Today Dean Mark Taylor announced the recipients of the 2022 Olin Award. They are Kimball Chapman, assistant professor of accounting; Richard Frankel, Olin’s Beverly & James Hance Professor of Accounting; and Xiumin Martin, professor of accounting.
Their winning research explores whether SPACs (special purpose acquisition companies) take advantage of an apparent exemption from prosecution under the Securities Act of 1933 in order to hype forward-looking disclosures to deceive shareholders. The paper is “SPACs and Forward-Looking Disclosure: Hype or Information?”
A quick primer: A SPAC is a shell company that raises public funds to acquire a private company. SPACs are “blank-check companies,” meaning investors are contributing funds to a company that has no concrete business plan.
Taylor congratulated Martin, who represented the authors in a Zoom meeting he set up to surprise her.
“Wow! That’s great news!” Martin said, laughing. “I think Mr. Mahoney knows I have been persistent in the past years.”
Olin Distinguished Executive in Residence Richard Mahoney, who was CEO of Monsanto for 13 years, established the Olin Award to recognize scholarly research that has timely, practical applications. The award is in its 15th year. Because three Olin professors won the 2022 award, Mahoney has upped this year’s award to $15,000, or $5,000 each.
“I think you’ve put in 15 entries,” Mahoney said, as he congratulated Martin during the Zoom meeting.
In comments during the judging for the award, one judge said this about the paper: “Very good. It directly addresses the major trend of SPAC growth and accusations that SPACs evade regulatory scrutiny to the detriment of small investors.”
Another commented: “The research advances business results for SPACs in particular as they try to counter arguments for greater regulatory oversight. And given the quantity and range of SPACs, it certainly applies across a wide variety of industries.”
The authors will present their winning paper at a virtual luncheon in the spring.
Of the 12 papers submitted for this year’s award, five went on to the second round, rated by Olin’s panel of corporate judges as research with potential impact to business. Some of those papers will be presented in the coming months in the Olin Business Research Series.
Top photo, from left: Kimball Chapman, Richard Frankel and Xiumin Martin.