A Virtual Finance Conference

— Organized by J. Anthony Cookson

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”—Sir Winston Churchill

Finance in the Cloud is a conference series that is borne out of necessity.  Academic research in finance is rarely the unfiltered idea of one person or even the team of researchers on the paper.  Rather, the best contributions typically incorporate ideas from many people, sourced from conference and seminar presentations.  The coronavirus pandemic of 2020 has disrupted our usual mode of production, canceling or delaying the major conferences in academic finance.  This wave of cancellations is particularly disruptive to young researchers who have not yet fully established their reputations, but year after year, produce the most impactful and innovative ideas in our profession.

Finance in the Cloud

Finance in the Cloud was created to help fill the void left by these cancelled conferences.  The goal with Finance in the Cloud is to host a series of virtual conferences, featuring the work of these junior researchers.  To promote interactivity, these conferences will be very small (5 papers at most), and at least initially, participation will be limited to juniors who were most affected by the conference cancellations.  If the idea catches on, we may expand the idea to a general audience, but for now, this conference has a particular target.

Virtual conferences – held over Zoom, supported with a Slack discussion board – are not the norm in our profession.  Perhaps, there is a reason for that.  Personally, I have always found in-person interactions to be the most effective way to communicate.  However, the fact is that we cannot meet in person right now. They say that necessity is the mother of invention.  Aside from meeting virtually, we do not have other alternatives for feedback on research.  There’s no better time than now to see if a virtual conference can work.


Currently, I have concrete plans for the following five Finance in the Cloud conferences.  Each conference include 4 to 6 papers, each of which has a facilitator (the virtual equivalent of a discussant).  Links to programs will appear below once each program is finalized.

Thank you for your interest in this project. By now, I have filled all of the presentation slots for the first five conferences. If you are junior (an Assistant Professor or a post-2010 PhD recipient) and would like to attend one of the remaining conferences, please send me an email at tony.cookson@colorado.edu to indicate your interest.  I am limiting attendance to help promote interactivity and constructive feedback.

I have plans to host future versions of Finance in the Cloud (after Cloud V), but I plan to start these conferences again after a few months delay. I’m currently seeking to fill conference programs on topics that were underrepresented in my first wave of conferences: law and finance, natural language processing (or econometric methods more broadly), and strategic corporate behavior (i.e., corporate/IO studies), in particular. Outside of these areas, if you have something outside of the existing topics above, feel free to email it to me.  I’ll consider it when I resume the conference series.