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Professor Alan Gregory

Professor Alan Gregory

Emeritus Professor of Finance

+44 (0) 1392 72-

Alan Gregory is an Emeritus Professor of Finance at the University of Exeter Business School. Prior to taking up this position, he held professorial positions at both the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, and the University of Glasgow. In addition to his position at Exeter, he was a full panel member of the Competition Commission for two successive for year terms until September 2009 and is now External Advisor to the Competition and Markets Authority's Cost of Capital Group.

His consulting experience includes acting as advisor to one of the largest accounting firms on a number of issues, advising HM Treasury, and consulting for fund managers on investment strategies and asset allocation strategies.  His most recent work has invlved providing expert witness analyses in relation to the 2020/1 water company appeals to the CMA. His work at the Competition Commission involved being a panel member on a number of inquiries, including a regulatory inquiry into airport pricing, market inquiries into domestic bulk liquid petroleum gas and the UK grocery market, and merger inquiries relating to the GUS / Littlewoods mail order operations and the takeover bids for the London Stock Exchange by Euronext and Deutsche Börse. In addition, he has acted as a consultant to other inquiries including the mobile phone and storecards inquiries. He has also undertaken expert witness work for the Treasury Solicitors’ Department, and in connection with Australian Gas Distribution pricing cases.

He was a panel member of the UoA 19 Research Evaluation Framework exercise for the 2014 REF.

He is now managing director of AGRF Ltd, a consultancy firm specialising in issues relating to cost of capital and profitability measurement.

Nationality: Welsh


  • MSc in Accounting and Finance (London School of Economics and Political Science, 1983)
  • Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) (qualified in 1974); elected to associate membership 1978; elected to Fellowship 1986)
  • Certificate in Education (1978).


Research clusters

Research interests

My research interests are as follows:

  1. The empirical estimation of cost of capital, which has included the award of a an ESRC Grant of approximately £300k (started in December 2012, completed in December 2016).  Outputs to date include a recent JBFA paper the empirical testing of the Fama-French and Carhart models in the UK, and a paper on beta estimation published in 2018.  Both these papers are with Dr Rajesh Tharyan and Dr Shan Hua, with whom I provided downloadable data on Fama-French style portfolios and factors for the UK and the ESRC grant is, inter alia, to support the regular updating of these data for benefit of UK academic researchers via the Xfi website.  I was lead researcher on the grant with three other co-researchers at Exeter.
  2. The general area of market-based empirical research, particularly with regard to the robustness of conclusions that can be drawn from such studies in the light of documented risk factors.  At present, this interest principally focuses upon the areas of take-overs and mergers together with returns to, and valuation of, corporate social responsibility agendae. Related work has focused on market reaction to directors’ trading activity, and the success of initial public offerings.  A Leverhulme research grant of approximately £78K funding work on directors' dealing around takeovers was completed in 2010.
  3. My interest in CSR has included two studies of the performance of ethical and non-ethical UK unit trusts which were published in the Journal of Business Finance and Accounting (JBFA).  Latest work is investigating the returns to, and market valuation of, CSR in relation to the US and two papers have been published in Journal of Business Ethics on this theme. A final paper on earnings persistence and firm value was recently published in JBFA.
  4. I have had a long standing interest in the long run returns to UK acquirers. This led to me being invited to give a keynote paper at the 2015 ICAEW “Better Markets” Conference.  The paper, “How far does financial reporting allow us to judge whether M&A activity is successful?” was published in Accounting and Business Research.

Research grants obtained

  • £284,355 from ESRC for “Cost of Capital and Asset Pricing in the UK” (as Principal Investogator; joint with Christina Dargenidou, Rajesh Tharyan and Penguo Wang). 2012-2015.
  • £25,000 from ICAEW for £25,000 for “The valuation and long run returns of firms with positive corporate social responsibility (CSR) indicators” (as Principal Investigator: joint with Julie Whittaker) 2011-13.
  • £78,000 from Leverhulme to investigate directors’ trading patterns around takeover announcements (2008-2010, I was lead applicant – the bid was joint with Ian Tonks).
  • £8,250 from INQUIRE to investigate the Jensen 'free cash flow' hypothesis as it relates to UK take-overs (1996-8).
  • £26,000 (Phase 1) from CIMA, to investigate perceptions of cost of capital in the UK (1996-9).
  • £2,500 (Phase 2) from CIMA to estimate industry costs of capital in the UK (2000-2002)
  • £4,950 from the ICAEW, to study the valuation practices of professional accounting firms in the UK (1993).
  • £5,000 from CIMA, to study the role of management accounting information in the decision-making and performance evaluation processes of UK hotel groups, (with P. Collier, 1993).
  • £400 from the ICAEW, to study the impact of audit committees on audit fees (with P. Collier, 1993).

External and professional links

  1. Member REF Panel 19 as assessor for 2009-2014REF.
  2. Member of the Competition Commission (2001-2009).  External Advisor to the UK Competition Commission’s Finance and Regulation Group, September 2009-date.
  3. OECD Round Table panellist on Excessive Pricing and Role of Profitability Testing, October 2011.
  4. Member of the Editorial Board of Journal of Business Finance and Accounting.
  5. Member of the Editorial Advisory Board of Accounting and Business Research (w.e.f. January 2013, formerly member of the Editorial Board).
  6. Expert witness work for The Treasury Solicitor’s Department in connection with the BAA/Stansted Competition Tribunal Appeal.
  7. Expert witness work for Australian gas companies.
  8. Competion and profitability analysis consultant to KPMG and Pinsent Masons.
  9. Managing Director, AGRF Ltd.
  10. Director, Exeter Enterprises Ltd (the University of Exeter consulting arm) until August 2007.
  11. Former member of CIMA’s Management and Professional Development Committee, now CIMA Enterprises Advisory Board.
  12. Former consultant to Her Majesty’s Treasury on the Government Profit Formula for non-competitive contracts
  13. Former consultant to various accounting firms and fund management companies on areas related to cost of capital, risk and return, and equity portfolio construction.
  14. External assessor on chair appointments at Edinburgh and Stirling Universities.
  15. External examiner on numerous PhDs including Cass, University of Cambridge, Lancaster Management School, Reading University and Manchester Business School.
  16. Assessor on a number of AMBA accreditation panels.



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