NFI Research programme

The objective of the programme is to facilitate for financial economic research of the highest academic standard in areas of particular relevance for the long-term management of the Government Pension Fund Global.

The Research Programme reflects the Executive Board of Norges Bank`s long-term commitment to strengthen the scientific foundation of the management of the fund.

In 2020 NFI invited to submission of research proposals within the topic:
Changing Ownership Structure and its Implications for Corporate Governance

The ownership structure of listed companies has changed over the last decades. Large, institutional investors have become significant owners through the rise of collective investment vehicles. Their growth has been further spurred by the rise of passive, index-tracking strategies, allowing many retail investors and plan participants to diversify their portfolios at low costs. Even with diversified portfolios and minority stakes in thousands of companies, institutional investors are the largest shareholders in many companies.

Ownership structure can affect the relationship and balancing of interests between shareholders and management, and by extension, company behaviour. The characteristics of the largest asset managers (e.g. size, mandate, benchmark, style, and the stability of their assets under management) determine their incentives and capabilities to engage with companies and to improve governance practices at large corporations.

The project should contribute to our understanding of current ownership structures and their implications for companies and institutional investors. First, we would like to learn more about how ownership structures may affect companies’ governance, corporate decision-making and the long-term performance. Secondly, we are interested in research that provides new insight into how institutional investors can affect corporate governance at scale through generalised stewardship activities such as voting, dialogue, industry initiatives and contribution to market standards, or other relevant activities. We welcome contributions that shed light on how these activities affect portfolio performance, company outcomes, and implications of maximising portfolio performance rather than the relative performance of individual companies.

The NFI may provide support for research initiatives for a period of up to three years. The research funding may be used for conferences, roundtables, workshops, papers, or other research initiatives aiming at original research and new scientific insight. In the past, we have successfully funded a conference that led to a special issue of a top journal and we would be willing to do so again. The research funding is not intended to cover summer salaries.

The NFI welcomes proposals from academic institutions and researchers with a proven record of carrying out high quality research. Submitted research proposals will be subjected to evaluation by the NFI Scientific Advisory Board. The NFI may initiate proposals recommended by the Scientific Advisory Board at its own discretion.

Please contact us for more information about the call and application procedure:

Research projects funded under the programme

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) has received a three-year grant to carry out a series of research conferences on topics within long-term asset management. The project will be led by NBER Research Associates Monika Piazzesi, who is the Joan Kenney Professor of Economics at Stanford University, and Luis M. Viceira, the George E. Bates Professor at Harvard Business School. The project commenced on 1 January 2016.

London Business School (LBS) has received a three-year grant to investigate engaged ownership. LBS will conduct the project in cooperation with researchers from Bocconi and ULB. Professors Marco Becht (Université libre de Bruxelles), Julian Franks (LBS), and Hannes Wagner (Bocconi) will examine the effectiveness of engaged ownership by analysing the extent, impact and value of engaged ownership by Standard Life Investments (SLI). The project commenced on 1 January 2016.

New York University Stern School of Business (NYU Stern) has received a two-year grant to carry out finance research on environmental risks. Robert Engle, NYU Stern Michael Armellino Professor of Finance and winner of the 2003 Nobel Prize in Economics, and Johannes Stroebel, NYU Stern Assistant Professor of Finance, will apply the tools of modern finance and risk management to measure and model environmental risks, particularly those originating from climate change. The objective of the research project is to identify optimal hedging portfolios against environmental risks. The project will also include new research to improve estimates of the discount rate. As part of the project, the NYU Stern Volatility Institute will organise a conference, where academics and practitioners are brought together to discuss financial approaches to environmental risks and climate change.

Harrison Hong, the John R. Eckel Jr. Professor of Financial Economics at Columbia University, has received a three-year grant to carry out research and convene two research conferences on climate change and capital market efficiency. The conferences will be organised by Columbia’s Program in Economic Research (PER). Professor Hong will convene the two conferences in collaboration with José Scheinkman, the Charles and Lynn Zhang Professor of Economics at Columbia University, and Professor Andrew Karolyi of Cornell University, the Executive Editor of the Review of Financial Studies.

Charles Jones, Professor of Finance at Columbia University, has received a three-year research grant to study the effect of technological and regulatory changes on market structure and transparency across equity and fixed-income markets in the US and Europe. He will lead a team of senior researchers from the University of California Berkeley, VU Amsterdam and UNSW Business School in Sydney.The research team aims to produce a number of academic research papers and to organise a series of conferences bringing together regulators, practitioners, market innovators and academics during the grant period.

Last saved: 15/03/2021

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