SunTrust Conference draws top finance scholars from around the globe

May 1, 2019

Considered one of the most prestigious gatherings in the academic finance discipline, the Department of Finance’s annual FSU SunTrust Beach Conference consistently draws respected finance scholars from top universities around the globe. In its 11th year, the conference held in Miramar Beach, Fla., was no different. 

The conference celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Journal of Corporate Finance, one of the top journals for corporate finance research, and was co-sponsored by the University of Pittsburgh, where the journal was founded. The special focus of this year’s conference brought in several prominent academics, enriching an already stellar roster of participants.

To mark the milestone, scholars focused their presentations on past and future developments in corporate finance and their articles and survey pieces will be included in the journal’s 25th Special Anniversary Issue. FSU faculty members Irena Hutton, the Gene Taylor/Bank of America Associate Professor of Finance, and April Knill, the SunTrust Associate Professor of Finance, along with Professor Chad Zutter of the University of Pittsburgh, serve as guest co-editors of the publication.

“The conference has grown over the years because of our reputation for bringing in the highest caliber of participants and presenters to discuss the most relevant and pressing topics in the field,” said William Christiansen, BB&T Associate Professor of Finance, chair of the Department of Finance and a major force behind the creation of the conference. The annual event is funded through a grant from SunTrust Bank.

“It is an optimal environment for scholars to present their original research and discuss emerging trends, debate issues and share perspectives,” Christiansen said.

This year’s presentations and panel discussions addressed several topics, including funding intangibles, investors’ attention to corporate governance, the real effects of climate policy, and merger waves and innovation cycles.

“The ideas presented are often incorporated into course material at FSU and peer research institutions,” said Don Autore, the Dean L. Cash Associate Professor of Finance, who has served as conference director since 2012. “By hosting the conference, FSU faculty can quickly integrate the latest research findings in our field into classroom material and discussions at both the graduate and undergraduate levels."

Keynote speaker Sheridan Titman, a professor of finance and the Walter W. McAllister Centennial Chair in Financial Services in the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas-Austin, spoke about geography and corporate finance. He has published more than 100 articles in leading finance and economics journals, and his research has been recognized with the Smith Breeden Prize for best paper in The Journal of Finance and the GSAM Prize for best paper in the European Finance Association’s Review of Finance. He was a founding professor of the School of Business and Management at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and worked as the special assistant to the U.S. Treasury Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy. 

In addition to FSU College of Business finance faculty members, the conference featured more than 60 participants from, among others, Carnegie Mellon University, George Mason University Indiana University, Oregon State University, Penn State University, the University of Florida, the University of Illinois, and UCLA in the United States; and abroad from the City University of Hong Kong, Erasmus University in the Netherlands, the University of Amsterdam and the University of Warwick in England.

FSU finance faculty members are widely recognized for producing high-quality, innovative research, and several are acknowledged worldwide as experts in their fields. Presently, the faculty’s work encompasses a variety of areas in finance, including corporate, portfolio management, capital markets, hedging, financial institutions, payment systems, behavioral, international and policy issues. Their research is enhanced through the department’s two centers, the BB&T Center for Free Enterprise and the Gene Taylor/Bank of America Center for Banking and Financial Studies, and its SunTrust Visiting Professor Speaker Series and BB&T Speaker Series. In addition to staying active in a wide spectrum of scholarly research, faculty members maintain a well-respected teaching reputation on campus, according to student evaluations and university commendations. 


By Barbara Ash