Research Degrees

PhD Opportunities in Xfi

Xfi faculty are engaged in research in all of the major areas of finance, including asset pricing, corporate finance, corporate governance, financial markets, financial econometrics and risk management. PhD students form an integral part of the research environment in Xfi, working closely with faculty members to extend the body of knowledge in their chosen area. We are seeking to further expand our cohort of research students, and applications are sought from well-qualified candidates to pursue a PhD under supervision.

This page describes the faculty's research interests within each of the major areas of finance and lists current PhD students and their research topics.

Asset pricing and valuation

Dr Christina Dargenidou, Prof Alan Gregory, Prof Richard Harris, Prof Abhay Abhyankar

There is a long history of empirical asset pricing research at Exeter, and there are currently several members of faculty engaged in this area. Prof Harris is investigating the role of behavioural finance in the bond market, and its ability to explain the well-established failure of the expectations hypothesis. He is applying for further funding to investigate the importance of behavioural finance in the foreign exchange market. There is also significant interest among faculty members in the market's reaction to new information in a number of different contexts, including earnings forecasts and profit warnings (Prof Harris) and valuation measures (Prof Gregory). Dr Dargenidou's research is concerned with systematic biases in reported earnings estimates and the market's perception of earnings expectations in the context of contemporary equity valuation models.

Research areas that potential PhD students might consider include:

  • The relationship between firm valuation, returns and indicators of social responsibility (Prof Alan Gregory)
  • Explaining returns to value stocks. (Prof Alan Gregory)
  • The transparency of disclosure in financial institutions (Dr Christina Dargenidou)
  • Financial reporting in the banking sector (Dr Christina Dargenidou)
  • Empirical Asset Pricing; Return Predictability; and, Conditional Asset Pricing (Prof Abhay Abhyankar)

Corporate finance and corporate governance

Prof Alan Gregory, Dr Stanley Gyoshev, Dr Zhenxu Tong, Dr Grzegorz Trojanowski, Professor Abhay Abhyankar

There are several members of faculty who work in the areas of corporate finance and corporate governance. Professor Gregory has a long-standing interest in mergers and acquisitions, with a focus on the UK market. Dr Tong's research focuses on corporate governance and corporate financial policies, and in particular on how deviations from optimal CEO ownership affect firm value and the relation between CEO risk incentives and corporate cash holdings. Dr Trojanowski's research is concerned with mechanisms of the managerial labor market such as CEO turnover and monetary remuneration schemes. He is also interested in the gender pay gap among company directors, and in the determinants of corporate payout policy. Dr Gyoshev's research interests lie in venture capital, entrepreneurial finance and business angels. He is also engaged in research into insider trading and wealth effects around company issuance of derivatives, and the effect of controlling blockholders on firm value. Professor Gregory has worked extensively on stock market reactions to insider trading, and currently has Leverhulme funding for a project on directors' trading around mergers. Dr Dargenisou has been allocated a University of Exeter PhD studentship in Earnings Manipulation and Corporate Insider Trading. This research will examine whether company executives deliberately manipulate corporate earnings, and then trade profitably on their own account on the basis of this mis-valuation.

Research areas that potential PhD students might consider include:

  • Corporate use of derivatives (Dr Stanley Gyoshev)
  • Takeovers and mergers: market timing and target valuation (Prof Alan Gregory)
  • Law and finance (Dr Stanley Gyoshev)
  • The costs and benefits of flat taxation (Dr Stanley Gyoshev)
  • Managerial compensation and/or turnover (Dr Grzegorz Trojanowski)
  • Payout policy: dividends and share repurchases (Dr Grzegorz Trojanowski)
  • Corporate Finance in general (Professor Abhay Abhyankar)

Financial markets

Dr Jian Shen

Faculty members are involved in various aspects of financial markets research, including market microstructure, institutional investment and fund performance. Dr Shen is preparing a research project that investigates international differences in transactions costs in global equity markets.

Research areas that potential PhD students might consider include:

  • The determinants of transaction costs in equity markets (Dr Jian Shen)

Financial econometrics and risk management

Dr Stanley Gyoshev, Prof Richard Harris, Dr Jian Shen

The department also has significant research strength in financial econometrics and risk management. Prof Harris' research is concerned with the conditional distribution of asset returns and its application in risk management, portfolio optimization and the design of trading strategies. He is currently developing models of multivariate conditional volatility based on the intra-day price range. Dr Shen's work addresses the implications of non-normality in asset returns for risk management, in terms of both estimation efficiency and investors' risk preferences. She is also developing her research interest in hedging, making use of the realized volatility framework to shed light on the performance of conditional hedging models.

