Kornelia Fabisik

I am a PhD candidate in Finance at the Swiss Finance Institute and École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL).

My research interests lie primarily in the area of empirical corporate finance and corporate governance.

Working papers


This paper presents the first large-scale empirical analysis of the pledging phenomenon among U.S. CEOs. During the 2007 to 2016 period, 7.6% of U.S. firms disclosed that their CEOs had pledged company stock as collateral for a loan. On average, CEOs pledge 38% of their shares. The mean dollar loan value is an economically sizeable $65 million. CEOs use the funds to either double down, hedge their ownership, or for purposes unrelated to changing their effective ownership. Returns surrounding the initiations of margin loans suggest that CEOs are able to time the market. My event study results suggest that the stock market participants perceive share pledging as value-enhancing, but view significant pledging as value-destroying.

Presentations (* incl. scheduled):

  • EPFL-UNIL Brown Bag Series (Lausanne, Switzerland, 2019)
  • LSE PhD Seminar (London, United Kingdom, 2019)
  • SFI Research Days (Gerzensee, Switzerland, 2019)
  • American Finance Association (AFA) PhD Student Poster Session* (San Diego, USA, 2020)

with Rüdiger Fahlenbrach, René M. Stulz, and Jérôme Taillard

Using more than 50,000 firm-years from 1988 to 2015, we show that the empirical relation between a firm’s Tobin’s q and managerial ownership is systematically negative. When we restrict our sample to larger firms as in the prior literature, our findings are consistent with the literature, showing that there is an increasing and concave relation between q and managerial ownership. We show that these seemingly contradictory results are explained by cumulative past performance and liquidity. Better performing firms have more liquid equity, which enables insiders to more easily sell shares after the IPO, and they also have a higher Tobin’s q.

Presentations (* incl. by co-authors):

  • Drexel Corporate Governance Conference* (Philadelphia, USA, 2019)
  • Western Finance Association (WFA) (Huntington Beach, USA, 2019)
  • European Finance Association (EFA)* (Carcavelos, Portugal, 2019)
  • Global Corporate Governance Colloquia (GCGC)* (Fraktfurt, Germany, 2019)

Featured on:

  • Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance & Financial Regulation (Jan. 2019)
  • European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI) news (Jan. 2019)


Professor Rüdiger Fahlenbrach

Associate Professor of Finance Swiss Finance Institute Senior Chair École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) Quartier UNIL-Chamberonne, Bâtiment Extranef, # 211 CH-1015 Lausanne Switzerland

Phone: +41-21-693-0098 Email: ruediger. fahlenbrach [at] epfl.ch http://sfi.epfl.ch/Fahlenbrach.html


Teaching assistant for courses:

  • Introduction to Finance
    • EPFL, 2016 - present, English
  • Grundlagen der Betriebswirtschaftslehre (Fundamentals of Business Administration)
    • LMU, 2011-2012, German

Teaching awards:

  • 2018: College of Management of Technology (CDM) award for outstanding teaching
  • 2019: Best teaching assistant of the Master in Financial Engineering (MFE) section
    • Graduating MFE class of 2019


École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) Quartier UNIL-Chamberonne, Bâtiment Extranef, #244 CH-1015 Lausanne Switzerland

Phone: +41-21-693-2308 Email: kornelia.fabisik [at] epfl.ch https://people.epfl.ch/kornelia.fabisik

Professional certifications

  • Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA) (2019)
  • Professional Risk Manager (PRM™) (2013)
  • Eurex Trading Certificate (2013)