The Center “Financial Intermediaries and the Real Economy” (short “FIRE” or the “Center”) conducts and disseminates new research across a wide array of financial topics and organizes conferences that bring together academics, practitioners and regulators. The Center specializes in the study of financial institutions and markets, including banks, exchanges, managed funds and insurance companies.
The primary objectives of the Center are to bring Frankfurt School’s research on financial institutions and markets to the attention of policymakers, regulators, practitioners, fellow academics, the media, and the general public; to facilitate the flow of ideas among these constituents; and to support the creation of cutting-edge research at Frankfurt School. The Center interfaces with its external constituents in a variety of ways, including regular conferences, workshops, and public lectures, often in collaboration with external sponsors and collaborators.
The history of the Center goes back to 2015, when the School received a generous founding grant from the Commerzbank Foundation (“Commerzbank Stiftung”). The Center’s first Director was Professor Michael Koetter, who joined IWH Halle in September 2016. Since its inception, the Center, its team and academic network have successfully contributed to academic research in projects, organized or contributed to academic conferences and enriched the policy debate.
It is currently co-headed by Professor Sascha Steffen, who joined Frankfurt School as a Professor of Finance in August 2017, and Prof. Koetter with the goal to broaden the Center’s scope and deepen its activities. The Center will fund its activities mainly through contributions from a diversified group of sponsors.
Due to its focus and organizational structure, the Center will be at the forefront of business and regulatory developments affecting the financial services industry over the years to come. Frankfurt School is uniquely suited to host this Center due to its extensive cooperation with non-university partners in Frankfurt, such as the Deutsche Bundesbank, the European Central Bank (ECB), the Bundesanstalt für Finanzaufsicht (BaFin) and the Frankfurt Institute for Risk Management (FIRM) as well as the presence of various financial intermediaries (banks, hedge funds, Fin Techs or stock exchange) and regulators in Frankfurt.
Importantly, the center combines and benefits from a broad range of leading research from different disciplines such as Accounting, Economics and Finance at Frankfurt School. It thus will provide substantive and independent expertise and insights on financial institutions and markets supported by academic evidence. The vision is to be a premier research center that promotes and supports the most innovative finance research in order to transform business practice, education and to provide thought leadership that forms a voice to be heard.