Professor Fama is considered amongst the international scientific community to be the father of empirical studies in finance while he is also acknowledged for the foundation of the “efficient market hypothesis”, possibly the most influential financial theory in the academia and financial markets. According to the efficient market hypothesis, stock prices reflect all available information.
The Onassis Prize, accompanied by 250,000 dollars, was announced by Cass Business School of London’s City University. It will be awarded every two years in acknowledgement of a lifetime contribution of prominent university scholars and researchers in the study fields of shipping, trade and finance. This prize honours academic achievements for which there has been no prior platform for worldwide recognition. The Onassis Public Benefit Foundation hopes this prize, awarded in the memory of its founder, will achieve similar status as the Nobel Prize in Economics.
The awarding committee for the prize consists of Anthony Papadimitriou, president of the Onassis Foundation, and professors Georgios Constantinides of the University of Chicago, Charles Goodhart of the London School of Economics, Robert Merton of Harvard University (Nobel Prize in Economics, 1997), Myron Scholes of Stanford University (Nobel Prize in Economics, 1997) and Costas Grammenos, founding director of the Center for Shipping, Trade and Finance at Cass Business School, and member of the Onassis Foundation board.
“The awarding of the Onassis Prize to Professor Fama comes to seal the will of the testator, who wished the Onassis prizes acquired an international prestige”, stated Anthony Papadimitriou after announcing the committee’s decision. “I am pleased that the inaugural Onassis Prize is awarded to a distinguished scientist, Professor Fama, whose hypothesis in Finance constitutes a beacon in the international finance market”.
Eugene Fama’s contribution to the field of empirical finance was highlighted by Professor Costas Grammenos who stated that Fama managed to “change the way of thinking about stock market”. “Professor Fama is worthy of the inaugural Onassis Prize in all respects” he stressed, “and his theories are well known all over the world. Aristotle Onassis is a legend in shipping, trade and finance, and I think he would have been very pleased with our selection.”
Professor Fama expressed his gratitude to the Onassis Foundation and the committee for selecting him. “The selection committee for the Onassis Prize is made up of experts with an intimate knowledge of research in finance” he noted. “It is thus a special honor to be the inaugural winner. “In my view, finance is the most successful area of economics in terms of scientific and practical impact, and it deserves to have a special prize.” Professor Fama is scheduled to give a lecture at Cass Business School in April 2009.
The Onassis Prize will be awarded at the equivalent of a state banquet at London's Guildhall, City of London, in April 2009.