Academic findings promote a sustainable financial industry.
The exchange with the University of Liechtenstein takes place in a wide variety of specialist areas. The field of sustainable finance plays a special role.
Interview with Prof. Dr Marco J. Menichetti, Dean of the Liechtenstein Business School, Professor of Bank and Finance Management, University of Liechtenstein, Dr Othar Kordsachia, Assistant Professor of Sustainable Finance, University of Liechtenstein, and Bernd Hartmann, Chief Strategist of VP Bank.
With regard to sustainability, what links university teaching with financial world practice?
Marco Menichetti: Practitioners know what topics are advanced by academia and can integrate current findings from research into their own investment process. In return, researchers receive valuable feedback from practice, in addition to exchanging ideas and experience with other academics.
VP Bank and the University of Liechtenstein are collaborating in the area of sustainability. How did that come about?
Marco Menichetti: We viewed VP Bank as a suitable partner, since many alumni of our master’s programme in finance went to work there. We also had a direct connection in the bank to Bernd Hartmann, an alumnus of our master’s programme, who at the end of his studies was the first winner of the Liechtenstein Banking Award for his thesis.
Bernd Hartmann: Since sustainable investing is an integral part of our investment approach, it was essential for me to get a fascinating insight into new academic findings and valuable food for thought. Another reason for collaborating with the University of Liechtenstein was to support young academic talent as part of VP Bank’s “People Strategy”.
A highlight is the annual International Research Conference on Sustainable Finance. What does the collaboration look like exactly?
Othar Kordsachia: First, VP Bank makes a number of employees available from its investment research department, and they provide extensive feedback on all papers submitted at the conference. That way, the researchers understand how application-oriented the presented research matter is.
Marco Menichetti: Secondly, VP Bank provides the Best Paper Award to the top paper submitted at the conference. The award includes a prize of CHF 2,000, which has a great impact on the quality of the papers received. And thirdly, VP Bank provides significant financial support for holding this conference.
OOthar Kordsachia: The invited researchers present their theses at the research conference. VP Bank employees provide detailed feedback on every research paper. The winner of the Best Paper Award is announced at the end of the conference, and they receive a certificate and the prize money in front of the conference attendees.
Bernd Hartmann (left) and Othar Kordsachia in conversation.
How much interest is there in the workshop and the award?
Marco Menichetti: There is great interest among researchers. We receive papers from researchers in Europe, as well as in the USA and Asia. This is because the Best Paper Award – together with two other awards that are also given – comes with prize money that is unusually generous for a research conference. The conference is now increasingly attracting attendance also by students and employees in the financial services industry from Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Austria and Germany.
Bernd Hartmann: For someone like me, who thought they wouldn’t have anything more to do with academic papers after completing their studies, it’s always a little challenge, but one that is a pleasure to face.
The cooperation promotes the exchange of ideas and experiences between academics and practitioners and at the same time raises the visibility of the Liechtenstein financial centre for sustainable investors.
What are the benefits of the partnership?
Marco Menichetti: The Best Paper Award by VP Bank strengthens the reputation of the Finance & Economics Department of the Liechtenstein Business School in a very decisive manner. This is because a conference featuring numerous international papers, with a Best Paper Award by VP Bank and two other awards by other partners, is very rare. We are proud and grateful for the support of our partners who make this possible for us. We also see this conference as an important tool with which we can support young talent.
Bernd Hartmann: As with every good partnership, both sides should derive a benefit. On the one hand, VP Bank benefits from the ability to position itself among the students as an attractive employer. On the other, the findings from the evaluated research papers enable us to continually enhance our sustainability approach, which in turn also benefits our clients.
Othar Kordsachia: Practice-oriented research papers in the field of sustainable finance decisively advance the acceptance of sustainable investments. Our workshop in cooperation with VP Bank offers a platform for academics and practitioners to exchange ideas and experiences and at the same time raises the visibility of the Liechtenstein financial centre for sustainable investors.