IRRC Institute Research Award: Post-Modern Portfolio Theory

2015 Competition Now Open

We are pleased to kick off the fourth annual IRRCi Research Award competition seeking innovative research that examines the interaction between the real economy and investment theory.

Practitioners and academics are invited to submit research papers by September 15, 2015, for consideration by a blue-ribbon panel of judges with deep finance and investment experience.

Two research papers – one academic and one practitioner – each will receive the 2015 IRRCi Research Award along with a $10,000 award. The winning papers will also be presented at the December 9, 2015, forum at the Columbia University Millstein Center for Global Markets and Corporate Governance Forum in New York, NY.

The panel of judges includes:

  • Mark Anson, Chief Investment Officer, Acadia Investment Management
  • Collette Chilton, Chief Investment Officer, Williams College
  • Robert Dannhauser, Head of Capital Markets Policy, CFA Institute
  • James Hawley, Professor & Director, Elfenworks Center for Fiduciary Capitalism, Saint Mary's College of California
  • Robert Jackson, Jr., Faculty Co-Director, Ira M. Millstein Center for Global Markets and Corporate Governance and Associate Professor of Law and Milton Handler Fellow at Columbia Law School
  • Nell Minow, Governance Expert and Columnist, Huffington Post.

Biographies of the judges are available here.

This research competition has rapidly become a prominent award garnering significant attention amongst the investment community, academia and policymakers. It highlights innovative research focused on the nexus between real world economy activity and investment theory. Last year, the winning research was covered by major media outlets including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and CNBC

More information regarding the award process, submission guidelines and calendar is available here, along with the award submission form and Frequently Asked Questions.

See the full body of IRRCi research.

Why the Award?

Modern portfolio theory has dominated the academic investment landscape for a half century. One hallmark of MPT and other key investment theory paradigms is an increased focus on elements of the economic system proximate to security selection and portfolio construction (i.e. securities, asset classes, investors) rather than the real economy.

Meanwhile, the increasing importance of the private sector relative to the public sector in the real economy has increased scrutiny of private sector behavior and economic activity. This has led to the rise of a responsible investing movement.2 However, a significant focus of that scrutiny, though certainly not all, is explicitly or implicitly normative (i.e. a private sector entity "should" act in a certain manner) and pays minimal attention to portfolio and investment theory.

The IRRC Institute Research Award seeks to encourage thought leadership that integrates analysis of private sector behavior with investment theory. Because the judges seek to allow for a broad interpretation of this research goal, the award does not require specific areas such as specific asset classes or a requirement to study specific real economy issues.

1$10,000 is awarded for each winning paper. If there are multiple authors, the award will be divided evenly between each author. Each award recipient is fully responsible for all applicable taxes.

2Responsible investment, for this purpose, includes various rubrics across both the financial and real economies, such as socially responsible investing, corporate social responsibility and sustainability.