Adam Aiken explores communication decisions made by activist blockholders

The finance professor’s research is published in the Journal of Corporate Finance.

Adam Aiken, assistant professor of finance in the Martha and Spencer Love School of Business, co-authored “Let’s talk sooner rather than later: The strategic communication decisions of activist blockholders.” The paper, co-authored with Choonsik Lee from the University of Rhode Island is published in Volume 62 of the Journal of Corporate Finance.

Headshot of Adam Aiken
Adam Aiken, assistant professor of finance.

The co-authors documented how the choice for activist investors to start communication early with management, before the 13D disclosure, fits within a campaign’s overall strategy. Nearly a quarter of the activist campaigns in their research sample began with what they call “open activism.”

“More credible activists with lower costs of activism are more likely to engage with management early and this early engagement is related to their desire to see specific changes made at the target firm,” the authors write in the paper’s abstact. “Together, our findings suggest that open activism is an important part of the activist’s underlying strategy and that market participants understand this link.”

The Journal of Corporate Finance aims to publish high quality, original manuscripts that analyze issues related to corporate finance, including financial structure, payout policies, corporate restructuring, financial contracts, corporate governance arrangements, the economics of organizations, the influence of legal structures, and international financial management. It is ranked as an A* journal by the Australian Business Dean’s Council.

Aiken received a Ph.D. in finance from Arizona State University, a Masters in Economics from Duke University and a B.S. in Business Administration (finance) from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After graduating from UNC, he worked for the UNC Management Company, the endowment arm of the university. He has been a CFA Charterholder since 2003.

Aiken’s research interests include financial institutions and performance measurement, with a particular focus on hedge funds.