SciCombinator

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Concept: Financial services

138

External regulation is an important mechanism to improve corporate behavior in emerging markets. China’s insurance governance regulation, which began to supervise and guide insurance corporate governance behavior in 2006, has experienced a complex process of reform. This study tested our hypotheses with a sample of 85 firms during 2010-2011, which was obtained by providing a questionnaire to all of China’s shareholding insurance companies. The empirical study results generally show that China’s insurance governance effectiveness has significantly improved through strict regulation. Insurance corporate governance can improve business acumen and risk-control ability, but no significant evidence was found to prove its influence on profitability, as a result of focusing less attention on governance than on management. State ownership is associated with higher corporate governance effectiveness than non-state ownership. Listed companies tend to outperform non-listed firms, and life insurance corporate governance is more effective than that of property insurers. This study not only contributes to the comprehensive understanding of corporate governance effectiveness but also to the literature by highlighting the effect of corporate governance regulation in China’s insurance industry and other emerging economies of the financial sector.

Concepts: Economics, Investment, Insurance, Business, Real estate, Corporate governance, Underwriting, Financial services

86

Trust in others' honesty is a key component of the long-term performance of firms, industries, and even whole countries. However, in recent years, numerous scandals involving fraud have undermined confidence in the financial industry. Contemporary commentators have attributed these scandals to the financial sector’s business culture, but no scientific evidence supports this claim. Here we show that employees of a large, international bank behave, on average, honestly in a control condition. However, when their professional identity as bank employees is rendered salient, a significant proportion of them become dishonest. This effect is specific to bank employees because control experiments with employees from other industries and with students show that they do not become more dishonest when their professional identity or bank-related items are rendered salient. Our results thus suggest that the prevailing business culture in the banking industry weakens and undermines the honesty norm, implying that measures to re-establish an honest culture are very important.

Concepts: Bond, Finance, Bank, Interest rate, Cheque, Financial services, Private banking, Overdraft

52

We conducted a 12-month-long experiment in a financial services company to study how the availability of treadmill workstations affects employees' physical activity and work performance. We enlisted sedentary volunteers, half of whom received treadmill workstations during the first two months of the study and the rest in the seventh month of the study. Participants could operate the treadmills at speeds of 0-2 mph and could use a standard chair-desk arrangement at will. (a) Weekly online performance surveys were administered to participants and their supervisors, as well as to all other sedentary employees and their supervisors. Using within-person statistical analyses, we find that overall work performance, quality and quantity of performance, and interactions with coworkers improved as a result of adoption of treadmill workstations. (b) Participants were outfitted with accelerometers at the start of the study. We find that daily total physical activity increased as a result of the adoption of treadmill workstations.

Concepts: Statistics, Test method, TheStart, Walking, Treadmill, Financial services

5

Regulating the use of genetic information in insurance is an issue of ongoing international debate. In Australia, providers of life and other mutually rated insurance products can request applicants to disclose all results from any genetic test. Insurers can then use this information to adjust premiums and make policy decisions. The Australian Financial Services Council (FSC; an industry body) developed and maintains the relevant industry standard, which was updated in late 2016. Aims/Objective: To review the 2016 FSC Standard in light of relevant research and determine the legitimacy of the Australian regulatory environment regarding use of genetic information by insurers.

Concepts: DNA, Genetics, Test method, Australia, Standard, Insurance, Economy of Australia, Financial services

5

This paper studies conditions influencing the generosity of wealthy people. We conduct incentivized experiments with individuals who have at least €1 million in their bank account. The results show that millionaires are more generous toward low-income individuals in a giving situation when the other participant has no power, than in a strategic setting, where the other participant can punish unfair behavior. Moreover, the level of giving by millionaires is higher than in any other previous study. Our findings have important implications for charities and financial institutions that deal with wealthy individuals.