Research areas that potential PhD students might consider include:

  • Modelling currency and commodity prices (Prof Richard Harris)
  • Range-based correlation estimation and forecasting, with applications to risk management and portfolio optimization (Prof Richard Harris)
  • Long memory volatility modeling and forecasting (Prof Richard Harris)
  • The use of copulas in risk management and portfolio optimization
  • Weather derivatives (Dr Stanley Gyoshev)
  • The sources of hedge fund risk (Dr Jian Shen)
  • Momentum and carry trading strategy performance in the foreign exchange market (Prof Richard Harris)


Current PhD students and their topics

SurnameForenameSupervisor 1Supervisor 2Research Project
Amona                Taiwo            Stanley Gyoshev   An evaluation of the importance and performance of private equity investments in emerging market economies: a comparative study.
Andronoudis          Dimos            Christina Dargenidou Eirini Konstantinidi The impact of announcements and spendings on branding and marketing, on the stock prices of the firms.
Buckingham           Graham           Alan Gregory Rajesh Tharyan The Effect of Corporate Social Responsibility on the Financial Performance of Listed Companies in the UK
Clark                James            Ian Tonks   Performance, Performance Persistence and Fund Flows: UK Equity Unit Trusts/OEICs V's UK Equity Unit-Linked Personal Pensions
Dewidar Omar George Bulkley Richard Harris Stochastic Neural Networks for Forecasting
Dialynas             Manouil          Constantinos Antoniou Rajesh Tharyan Managerial Irrationality and M&A premiums: New Implications and Evidence.
Dumrongwong          Konpanas         Alan Gregory   IPO underpricing.
Forman III John             Constantinos Antoniou Joanne Horton Behavioural finance - determinants of individual (retail) participant performance in the foreign exchange market.
Garcia Ares          Pedro            Abhay Abhyankar Richard Harris The role of dividend and non-dividend paying stocks in the return decomposition framework.
Haller               Felix            Alan Gregory Grzegorz Trojanowski The implications of leverage and taxation on firm value a comparsion of private equity and corperation driven takeovers.
Hua                  Shan             Alan Gregory Rajesh Tharyan Financial market evaluation of firm's greenhouse gas emissions.
Isin                 Adnan            Stanley Gyoshev Kevin Mcmeeking Airline hedging
Liu                  Xingzhou         Ian Tonks Alan Gregory Stock return predictability
Ma                   Xin              Pengguo Wang   The Implied Cost of Capital and Trading Strategy: A New Approach.
Nguyen               Linh             Richard Harris   The power of macroeconomic multifactor models in explaining stock returns: does economic diversification play a role?
Ploskonka            Karolina         Grzegorz Trojanowski Alan Gregory The Influence of Information Asymmetry and Corporate Transparency on Bid Premia in Cross-border Acquisitions.
Qiao                 Fang             Richard Harris   Derivatives pricing based on studying stochastic volatility: dynamic hedging.
Ray                  Suparna          Grzegorz Trojanowski Rajesh Tharyan How Corporate Governance is impacted by Mergers and Acquisitions?
Tan                  Lin              Richard Harris   Dynamic Asset Allocation in a Conditional Value-at-risk Framework
Tsoligkas            Fanis            Christina Dargenidou Ian Tonks Earnings manipulation & corporate insider trading.
Vladimirov           Vladimir         Stanley Gyoshev Richard Harris Weather derivative pricing
Wang                 Ke               Richard Harris Ian Tonks Long Term Investment and Asset Allocation Strategies in Defined Contribution Pension Plans
Wu                   Shan             Stanley Gyoshev   Recommendation revisions and the stock-price impact.
Xue                  Wei              Christina Dargenidou   The influence of loan-loss reserve on the bank stork prices in UK.
Zhang                Ruo              Richard Harris Constantinos Antoniou Viewing Momentum Trading from Noise trading and Knightian Uncertainty.
Zhu                  Xinlin           Zhenxu Tong   The Value of Too-Big-To-Fail Guarantee and the Systemic Risk of Financial Institutions.
Zuo       Fei              Richard Harris Jane Shen Finance in Asset Pricing - Assessment and Evaluation on Asset Pricing Models.


For general information about research degrees and the application procedure, prospective students should consult the doctoral studies page on the main Business School website.

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