Ruediger Fahlenbrach

Ruediger Fahlenbrach

Full Professor of Finance
Swiss Finance Institute Senior Chair
Director, College of Management

Email: [email protected]
Phone: ++41 (0)21 693 0098 / Fax: ++41 (0)21 693 0110
Postal: Swiss Finance Institute @ EPFL
Quartier UNIL-Chamberonne, Extranef 211
CH – 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland


RUEDIGER FAHLENBRACH is Full Professor at Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland. He holds a senior chair from the Swiss Finance Institute. Formerly on the faculty of the Fisher College of Business of the Ohio State University (USA), he received a Ph.D. in Finance from the University of Pennsylvania (Wharton). Since August 2022, he is director of the College of Management at EPFL.

He has research interests in empirical corporate finance, in particular corporate governance and entrepreneurship. Ruediger Fahlenbrach has published in the leading academic journals in finance, including the Journal of Finance, the Journal of Financial Economics, the Review of Financial Studies, the Review of Finance, and the Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis.

Ruediger has been elected director of the European Finance Association (2018-2020). He is former Associate Editor of the Review of Finance (2014-2021) and former Associate Editor of the Review of Financial Studies (2013-2016) and Financial Management (2012-2016).

Ruediger is a research member of the European Corporate Governance Institute. He is the chairman of the scientific advisory board of IWH – Leibniz-Institut fuer Wirtschaftsforschung Halle. He is member of the Unigestion academic advisory board.

His research has been reported in many large-circulation newspapers such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, Le Temps, NZZ, Handelsblatt, Forbes Magazine, USA Today, and Fortune Magazine.

He regularly teaches executive education modules at EPFL, IMD, and SFI.

CV Fahlenbrach (February 2022)


Efing, Matthias, Rüdiger Fahlenbrach, Christoph Herpfer, and Philipp Krueger, 2023, How do investors and firms react to an unexpected currency appreciation shock?, forthcoming Review of Corporate Finance Studies.

Kim, Hyemin, Fahlenbrach, Rüdiger, and Angie Low, 2023, CEO networks and the labor market for directors, Journal of Empirical Finance 70, 1-21.

Fahlenbrach, Rüdiger, and Marc Frattaroli, 2021, ICO investors, Financial Markets and Portfolio Management 35, 1-59.

Fahlenbrach, Rüdiger, Kevin Rageth, and René M. Stulz, 2021, How valuable is financial flexibility when revenue stops? Evidence from the COVID-19 crisis,  Review of Financial Studies 34, 5474-5521.

Fabisik, Kornelia, Rüdiger Fahlenbrach, René M. Stulz, and Jerome Taillard, 2020, Why are firms with more managerial ownership worth less?, Journal of Financial Economics 140, 699-725.

Fahlenbrach, Rüdiger, Robert Prilmeier, and René M. Stulz, 2018, Why does fast loan growth predict poor performance for banks?, Review of Financial Studies 31, 1014-1063.

Fahlenbrach, Rüdiger, Angie Low, and René M. Stulz, 2017, Do independent director departures predict future bad events?, Review of Financial Studies 30, 2313-2358.

Schmidt, Cornelius, and Rüdiger Fahlenbrach, 2017, Do exogeneous changes in passive institutional ownership affect corporate governance and firm value?, Journal of Financial Economics 124, 285-306.

Boyson, Nicole, Fahlenbrach, Rüdiger, and René M. Stulz, 2016, Why Don’t all Banks Practice Regulatory Arbitrage? Evidence from Usage of Trust-preferred Securities, Review of Financial Studies 29, 1821-1859.

Cronqvist, Henrik, and Rüdiger Fahlenbrach, 2013, CEO Contract Design: How Do Strong Principals Do It?, Journal of Financial Economics 108, 659-674.

Evans, Richard B., and Rüdiger Fahlenbrach, 2012, Institutional Investors and Mutual Fund Governance: Evidence from Retail – Institutional Fund Twins, Review of Financial Studies 25, 3530-3571.

Fahlenbrach, Rüdiger, Robert Prilmeier, and René M. Stulz, 2012, This Time is the Same: Using Bank Performance in 1998 to Explain Bank Performance During the Recent Financial Crisis, Journal of Finance 67, 2139-2185.

Fahlenbrach, Rüdiger, and René M. Stulz, 2011, Bank CEO Incentives and the Credit Crisis, Journal of Financial Economics 99, 11-26.

Becker, Bo, Henrik Cronqvist, and Rüdiger Fahlenbrach, 2011, Estimating the Effects of Large Shareholders Using a Geographic Instrument, Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis 46, 907-942.

