Finance faculty, students tackle major issues through research

Elvis caught the attention of Sherman Hanna of Ohio State University as he reviewed a textbook authored by Pamplin College of Business finance professor Art Keown.

“I must admit that Keown had me on page one with a photo of Elvis Presley, but the interesting celebrity photos … are but a small part of what makes this a nice and effective personal finance text,” Hanna wrote about Personal Finance: Turning Money into Wealth for the Financial Counseling and Planning Journal.

   

Professor Art Keown has won an Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia. Professor Art Keown has won an Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia.

“Even though this text is clearly for a general personal finance course,” Hanna wrote, “Keown integrates the use of a financial calculator, making this a good choice for programs that train financial planners.”

The textbook, now in its fifth edition, is used on college campuses internationally. Keown was also a pioneer in using the Internet for class material. In the mid-1990s, he created a website for the textbook that provided students with exercises and discussions tied to about 850 related links.

His three textbooks have introduced finance to more than a million college students around the globe. “If everyone wrote like Keown,” Hanna noted, “there would be no dull textbooks.”

Keown is the recipient of multiple teaching awards, including the SCHEV Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia and the university’s William E. Wine Award.

“He truly has a gift for connecting with students,” said Raman Kumar, head of the Department of Finance, Insurance, and Business Law.

   

George Morgan, the SunTrust Professor of Finance, is also the faculty co-advisor for BASIS (Bond And Securities Investing by Students), which manages a multimillion dollar investment portfolio. George Morgan, the SunTrust Professor of Finance, is also the faculty co-advisor for BASIS (Bond And Securities Investing by Students), which manages a multimillion dollar investment portfolio.

Keown is one example of the many strengths of the department, which, Kumar said, seeks to give students a quality finance education that is relevant to modern business needs.

Finance undergraduates and MBAs, he said, are learning from faculty members and doctoral students who are tackling major issues through research. 

Assistant Professor Yong Chen, for example, has done research that counters the perception of derivatives as dangerous tools and investments.

Associate Professor Sattar Mansi, in an article titled "Credit Protection Laws and the Cost of Debt" in the Journal of Law and Economics, shows that stricter state laws regarding payouts from accumulated earnings --  dividends and share repurchases -- significantly decrease corporate bond yield spreads.

Assistant Professor Carl Ullrich is studying how regulatory uncertainty affects power plant investment and construction using data reported about every power plant in the United States to test models developed for studying financial markets.

Professor Vijay Singal’s research has benefited institutional and individual investors. His work on stock market efficiency, featured in his book, Beyond the Random Walk, helps investors make smart investment decisions.

   

Vijay Singal, the J. Gray Ferguson Professor of Finance, has researched stock market efficiency. Vijay Singal, the J. Gray Ferguson Professor of Finance, has researched stock market efficiency.

Associate Professor Randy Billingsley authored a book, Understanding Arbitrage: An Intuitive Approach to Financial Analysis, that seeks to improve readers’ understanding of the underlying economic principles of arbitrage, as well as their skills in using arbitrage in corporate finance and investment analysis.

Professor Greg Kadlec was one of the first researchers to alert the Securities and Exchange Commission about problems in the mutual funds industry that were widely publicized in 2003. His research on mutual fund trading costs was cited by SEC and industry officials in Congressional testimony.

Business Law Professor Janine Hiller received a Fulbright Scholar grant and the Fulbright-Lund Distinguished Chair of International Public Law. She spent the 2010 fall semester in Sweden at Lund University’s Raoul Wallenberg Institute of International Human Rights Law, where her pursuits included a research project comparing Swedish, European Union, and U.S. approaches to patient privacy and health rights in the area of electronic health record systems.

The department also seeks to give its students a first-hand view of the operations of international financial systems. Finance faculty members such as professors George Morgan, Rodney Thompson, and Dilip Shome have led many study-abroad programs to Asia, South Africa, and Europe.

Finance deals with resource allocation on the corporate, institutional, and personal levels, Kumar said, and finance professionals are integral to how money, the lifeblood of the economic system, flows through corporations, capital markets, and financial institutions to sustain the U.S. and global economy. “Our finance program has a reputation of producing graduates with strong quantitative and technical skills,” Kumar said.

  • For more information on this topic, contact Sookhan Ho at (540) 231-5071.

By the numbers

Did you know these facts about the Department of Finance, Insurance, and Business Law?

  • 625: Undergraduate enrollment, mostly juniors and seniors
  • 310: Bachelor’s degrees awarded in 2009-10
  • 28: Faculty members (19 tenure-track faculty members, two professors of practice, one visiting assistant professor, and six adjunct professors/instructors)

About the textbook

    "Personal Finance: Turning Money into Wealth" is used by colleges across the globe.

This is the synopsis of Personal Finance: Turning Money into Wealth found on amazon.com: "Teaching the readers how to manage their personal finances, this book concentrates on the fundamentals and underlying principles of personal finance, rather than focusing on equations and specific tools that are more easily forgotten. Building on 15 fundamental principles of personal finance, the book helps the readers develop an intuitive understanding not only of the process of financial planning, but also the logic that drives it."

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