For the second year in a row, the Belgian Financial Forum awarded a prize for the best master’s thesis on a financial, monetary and economic topic. At the colloquium “Closing the Insurance gap” (Brussels, 26 February 2024) Frank Lierman, Chairman of the Editorial Board of the Revue bancaire et financière/Bank- en Financiewezen and President of the BFF-prize Jury had the honor to announce the winner for the academic year 2022-2023. And the winner is …

A successful second edition

No less than twenty-seven students from economic faculties of seven Belgian universities entered the competition. A nice result considering the minimum requirement for participation is a distinction grade  - as an aside, most theses had a much higher score – and the fact this was only the second edition of the BFF prize. We certainly want to thank the promoters for encouraging their students to participate.

Most theses were in English (21 out of 27). The trending topics were sustainability/climate/ESG with nine theses, followed by banking and asset management, represented by four theses each, and crypto currencies, the subject of three theses.

Twenty-seven contenders, one jury, one verdict

Each thesis was evaluated according to the  five following criteria:

  • topical relevance

  • theoretical grounding

  • empirical analysis

  • relevance of results

  • format and correct use of language

The jury was composed of the members of the editorial committee of the Revue bancaire et financière/Bank-en Financiewezen. To obtain a balanced score, each thesis was judged by a jury team consisting of at least one academic and one finance professional.

There were two evaluation rounds. The top five theses received a second evaluation by other jury members than in the first round.

And the winner is…

Green Central Banking – the impact of the ECB’s green monetary policy announcements on stock returns” by Louise Billie Young, master’s in economics of the University of Ghent (promoter: Professor Selien De Schryder). Her thesis received the highest score for the five criteria. And the jury verdict was unanimous, praising its great topicality, its theoretical foundation, the empirical analysis and the value of the results. Furthermore, the thesis also combines the three crucial aspects - economic (climate), monetary (ECB) and financial (stock market returns) - of the BFF prize.

06 BFWD 2024 4 Foto winnares
Frank Lierman & Louise Billie Young

So, what is it about? Since October 2022, the ECB started to prioritize companies with stronger performance when reinvesting their maturity assets and adjusting collateral requirements. The policies set forth by the ECB serve as a signal to investors and businesses that sustainability is now important for the ECB. Overall investors are hesitant as they are concerned about the potential loss of impartiality and focus on its primary objective (price stability). But a shift towards a more sustainable financial world may be inevitable even if investors are not yet on board.


Lierman frank

Frank Lierman