The Asociación Española de Finanzas/Spanish Finance Association (AEFIN) was founded in 1996 with the goal of promoting and supporting research in finance, as well as the teaching and dissemination of financial knowledge.
This presentation paragraph gives clues about the research situation on financial economics in Spain during the late eighties and the beginning of nineties. Years before, several restless Spanish pioneers in understanding how important a rigorous education in economics was, established the basis for future generations. Andreu Mas Colell (University of Minnesota), Salvador Barberá (Northwestern University), Joaquim Silvestre (University of Minnesota), Joan Esteban (Oxford University) and Juan Urrutia (University of Boulder, Colorado) were, among others, the influential academics who set the path for many other Spanish economists. Interestingly, none of them studied Finance. Indeed, all of them were theoretical economists with limited empirical perspective in their research. But the fundamental basis was there.
The early years
The initial direct impact of their enormous influence was the Simposio de Análisis Económico (Symposium of Economic Analysis) founded by the Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona in 1976. At the beginning of the eighties some of the previous big names understood that Financial Economics was going to be a key research area in the future. They inculcated the curiosity for Finance to some young professors who were initiating their academic life. Ángel Bergés (University of Purdue), Gonzalo Rubio (University of California at Berkeley), Fernando Restoy (Harvard University), José Marín (University of Pennsylvania), and Enrique Sentana (London School of Economics) were some of the initial examples that opened the door to the field of Financial Economics as one of the key research areas in Economics.
Two important steps were taken at the late eighties and beginning of the nineties. First, Rafael Repullo founded CEMFI, a research oriented graduate program in Economics. For the first time in a program clearly oriented to Economics, there was a mandatory course with a suggestive name: Financial Economics. Not only that, courses on Banking and Corporate Finance were also part of the curricula. Second, Gonzalo Rubio, with the support of the BBVA Foundation, launched the Meetings of Financial Economics (Jornadas de Economía Financiera). This was the first specialized meeting in Finance in Spain with a strong research-oriented philosophy.
Other Spanish university professors with a much more business-accounting applied interests founded in 1996 The Asociación Española de Finanzas (AEFIN)/Spanish Finance Association.
The Finance Forum
The main activity of AEFIN was precisely the Finance Forum with the first meeting celebrated in 1993. The Finance Forum struggled deciding the correct orientation that had to be taken. Given the increasing acceptance of the need for rigorous research in Finance among many professors of Spanish universities, the Forum and the spirit of Jornadas de Economía Financiera converged in the Finance Forum of Valencia celebrated in 1999. Vicente Meneu (University of Valencia), Rafael Santamaría (Universidad Pública de Navarra), and Gonzalo Rubio (University of the Basque Country) were the boosters of the new era of AEFIN and the Finance Forum that has a successful history since then. It has become the reference meeting for research in Financial Economics in Spain. They also launched the Spanish Review of Financial Economics, a journal that was intended to help young Spanish researchers to gain experience in the process of research and writing academic papers.
From 1993 to 2003, the average number of papers presented at the conference was 54. The next two meetings definitely changed the Finance Forumwith the objective to become an international reference. The 2004 Forum at University Pompeu Fabra (with José Marín) and the 2005 Forum at Bank of Spain/CEMFI (with Enrique Sentana and Roberto Blanco) were the final step of a long and difficult process to introduce a serious and rigorous research in Financial Economic with a clear intention to compete for publications in international top journals. From 2004 to 2017, the average number of papers presented were 86, but at the XXV Finance Forum celebrated at the Pompeu Fabra University (chaired by Javier Gil-Bazo and Xavier Freixas), 116 papers were presented. From 2010 to 2017 the average acceptance rate was 66%, and the rate went down to 60% at the XXV Finance Forum. The XXVII Finance Forum celebrated at the University Carlos III de Madrid had 166 papers accepted from the 326 papers received, which represents a 51% acceptance rate. As expected, given the overall evolution of the profession, it is becoming more difficult to have a paper accepted. This evolution is closely related to the number of international institutions and academics submitting papers to the most recent meetings. In fact, in 2020 the Finance Forum will be celebrated at the Nova University, School of Business and Economics, which represents a key movement towards research excellence and even more international-oriented meetings.