Fahlenbrach, Rüdiger, Bernadette Minton, and Carrie Pan, 2011, Former CEO Directors: Lingering CEOs or Valuable Resources?, Review of Financial Studies 24, 3486-3518.

Fahlenbrach, Rüdiger, Angie Low, and René M. Stulz, 2010, Why Do Firms Appoint CEOs as Outside Directors?, Journal of Financial Economics 97, 12-32.

Fahlenbrach, Rüdiger, and Patrik V. Sandås, 2010, Does information drive trading in option strategies?, Journal of Banking and Finance 34, 2370-2385.

Cronqvist, Henrik, and Rüdiger Fahlenbrach, 2009, Large Shareholders and Corporate Policies, Review of Financial Studies 22, 3941-3976.

Fahlenbrach, Rüdiger, and René M. Stulz, 2009, Managerial Ownership Dynamics and Firm Value, Journal of Financial Economics 92, 342-361.

Fahlenbrach, Rüdiger, 2009, Founder-CEOs, Investment Decisions, and Stock Market Performance, Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis 44, 439-466.

Fahlenbrach, Rüdiger, 2009, Shareholder Rights, Boards, and Executive Compensation, Review of Finance 13, 81-113.

Fahlenbrach, Rüdiger, and Patrik V. Sandås, 2009, Co-movements of Index Options and Futures Quotes, Journal of Empirical Finance 16, 151-163.

Dlugosz, Jennifer, Fahlenbrach, Rüdiger, Gompers, Paul, and Andrew Metrick, 2006, Large Blocks of Stock: Prevalence, Size, and Measurement, Journal of Corporate Finance 12, 594-618.

Working Papers

See the newest versions of the working papers

Davydova, Daria, Rüdiger Fahlenbrach, Leandro Sanz, and Rene Stulz, 2022, The unicorn puzzle. 

Abstract: From 2010 to 2021, 639 US VC-funded firms achieved unicorn status. We investigate why there are so many unicorns and why controlling shareholders grant investors privileges to obtain unicorn status. Unicorns rely more than other VC-funded startups on organizational capital and network effects. Unicorn status enables startups to access new sources of capital, and growth in available funds causes the number of unicorns to increase. As a result, unicorns can stay private longer and can grow their organizational intangible assets with less expropriation risk and better capture the economies of scale on which their business model relies.

Fahlenbrach, Rüdiger, Alexei Ovtchinnikov, and Philip Valta, 2022, Direct democracy, corporate political strategy, and firm value.

Abstract: We analyze a novel data set of corporate contributions to ballot initiatives and referendums at the U.S. state level. Firms make significant contributions to ballot measures in favor of or against specific initiatives. Firms that contribute to successful (failed) direct initiated state initiatives exhibit significantly positive (negative) CARs around the election. They also experience significant sales, investment, and net income growth in the two years following the passage of important ballot measures. The results suggest that ballot measure spending represents a distinct and economically important dimension of firms’ political strategy with important consequences for firm value and real activity.

Fahlenbrach, Rüdiger, and Eric Jondeau, 2022, Greening the Swiss National Bank’s portfolio.

Abstract: Central banks are increasingly concerned about climate-related risks and want to ensure that the financial system is resilient to them. As they integrate climate-related risks into financial stability monitoring, they also discuss how they can apply environmental criteria to their own policy portfolio management, without compromising their policy mandate. We describe different strategies and assess their relevance for a central bank, using the Swiss National Bank’s (SNB) equity portfolio as a laboratory. We develop a carbon-conscious screening approach that is likely consistent with the SNB’s policy mandate. The approach reduces the portfolio’s carbon footprint by 20%, with little impact on diversification or performance.

Fahlenbrach, Rüdiger, Sophie Rotermund, and Sascha Steffen, 2022, What explains the changes to the LBO debt market post financial crisis?

Abstract: Banks incurred large losses from their exposure to committed but unfunded LBO deals during the global financial crisis (GFC). Post-crisis, banks significantly changed their LBO lending practices. Private equity sponsors provide about 25% more equity. Lower bank debt is mainly driven by fewer bridge loans. Lending syndicates are larger and per lender exposure decreased. Moreover, a larger part of the term funding is coming from non-banks. Banks “pre-syndicate” loans to CLOs before closing of the deal. The portion of LBO debt retained by the lead arranger and not passed through, became more expensive compared to debt held by non-banks.


Teaching in the MFE Program

Introduction to Finance (2010-2019)

Venture Capital

Teaching in the EPFL Bachelor Program

Foundations in Financial Economics

Teaching in the SFI Ph.D. Program

Empirical Corporate Finance (2009-2022)

Teaching in the EPFL EMBA Program

Managerial Finance (2016-2022)