Smeets’ research explores factors that motivate investors to make sustainable investments. In this context, he asked participants in a major Dutch pension fund to vote for a pension based on sustainable investments. Two-thirds chose in favour of a sustainable investment strategy. As a result, the pension fund allocated 7.5 billion euro for more sustainable investment.
His research interests also include studying what motivates millionaires to donate to charities, how the wealthy feel about income redistribution, and whether money makes people happier. He also investigates how charities and investors can amplify their positive impact on society.
Smeets’ goal is to make sustainability a systematically recurring theme in finance study programmes. He plans to work with scientists from other disciplines to achieve this. ‘Companies are desperately looking for graduates with knowledge about Sustainable Finance, but there aren’t enough programmes to supply this need. This new study programme will teach students to incorporate sustainability in the valuation of companies and identify climate risks businesses might encounter. The students will also learn how to develop sustainable investment products that have a measurable positive impact on society’, says Smeets.
About Paul Smeets
Smeets received his MSc in International Economics Studies (2007) and his PhD in Finance (2012) from Maastricht University. He has worked as a guest lecturer at the University of California Los Angeles, the University of California San Diego and the Toulouse School of Economics. From 2012 to 2022, he was a lecturer at Maastricht University where he was appointed as professor of Philanthropy and Sustainable Finance in 2020.