Word from IRCCF Director, Professor Rym Ayadi

“Cooperative and mutual financial institutions are a fundamental pillar of institutional diversity, making them true contributors to systemic stability and economic development.”

The 2008 financial crisis has shaken the foundations of modern financial systems worldwide. Decades of conventional thinking, underpinned by the short-term domination of the shareholder-value model, the “big is beautiful”, the efficiency of the markets and the inadequate regulation and supervision, have all been tested to dire effect. This led to a large economic downturn throughout modern societies and a dramatic surge in the levels of global inequality.

A sustainable financial services model

The race towards an homogeneous financial system, which was a convergence of mainstream economic research, policy, legislation and market perceptions, proved to be at odds with the natural of the system which is, in essence, diverse in many aspects. Diversity results from the co-existence of more than one organizational form of finance, such as shareholder versus stakeholder-value financial institutions. Each one has its own incentive system and view about the way it contributes to the economy and society as a whole. The diversity concept in financial systems was first introduced in “Investigating diversity in the banking sector in Europe: key developments, performance and role of cooperative banks” (Ayadi et al., 2010).

One distinct organizational type of finance that has survived for several decades, despite the collective race to the homogeneity of financial systems, is the cooperative and mutual one. Knowledge surrounding this form of organization has been limited due to the lack of information and data.

IRCCF theoretical and empirical research

The IRCCF’s theoretical and empirical research is dedicated to exploring the conditions by which a sustainable financial system is achieved to serve the economy, society and environment, with particular focus on the role of cooperative and mutual finance and other similar emerging forms of finance worldwide. The following areas of research will be investigated:

  1. Governance, performance, risk management, ethics and business models;
  2. Diversity, competition, efficiency, innovation, systemic stability, economic and regional development, financial, social inclusion and inequality;
  3. Examination of the links between politics and finance, the regulatory and supervisory trends, their impacts and recommended actions.

IRCCF geographical coverage will extend to Europe, United States, Canada, Asia, Latin America and Africa.