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Financial Seminars

Spotlight Session: Do Independent Directors Provide a Valuable Service to Shareholders?
9 May 2016

Co-organized by the HKUST-NYU Stern MS in Global Finance Program and The American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong

About the Seminar

Having a Majority of independent directors on the board is standard in many markets around the world and considered a best practice. The norm is encouraged by international guidelines for corporate governance and recent regulatory initiatives. Despite the widespread view that independent directors are beneficial to shareholder value, direct empirical evidence is scant.

In this Spotlight Session Professor Kasper Meisner Nielsen from HKUST approaches the question from an unusual angle - the suddent deaths of independent directors - and show that independent board members are indeed beneficial to shareholder value. Adding more independent directors to a board is, however, not always beneficial. Reforms of corporate boards should therefore aim at optimizing board effectiveness, rather than metting global best practices.

Speaker Bio

Professor Kasper Meisner Nielsen is Associate Professor at HKUST, and Academic Director of the HKUST-NYU Stern MS in Global Finance. He received his Bachelor of Science, Master of Science, and Ph.D. degrees in Economics from the University of Copenhagen. Professor Nielsen previously taught at Chinese University of Hong Kong and Copenhagen Business School, and has been a visiting scholar at Stern School of Business at New York University.

Professor Nielsen's research interests are corporate governance, entrepreneurial finance, family business, and household finance. His research has featured in international newspapers and magazines including Business Week, Financial Times, Harvard Business Review, International Herald Tribune, The Economist, The Times of India, and Wall Street Journal. He has studied the consequence of family succession on firm performance, the value of independent directos, the level of executive compensation, why individuals shy away from stocks, and households' decisions to refinance their mortgage. His work has been published in academic journals including The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Journal of Financial Economics, Review of Financial Studies, Management Science, Review of Finance, Journal of Corporate Finance and Journal of Banking and Finance.

His research has been awarded with external financing from competitive research grants on several occasions. On his area of expertise Professor Nielsen has served as an external advisor, consultant, and lecturer to government agencies and companies in China, Denmark and Hong Kong.

Seminar Schedule

12:00     Registration and Networking
12:30     Introduction
12:40     Presentation
13:30     Q & A
13:45     End


Conference Centre, AmCham HK
The America Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong
1904 Bank of America Tower
12 Harcourt Road
Hong Kong

Please click HERE for RSVP. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Miranda Wong (T: +852 2358 5029 /