Ron Bird, professor of finance at the University of Technology Sydney, is inviting 100 people from finance and academia to attend a conference on October 13 and 14 at the university.

He describes the theme of the conference in the following terms: “Do capital markets and financial institutions have public and social value?”

Bird is also the director of the Paul Woolley Centre for the study of capital markets dysfunctionality.

“Financial institutions generate excess returns and the real question is, who ends up getting their hands on excess returns?” he asks.

The conference will feature speakers such as Viral Acharya from New York University who will speak on the “debacle of mortgage finance.” Luci Ellis of the Reserve Bank of Australia will talk about financial sector “rents” and “risks”.

Thomas Abhayaratna of the Australian Treasury will speak on “tax policy and the financial system”. Doug Foster and Tim Higgins of the Australian National University will speak on the superannuation system review.

“The first day of the conference is more for practitioners,” says Bird. “The second day is more for academics.”

The conference, now in its fifth year, seeks to showcase the research of the centre itself and encourage work by other research bodies.

To express interest in attending the conference, which is free, email

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