Research in finance addresses how both individuals and firms use markets to allocate resources over time. A central theme is to understand the role of the different markets and how frictions on these markets impact the decision making under uncertainty. In fact, financial questions permeate our everyday life. For example, how is the price of a stock determined, how should individuals invest in financial assets, to which projects should a bank lend money and should a firm make a new investment or rather merge with another firm? Thus, finance consists of various research fields. The Finance group conducts both theoretical and empirical research in:
- Asset pricing providing a foundation for pricing claims to uncertain payments.
- Asset allocation explaining how investors dynamically allocate wealth.
- Corporate finance providing an understanding of firms’ capital structure and investment behaviour in a dynamic setting.
- Financial intermediation explaining reallocation of funds, stability of markets, behaviour of banks and effects of regulation.
Our research has a mathematical-statistical theoretical foundation with practical relevance. A unique focus of this group is dynamic corporate finance, which is combined with accounting issues.
Finance is a cornerstone in business administration. The institutional framework is central in finance and as such the research questions have a natural starting point in problems faced by firms, investors, market regulators, etc. While the research in finance typically addresses applied problems, the research methods rely on advanced mathematical-statistical models with a theoretical background often founded in microeconomics. As such, the primary research method in finance is quantitative, and the research can have a theoretical or an empirical focus.
A crucial paradigm in finance is the principle of absence of arbitrage in well-functioning financial markets. Another paradigm takes as a starting point the fact that individuals maximize their expected life-time utility. This is used to study, for example, the pricing of fundamental securities, the valuation of firms and how individuals optimally invest on financial markets. Furthermore, the individual optimality is central when finance addresses problems faced by firms. Hence, much research in corporate finance focuses on agency problems. This is used to study, for example, when firms should initiate investments, how they should set their capital structure and which contracts they should offer to financial investors. Similarly, financial intermediation quantitatively studies how capital is reallocated between agents taking into account that agents optimize individually and that regulators impose frictions on capital.
The Finance group disseminates research to society by participating in various committees and boards. For example, we have a board member in the mutual fund Sydinvest, a board member in the Danish journal Finans/Invest and a member in a task force group set up by the Ministry of Business and Growth.
We publish in high-quality journals (e.g. JBF, JCF) and we aim to ameliorate this in the future. Our research is often interdisciplinary and we also publish in economics and accounting journals and organizes research seminars, internal colloquia, and is active at international conferences.
The Finance group teaches at all levels and is responsible for several Bachelor’s and Master’s courses, and we have also taught Ph.D. courses in corporate finance. In addition, the group is responsible for two graduate MSc profiles. Undergraduate courses are taught in the Business Administration (Generel Erhvervsøkonomi and Business Management), Economics, and Mathematics-Economics programmes. At the graduate level the unit is particularly involved in the MSc Business Administration - Accounting and Finance programme and the MSc Economics - Finance and Economics programme, and several Mathematics-Economics students enroll in the finance courses. The graduate courses attract a large number of students: 50-70 students in mandatory finance courses, and elective courses often attract around 40 students.
The unit delivers high quality in its educational obligations, both in terms of course content and in terms of working with the teaching and examination methods. For example, a member won the SDU-BSS teaching prize in 2014, and the group incorporates up-to-date research into the teaching in all graduate courses taught by faculty members. Our graduate finance programmes have a high quality level to ensure that the students are well equipped in competing for jobs; the hallmark of the group’s profiles is a profound theoretical foundation with practical applications. The group is responsible for undergraduate teaching at several campuses, and a recent pedagogical focus is to ensure quality.