This summer, we were delighted to be able to run the annual Essex Finance Centre’s (EFiC) 2022 Conference in Banking and Corporate Finance, in-person on the University of Essex’s Colchester Campus.

It was the sixth edition of the annual conference, but the first time it had been held at Essex Business School since the COVID-19 pandemic.

The conference brought together leading academics, practitioners, and policymakers from around the world, and allowed them to present state-of-the-art research in broad areas of banking and corporate finance.

Ahead of the main event, a workshop sponsored by the British Academy themed 'Social responsibility, banks and markets during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond' took place thanks to the joint effort of Laura Chiaramonte (University of Verona), Alberto Dreassi (University of Trieste), Claudia Girardone (Essex Business School) and Stefano Piserà (University of Genova).

The workshop included an academic keynote talk by Douglas J. Cumming, the DeSantis Distinguished Professor of Finance and Entrepreneurship from Florida Atlantic University, titled 'Market manipulation and ESG incidents', and an industry keynote talk by Alessandra Mongiardino, Director of Financial and Strategic Risk from Natwest Bank in London, titled 'Banking as a force for good: A practitioner’s perspective', as well as insightful research presentations and discussions around the issue of social responsibility in banking.

The EFiC conference started with an opening speech by Claudia Girardone, Professor of Banking and Finance and recently appointed first female Dean of Essex Business School, on behalf of the organising committee (Claudia Girardone, Sotirios Kokas and Anna Sarkisyan, from Essex Business School), followed by parallel sessions on distinctive research.

The conference programme had a strong steer towards important emerging research topics, particularly access to finance, sustainable/green finance, fintech, and diversity in corporate governance.

It included dedicated PhD sessions (organised by Yiwei Li, Essex Business School) to allow early career researchers to present their work and receive developmental feedback from expert PhD mentors.

The conference flourished with a great keynote talk by Mireia Giné, Assistant Professor of Finance at the IESE Business School, titled 'Common ownership and firm behaviour', and an inspiring talk by Douglas J. Cumming, one of the Editors-in-Chief of the British Journal of Management, as part of the “Meet the Editor” session.

A group of people attending a conference standing outside Essex Business School 

After a busy and successful first day of the conference, participants enjoyed the conference dinner held on the Colchester Campus. The second day of the conference provided a similarly fruitful academic environment in which to build connections and start new collaborations.

It concluded with “Best Paper Awards” being handed out to Ettore Croci (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore) for their paper on information salience and credit supply, Ozlem Dursun-de Neef (Goethe University Frankfurt) for their work on how banks propagate economic shocks, and Liying Wang (Bayes Business School) for their PhD research on mutual fund trust.

All of those involved in organising the event would like to thank all participants for their valuable contributions and all invited speakers for their inspiring talks. We hope everyone found the EFiC conference academically and intellectually stimulating and that they enjoyed their stay in Colchester.

Plans for the seventh conference are already in place. The call for papers will be circulated by the end of the year.

We look forward to another opportunity to bring experts from across the globe together at our EFiC 2023 conference!