Ten Years House of Finance: Interdisciplinary Research Competence at the Financial Center Frankfurt

The cluster for financial research is celebrating its tenth anniversary. Synergies between academia, finance industry and politics create new knowledge on the way to more sustainability in the financial markets

For ten years, the House of Finance has been uniting scientific research and academic education in finance at the Goethe University Frankfurt. It was inaugurated in 2008. Just one year earlier, the global economic and financial crisis had demonstrated the need for independent expertise and good regulation in financial markets. The complexity and regulatory framework of financial markets require detailed knowledge as well as a sight on the wider context - an approach that the researchers have followed since the foundation of the House of Finance.

Right next to the Poelzig Ensemble, the House of Finance fits in with its classicist style into the Campus Westend, which was redesigned in 2001. The university departments cooperate with the resident research institutes and promote interdisciplinary exchange in financial research. “The competence cluster allowed the core topic finance to be studied, reflected and approached from different perspectives,” says Wolfgang König, Director of the House of Finance. “Not only top-level research is being carried out here, but it also results in social and practical benefits for a sustainable, stable financial system,” explains König.

Meanwhile, around 40 professors and 200 research assistants from all over the world are conducting research at the House of Finance. Among them are economists, management experts and lawyers.

New push through interdisciplinary research

The core areas correspond to the university departments Finance, Money and Macroeconomics as well as the legal focus “Law of Companies and Finances”. In addition to fundamental research, it is also a concern to facilitate academic education and the exchange of knowledge with the financial sector and politics.

The LOEWE Center SAFE, the Center for Financial Studies (CFS), the E-Finance Lab (EFL), the Institute for Monetary and Financial Stability (IMFS) and the International Center for Insurance Regulation (ICIR) contribute scientific input to financial research among others on sustainable financial markets and institutions, digitalization, the monetary and financial system and insurance regulation. The academics publish their findings in excellent journals and benefit from the close cooperation across all disciplines to evaluate current market developments and decisions of the legislator. Renowned guest lecturers enable a fruitful exchange that brings new impulses. For example, the Visiting Professorship for Financial History initiated by the bank houses Metzler and Rothschild has already attracted distinguished researchers such as Benjamin Friedman, Harvard University (2015), Caroline Fohlin, Emory University Atlanta (2016), Hans-Joachim Voth, University of Zurich (2017) and Harold James, Princeton University (2018). In the near future Barry Eichengreen, University of California, Berkeley (2019) and Catherine Schenk, University of Oxford (2020) are expected.

This also benefits the next generation of financial experts: The Graduate School of Economics, Finance, and Management (GSEFM) promotes young academics in graduate programs structured according to the Anglo-Saxon model. Additionally, the Goethe Business School (GBS) and the Institute of Law and Finance (ILF) are resident in the building. Practitioners can take further training in master or individually tailored executive education programs. Visiting professors from internationally recognized universities, international conferences and summer schools contribute to a comprehensive education. The ILF Summer School or the Reflective Leadership Program of GBS convey new academic knowledge, coordinated with partners from business and politics.

Knowledge transfer at all levels

Aside from research and further education, various platforms for social dialogue underline the practical benefits and social relevance of research at the House of Finance. The SAFE Policy Center, for example, maintains a dialog with representatives from politics and regulation in Frankfurt, Brussels and Berlin. It is not just about giving research-based policy recommendations, but to regularly invite different perspectives from practice on economic, regulatory and legal aspects for research.

Furthermore, numerous events contribute to the exchange of knowledge with citizens, financial market experts and industry representatives. Christine Lagarde of the International Monetary Fund, Pier Carlo Padoan, then Minister of Economy and Finance of Italy, members of the Governing Board of the European Central Bank and Board members of the Bundesbank and many other high-ranking representatives of institutions and companies were already invited as guest speakers. Angela Merkel at the First Frankfurt Finance Summit in March 2014 or Wolfgang Schäuble as a speaker of the Center for Financial Studies in March 2016 have already been guests in the House of Finance and discussed the current challenges of financial policy.

The House of Finance also established itself over the past decade as a conference venue. Its institutes and researchers are well networked with scientific organizations and institutions worldwide and host numerous conferences and workshops with them. For example, conferences have been held with the Central Bank Research Association (CEBRA), the Center for Economic Policy Research (CEPR), the Journal of Accounting and the Review of Economic Studies. Researchers, politicians and practitioners also share views on issues such as structural reforms in the European banking sector, financial technology and household finance, taking advantage of participants’ international backgrounds.

Not least due to its location in the financial center of Frankfurt and the strong in research Goethe University, the House of Finance has become an important interdisciplinary research cluster over the past ten years. Current challenges such as Brexit, digitalization and climate change raise new questions. The academics at the House of Finance pick up on these issues in order to continue contributing to a stable financial system in the future.