Prof. Dr. Kornelia Fabisik

Frankfurt School of Finance & Management

In August 2020, I joined the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management as an Assistant Professor of Finance. I obtained PhD in Finance from the Swiss Finance Institute (SFI) and École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL). My research interests lie in empirical corporate finance, corporate governance, and sustainability.



Why Are Firms With More Managerial Ownership Worth Less?

with Rüdiger Fahlenbrach, René M. Stulz, and Jérôme Taillard

Using more than 50,000 firm-years from 1988 to 2015, we show that the empirical relation between a firm’s Tobin’s q and managerial ownership is systematically negative. When we restrict our sample to larger firms as in the prior literature, our findings are consistent with the literature, showing that there is an increasing and concave relation between q and managerial ownership. We show that these seemingly contradictory results are explained by cumulative past performance and liquidity. Better performing firms have more liquid equity, which enables insiders to more easily sell shares after the IPO, and they also have a higher Tobin’s q.

Selected presentations (*incl. by co-authors):

  • Drexel Corporate Governance Conference* (Philadelphia, USA, 2019)
  • Western Finance Association (WFA) (Huntington Beach, USA, 2019)
  • European Finance Association (EFA)* (Carcavelos, Portugal, 2019)
  • Global Corporate Governance Colloquia (GCGC)* (Frankfurt, Germany, 2019)

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Working papers

with Florian Berg and Zacharias Sautner

The explosion in ESG research has led to a strong reliance on ESG rating providers. We document widespread changes to the historical ratings of Refinitiv ESG, formerly ASSET4, a key rater. Across two downloads in 2018 and 2020, we document large rewritings in ESG ratings, which are systematic and related to past performance. The retroactive rating changes have implications for researchers and investment professionals. Depending on whether the original or rewritten data are used, rankings and classifications of firms into ESG quantiles change. We demonstrate that these changes affect tests that relate ESG ratings to returns. We further show that the data rewriting is an ongoing rather than a one-off phenomenon.

Selected presentations (incl. scheduled*):

  • Frankfurt School of Finance & Management Brown Bag Series (Nov. 2020)
  • Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei* (Apr. 2021)
  • University of Oxford - Saïd Business School* (Apr. 2021)
  • Asian Bureau of Finance and Economic Research (ABFER) Annual Conference* (May 2021)
  • Professional Risk Managers' International Association (PRMIA) Thought Leadership Webinar* (Jun. 2021)
  • 13th Annual Alliance for Research on Corporate Sustainability (ARCS) Research Conference* (Jun. 2021)

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This paper presents the first large-scale empirical analysis of the pledging phenomenon among U.S. CEOs. Between 2007 and 2016, 7.6% of publicly listed U.S. firms disclosed that their CEOs had pledged company stock as collateral for a loan. On average, CEOs pledge 38% of their shares. The mean loan value is an economically sizeable $65 million. CEOs use the funds to either double down (6.0%), hedge their ownership (3.5%), or to obtain liquidity while maintaining ownership (90.5%). My event study results reveal that stock market participants view pledging as value-enhancing, but perceive significant pledging as value-destroying. Similarly, I find no evidence of its negative shareholder value consequences, except for CEOs who engage in significant pledging.

Selected presentations:

  • EPFL-UNIL Brown Bag Series (Lausanne, Switzerland, 2019)
  • LSE PhD Seminar (London, United Kingdom, 2019)
  • SFI Research Days (Gerzensee, Switzerland, 2019)
  • SFI Academic Job Market Workshop (Lausanne, Switzerland, 2019)
  • American Finance Association (AFA) PhD Student Poster Session (San Diego, USA, 2020)
  • INSEAD (Paris, France, 2020)
  • Goethe University Frankfurt (Frankfurt, Germany, 2020)
  • Frankfurt School of Finance & Management (Frankfurt, Germany, 2020)
  • Annual Meeting of the Swiss Society for Financial Market Research (SGF Conference 2020)* cancelled
  • University of Southampton (virtual, 2020)
  • Junior European Finance Seminar (virtual, 2020)


École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)

Swiss Finance Institute (SFI) PhD Program in Finance
Thesis advisor: Prof. Rüdiger Fahlenbrach
Title: PhD in Finance (Ph.D.)

Lausanne, Switzerland
September 2015 - July 2020

London School of Economics (LSE)

Visiting Scholar, Faculty sponsor: Prof. Dirk Jenter

London, United Kingdom
May 2019 - July 2019

Ludwig-Maximilians University (LMU)

Title: Master of Science in Business Administration (M.Sc.)

Munich, Germany
October 2012 - September 2015
Lausanne, Switzerland
September 2013 - February 2014

Ludwig-Maximilians University (LMU)

Title: Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (B.Sc.)

Munich, Germany
October 2009 - September 2012


Teaching experience
  • Data Analytics and Machine Learning in Finance
    • Frankfurt School of Finance & Management, since 2021, English
    • Level: Master
    • Course textbook: Introduction to Machine Learning with Python: A Guide for Data Scientists by Andreas C. Müller und Sarah Guido
    • Role: Course lecturer

  • Managerial Finance
    • EPFL, 2018 - 2020, English
    • Level: EMBA
    • Course textbook: Corporate Finance by Jonathan B. Berk and Peter DeMarzo
    • Role: Teaching assistant

  • Introduction to Finance
    • EPFL, 2016 - 2020, English
    • Level: Master
    • Course textbook: Corporate Finance by Jonathan B. Berk and Peter DeMarzo
    • Role: Teaching assistant

  • Grundlagen der Betriebswirtschaftslehre (Fundamentals of Business Administration)
    • LMU, 2011-2012, German
    • Level: Bachelor
    • Course textbook: Einführung in die Betriebswirtschaftslehre by Werner Neus
    • Role: Teaching assistant


Teaching awards
  • 2019: Best teaching assistant of the Master in Financial Engineering (MFE) section
    • Graduating MFE class of 2019

  • 2018: College of Management of Technology (CDM) award for outstanding teaching
Other awards
  • 2015: Swiss Finance Institute PhD Program Scholarship, Léman campus, 30,000 CHF


  • 2014: UBS Investment Bank
    • Full-time, Equity Derivatives Department
    • Zurich, Switzerland

  • 2013: MEAG MUNICH ERGO Asset Management
    • Part-time, Risk Controlling and Limit Management Department
    • Munich, Germany


Professional certifications
  • Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA) (Charterholder since 2019)
  • Professional Risk Manager (PRM™) (Charterholder since 2013)
  • Eurex Trading Certificate (2013)


Professor Rüdiger Fahlenbrach

Professor of Finance Swiss Finance Institute
Senior Chair École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)
Quartier UNIL-Chamberonne, Bâtiment Extranef, #211
CH-1015 Lausanne
Email: ruediger.fahlenbrach[at]

Professor Dirk Jenter

Associate Professor of Finance
CEPR Research Fellow
London School of Economics
Department of Finance
Houghton Street, CON 2.15
London WC2A 2AE
Email: D.Jenter[at]

Professor René M. Stulz

Everett D. Reese Chair of Banking and Monetary Economics
The Ohio State University
806 Fisher Hall
2100 Neil Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210-1399
Email: stulz.1[at]


Frankfurt School of Finance & Management
Adickesallee 32-34, Office 3.61
60322 Frankfurt am Main
Office: +49 69 154008 828

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