The Federation of European Securities Exchanges (FESE) is delighted to announce that the winner of the FESE De la Vega Prize 2021 is Jonas Heese, the Marvin Bower Associate Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, for his paper “Does industry employment of active regulators compromise oversight?”
Industry employment of active regulators is the subject of debate. The paper observes that the practice has long raised concern that it leads to “regulatory capture, whereby regulators receive financial compensation from firms in exchange for lax oversight.” In response, most public regulators have implemented policies that require regulators to resign from industry employment upon taking office, effectively prohibiting industry employment for active regulators. The paper also draws attention, however, to self-regulatory organisations (SROs) who, in contrast, often allow regulators to retain industry employment during their tenure at the SRO. Their argument, Heese writes, is that “this practice strengthens oversight, because it helps to attract individuals with strong expertise.”
To assess the broader title question, this paper examines the phenomenon of senior regulators at FREP – the German Financial Reporting Enforcement Panel – simultaneously holding board directorships and its impact on regulatory oversight. The paper finds that firms are less likely to face enforcement actions after appointing a FREP executive to their board. Further, such firms are then also less likely to receive an unqualified audit opinion, more likely to have an above normal risk of accounting manipulation as measured by an F-Score greater than 1, and exhibit higher abnormal accruals. Heese also identifies that director compensation increases for these regulators after their FREP appointment. Taken together, the paper argues, these findings “show that industry employment of active regulators can result in conflicts of interest that facilitate regulatory capture.”
The Prize was awarded by Rainer Riess, FESE Director General, on Tuesday 1st June 2021 at the FESE virtual Convention.
In recognition of its substantial merit, the Jury agreed also to accord a ‘Special Mention’ to the paper “Liquid speed: A micro-burst fee for low-latency exchanges” co-authored by Michael Brolley, of the Wilfrid Laurier University, and Marius Zoican, of the University of Toronto.
FESE De la Vega Advisory Jury 2021
Söhnke M. Bartram, Ph.D., Professor of Finance, University of Warwick and CEPR
Sarah Draus, Ph.D., Autoriteit Financiële Markten
Alain Durré, Ph.D., Executive Director and Economiste en chef, Goldman Sachs Paris
Marlene D. Haas, Ph.D., Associate, Cornerstone Research
Thomas Johann, Assistant Professor, University of Mannheim
Arman Khachaturyan, Ph.D., Director General, Financial Policy: Economic and Financial Affairs, Eurasian Economic Commission
Angel Pardo Tornero, Professor, Department of Financial Economics, University of Valencia
Talis Putnins, Professor, Finance Discipline Group, University of Technology Sydney
Roger Silvers, Assistant Professor, School of Accounting, David Eccles School of Business, The University of Utah
Apostolos Thomadakis, Ph.D., Researcher, CEPS
Christian Westheide, Assistant Professor of Finance, University of Vienna
Notes to editors
FESE De la Vega Prize
Every year since 2000, FESE has invited researchers, academics and practitioners to submit papers to the FESE De la Vega Prize which rewards outstanding research related to securities markets in Europe. Papers about current developments in European securities markets which promote public markets are particularly welcome.
Further information can be found on the FESE website.
The Federation of European Securities Exchanges (FESE) represents 35 exchanges in equities, bonds, derivatives and commodities through 18 Full Members from 30 countries, as well as 1 Affiliate Member and 1 Observer Member.
At the end of April 2021, FESE members had 9,112 companies listed on their markets, of which 14% are foreign companies contributing towards European integration and providing broad and liquid access to Europe’s capital markets. Many of our members also organise specialised markets that allow small and medium sized companies across Europe to access capital markets; 1,263 companies were listed in these specialised markets/segments in equity, increasing choice for investors and issuers. Through their RM and MTF operations, FESE members are keen to support the European Commission’s objective of creating a Capital Markets Union.
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