News from Cass Business School

Inaugural Onassis Prize is presented to Professor Eugene Fama

Thursday, 30 April, 2009

Professor Eugene Fama from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business was formally presented with the inaugural Onassis Prize at a white tie banquet at the Guildhall on the evening of Monday 27 April. Over 400 guests, representing leading luminaries from the worlds of shipping, trade, finance and government attended the evening.

The award, sponsored by the Onassis Public Benefit Foundation and presented by Cass Business School recognises a lifetime contribution by a leading academic in each of the areas of shipping, trade and finance.  The presentation of the award and a cheque for $250,000 was made by the Rt Hon The Lord Howe of Aberavon.

Professor Fama received his award in recognition of his lifetime contribution to finance academia.  He is recognised as the father of empirical finance, and is credited with being the inventor of the efficient market hypothesis, possibly the most influential financial theory to have impacted both academics and practitioners alike.

The aim of the award is to identify academic achievements that have previously not had a platform for worldwide recognition before and will hopefully, in time, receive the same prestige as the Nobel Prize in Economics.  This is the first award bearing the Onassis name to be made outside of Greece and it signifies the importance of the City of London as a global leader in shipping, trade and finance.

Professor Fama also gave a lecture to a City audience at Cass on the day following the awards ceremony at which time he discussed how much evidence of skill there is in the management of mutual funds.

This lecture was based on his paper entitled Luck versus skill in the cross section of mutual funds ά estimates.  His provocative theories revealed there is no evidence that any mutual funds have sufficient skills to cover their costs and thus any winners are lucky, not smart.

Download the full paper

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Mr Anthony S. Papadimitriou, President, Alexander S Onassis Public Benefit Foundation

L-R Baroness Howe, Lord Howe, Baroness Neville-Jones, Professor Costas Grammenos

Professor Fama gives a lecture to a captive audience at Cass
L-R Lord Howe, Baroness Neville-Jones, Professor Eugene Fama, Sally Fama
The scene of the dinner at the beautiful Guildhall

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