The University Carlos III and the University of Valencia are the two universities with more papers presented in the history of the Finance Forum. All key research centers from Spain have presented papers at the conference. This includes an increasing number of papers in recent years from University Pompeu Fabra, CEMFI, Bank of Spain, and the top Spanish business schools IESE, ESADE and IE.
From the Finance Forum of 1999 onwards, AEFIN received institutional and financial support from Bolsa y Mercados Españoles (BME), and Comisión Nacional del Mercado de Valores (CNMV) to establish several awards to the most relevant papers presented at the Forum. Since then, the Confederación Española de Cajas de Ahorro (CECA), Caixabank, Sanfi (Banco Santander), and Inverco have contributed to extend these awards from Stocks, Fixed Income, Derivatives, and Corporate Finance to other areas like Banking, Regulation, and Asset Management. Every year AEFIN gives the award to the best paper of the Finance Forum.
To understand the impact of the Finance Forum in the profession, it is enough to point that these awarded papers have been published at the Journal of Finance, Journal of Financial Economics, Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Journal of Banking and Finance, Journal of Financial Markets, and Journal of Corporate Finance, among others. The institutions with more awards are University Carlos III, University of Alicante, University of Islas Baleares, and CEMFI. At the individual level, Roberto Pascual (University of Islas Baleares), Sergio Mayordomo (Bank of Spain), David Abad (University of Alicante), Javier Suárez and Dante Amengual (CEMFI), Juan Ignacio Peña (University Carlos III), and Belén Nieto (University of Alicante) are the researchers with more awards over the first twenty six Finance Forum editions.
In addition, scholars from all over the world present and discuss their latest research. Past keynote speakers include: Yacine Ait-Sahalia, Franklin Allen, Andrés Almazán, Yakov Amihud, Arnoud Boot, Michael Brennan, Douglas W. Diamond, Bernard Dumas, Darren Duxbury, William Goetzmann, Denis Gromb, Andrew Karolyi, Pete Kyle, Alexander Ljunqvist, Robert Lensink, Philip Molyneux, Steven Ongena, Rafael Repullo, Steve Ross, Tano Santos, José Sheinkman, Laura Starks, Marti Subrahmanyan and Luis Viceira.
A clear signal that this was already a successful meeting was the interest of Spanish private institutions for being involved with AEFIN and the Finance Forum. From 2008 to 2010, the Finance Forum was organized by ESADE, IESE and CEU, respectively. Then, the support of Francisco González (University of Oviedo) to convince IE, ICADE and CUNEF to organize the following Finance Forum was very important and deserves an overall recognition.
AEFIN’S Finance Forum has consolidated as a key meeting point for Finance researchers in Europe thanks to the generous contributions of time and enthusiasm by conference chairs, track chairs, members of scientific committee, and board members throughout the years.
Since 2018, AEFIN organizes the PhD Consortium, a one-day event that takes place before the Finance Forum, where PhD students have the opportunity to present their work and receive feedback and advice from senior researchers. Xavier Freixas (University Pompeu Fabra), Antonio Moreno (University of Navarra) and Fernando Zapatero (University of Southern California) have boosted the PhD Consortium with a lot of energy and enthusiasm.
The Association currently has 214 members. In accordance with the AEFIN Statutes, members have the right to participate in the Association’s events, to attend the General Assembly meetings and vote in them, to elect and be elected for positions on the Board or on the various Committees, to receive information on the Association’s activities, to know the identity of the other members, and to be informed on the accounts, income and expenditure and the proceedings of the Association.
AEFIN members receive a reduction in the fee for attending the Finance Forum.
- Javier Gil-Bazo (Universitat Pompeu Fabra)
- Juan Pedro Gómez López (Instituto de Empresa)
- María Gutiérrez Urtiaga (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid)
- Domingo García Coto (BME)
- Ricardo Gimeno Nogués (Banco de España y Universidad Pontificia Comillas)
- Roberto Blanco Pascual (Banco de España)
- Eudald Canadell Casanova (CNMV)
- Ana Isabel Fernández Álvarez (CUNEF)
- Xavier Freixas Dargallo (Universitat Pompeu Fabra)
- Fernando Zapatero (University of Southern California – Director II PhD Consortium)
- Begoña Torre Olmo (Universidad de Cantabria)