Challenges and Strategies for the Future".

Speaking before a packed Festsaal of the picturesque Meerscheinschlössl, Stockbauer discussed issues of relevance for current and future banking like the low interest environment, capital efficiency, the digital revolution, the threat or opportunity offered by fin techs, the impact of crowd financing on banking, and the perpetual topic of banking regulation. Following a lively question and answer session, there was room for further in-depth discussions at the buffet.

From left: Roland Mestel (University of Graz), Eva Gatschelhofer (SOWI AV), Herta Stockbauer (BKS Bank AG), Stefan Palan (University of Graz), Manuel Schleifer (Finance Club Graz)

FiRe member reelected to board of Society for Experimental Finance


The Society for Experimental Finance (SEF) recently held its 7th conference, organized by the University of Mannheim, Germany. During this annual meeting, FiRe member Stefan Palan was reelected to continue serving as Secretary of the society. Stefan has served on the managing board of SEF since its founding at the University of Innsbruck in 2013.

The society has since grown to become the world's premiere association of experimental finance researchers. Today it counts more than 200 members and is most famous for hosting the Experimental Finance conferences, which boast keynote speakers like Colin Camerer, Ernst Fehr and Nobel laureate Vernon Smith.

New corporate design


The corporate design of FiRe has recently been refreshed to give the platform website a new look.

The new dark grey and red design reflects the design colors of the University of Graz' website, to underline the connection to the university. The website header has similarly been reinvented to resemble the header of the university's website.

To insure continuity and brand recognition, the logo and text designs were only modified with regard to coloring, but retained both the layout and the characteristic "stock chart" element.

Exciting research day


On February 9, the platform organized the second FiRe research day. After a short introduction including a report on the activities since the last research day in November, the group heard presentations on a wide range of topics. Stefan Palan reported on an ongoing project studing the market valuation of socially responsible investments, Christian Schitter presented an outline of his dissertation, focusing on behavioral approaches to investigating the determinants of insurance fraud, Erik Theissen talked about a study of spillover effects in liquidity between spot and futures markets, Henryk Gurgul presented work on causal links between the Austrian, German and Polish stock exchanges, and Roland Mestel concluded with a short report on an applied project in pricing interest options in an environment of low or negative interest rates. 

Platform members can find the presentations on the corresponding meeting page.

Herwig Pilaj finishes dissertation


FiRe congratulates platform researcher Herwig Pilaj on completing his dissertation on February 8. Herwig gave a well-rounded overview of his research on the topic of "Sustainable and Responsible Investment" during his thesis defense. The examination board, consisting of Prof. Gurgul and Prof. Steiner awarded him the highest grade.

We congratulate Herwig on this achievement!

Stefan Palan to lead MaxJungLab


Stefan Palan has recently assumed the position of Scientific Director of the University of Graz' MaxJungLab. Established in 2008 following the initiative of Ulrike Leopold-Wildburger, the lab serves as the centre for economic, business and sociological experiments at the Faculty of Social and Economic Sciences. The MaxJungLab was named in memory of Maximilian Jung, an extraordinary former dean of studies who passed away far before his time in 2006.

Stefan's research is mainly concerned with experimental finance, with a particular focus on the topics of market design and behavior in markets. He previously served as lab manager at the Innsbruck-EconLab, the most active experimental lab in Austria and gained valuable experience which he will now apply to lead and promote the MaxJungLab.Together with a team consisting of Jürgen Fleiß (Lab Manager) and Klaus Ladner (Head Technician), Stefan is currently hard at work modernizing the lab and adapting it for the next generation of research experiments. Thanks to the support of several members of the faculty (including, but not limited to, dean Thomas Foscht, vice-dean Katharina Scherke, and former university president Alfred Gutschelhofer), the team has secured a full set of replacement PCs for the aging computers in the lab, has purchased a new lab management software, is in the process of upgrading the online recruiting system, and is working on preparing a website for the lab.