Concepts: Person, Poverty, Cultural studies, Wealth, Social philosophy, Philanthropy, Financial services, Charity

4

Four studies tested the idea that saving money can buffer death anxiety and constitute a more effective buffer than spending money. Saving can relieve future-related anxiety and provide people with a sense of control over their fate, thereby rendering death thoughts less threatening. Study 1 found that participants primed with both saving and spending reported lower death fear than controls. Saving primes, however, were associated with significantly lower death fear than spending primes. Study 2 demonstrated that mortality primes increase the attractiveness of more frugal behaviors in save-or-spend dilemmas. Studies 3 and 4 found, in two different cultures (Polish and American), that the activation of death thoughts prompts people to allocate money to saving as opposed to spending. Overall, these studies provided evidence that saving protects from existential anxiety, and probably more so than spending.

Concepts: Anxiety, Psychology, Cognition, Cultural studies, Existentialism, Financial services, Søren Kierkegaard, Angst

2

Decades of practice under a system that set the financial interests of physicians and insurers at odds, has resulted in physician distrust of insurers being cited a key obstacle to value-based arrangements. Insurers must work to shift the insurer-provider relationship from one that’s transactional to a partnership built on trust. Even when physicians and insurers agree philosophically on quality over quantity, there are practical challenges. Insurers can provide the data, systems and analytical insights that help inform the physician’s care strategy. Implementing value-based payments requires the two groups to build trust and work together to change long-established systems.

Concepts: Physician, Implementation, Physician assistant, Financial services

1

Using public data (Forbes Global 2000) we show that the asset sizes for the largest global firms follow a Pareto distribution in an intermediate range, that is “interrupted” by a sharp cut-off in its upper tail, where it is totally dominated by financial firms. This flattening of the distribution contrasts with a large body of empirical literature which finds a Pareto distribution for firm sizes both across countries and over time. Pareto distributions are generally traced back to a mechanism of proportional random growth, based on a regime of constant returns to scale. This makes our findings of an “interrupted” Pareto distribution all the more puzzling, because we provide evidence that financial firms in our sample should operate in such a regime. We claim that the missing mass from the upper tail of the asset size distribution is a consequence of shadow banking activity and that it provides an (upper) estimate of the size of the shadow banking system. This estimate-which we propose as a shadow banking index-compares well with estimates of the Financial Stability Board until 2009, but it shows a sharper rise in shadow banking activity after 2010. Finally, we propose a proportional random growth model that reproduces the observed distribution, thereby providing a quantitative estimate of the intensity of shadow banking activity.

Concepts: Economics, Finance, Zipf's law, Pareto distribution, Power law, Bank, Financial services, Pareto principle

0

Drawing on recent contributions inferring financial interconnectedness from market data, our paper provides new insights on the evolution of the US financial industry over a long period of time by using several tools coming from network science. Relying on a Time-Varying Parameter Vector AutoRegressive (TVP-VAR) approach on stock market returns to retrieve unobserved directed links among financial institutions, we reconstruct a fully dynamic network in the sense that connections are let to evolve through time. The financial system analysed consists of a large set of 155 financial institutions that are all the banks, broker-dealers, insurance and real estate companies listed in the Standard & Poors' 500 index over the 1993-2014 period. Looking alternatively at the individual, then sector-, community- and system-wide levels, we show that network sciences' tools are able to support well-known features of the financial markets such as the dramatic fall of connectivity following Lehman Brothers' collapse. More importantly, by means of less traditional metrics, such as sectoral interface or measurements based on contagion processes, our results document the co-existence of both fragmentation and integration phases between firms independently from the sectors they belong to, and doing so, question the relevance of existing macroprudential surveillance frameworks which have been mostly developed on a sectoral basis. Overall, our results improve our understanding of the US financial landscape and may have important implications for risk monitoring as well as macroprudential policy design.

Concepts: Time, Economics, Finance, Social network, Information retrieval, Financial markets, Bank, Financial services

0

The long-term outcome of Whiplash-associated disorder (WADs) has been reported to be poor in populations from medical settings. However, no trials have investigated the long-term prognosis of patients from medico-legal environment. For this group, the “compensation hypothesis” suggests financial compensation being associated with worsened outcome. The aims of this study were to describe long-term (2-4 years) non-recovery rates in participants with WAD recruited from insurance companies and to investigate the association between self-reported non-recovery and financial compensation.

Concepts: Actuarial science, Economics, Injuries, Investment, Financial services