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To a novice, the stock market can appear to be an intriguing but daunting experience. The stock market is not a risk-free investment; it has its ups and downs. So how do you invest wisely despite the volatility?

In his preliminary years as a stock market investor, Dr Andrea Miglionico, Lecturer in Law at Reading, relied on newspaper reviews and limited sources of financial information to inform his investment decisions. However, he realised financial markets are volatile and subject to legal, political, economic and various other factors affecting return on investment. Andrea wanted to analyse the dynamics of trading in financial markets. How are financial markets regulated? How do financial actors drive investor behaviour when they are driven by profit? What are the mechanisms in place for investor protection?

Andrea moved on from being just a stock market participant to becoming an active researcher in the field of banking and financial regulation. He began to study and publish his findings on fluctuations in financial markets, and investor protection from fraudulent behaviour like insider trading and market manipulation. He strongly advocates maintaining transparency through easy access to and timely and accurate disclosure of financial information to investors, consequently maintaining confidence, stability and integrity in financial markets.

Maintaining integrity of the financial system

Andrea primarily carries out research in the areas of Banking and Finance Law, Regulation of Financial Markets, Corporate and Banking Insolvency Law and Law and Economics. Closely working with various other academics and the Bank of England, on the project: 'The Legal Treatment of Nonperforming Loans', Andrea's research addressed an intellectual gap since there is no consensus on the meaning of nonperforming loans across countries, firms or even within firms. The project has been presented at the European Banking Authority, London School of Economics and Bank of England conferences and has also been published in the Bank of England Working Paper Series and in the Journal of Banking Regulation.

Much of his research work also focuses on banking insolvency and the bank restructuring regime. Having published several journal articles and being involved in the analysis of several cases of banks in distress, Andrea's research assesses the restructuring mechanism for failing banks, mergers and acquisitions of banks and bank-customer relationships. For example, his article on the failure of the Italian bank 'Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena' revealed the shortcomings in the EU banking law.

Andrea's latest publication 'The Governance of Credit Rating Agencies', discusses the issues related to the lack of liability and accountability of credit rating agencies evaluating the quality of financial products.

"Firms are able to maintain an investment-grade rating of 'A' until a day before they collapse. How can reputable ratings agencies misjudge? Is there a potential collusive behaviour between the firm which has asked for rating and the rating provider? How are investors protected in relation to outcomes of financial decisions based on faulty ratings?"

Constantly feeding his research into curriculum development and his teaching at the School of Law, the publication will be included as a recommended reading material for his students.

Andrea's current research projects include restructuring mechanisms of nonperforming loans and artificial intelligence in the insurance sector.

Teaching at the School of Law

Andrea teaches on the School's commercial law postgraduate programmes and is also the convenor for most of the modules offered. Working closely with the International Capital Market Centre at the renowned Henley Business School, he believes the School's commercial law programmes offer a unique opportunity to acquire a legal and financial perspective of commercial and corporate law issues.

Andrea teaches on popular modules such as Advanced International Commercial Law Issues, International Corporate Finance and the Law, International Banking and Finance Law and Legal Aspects of Financial Regulation.

"Advanced International Commercial Law Issues focuses on economic analysis of law. Students learn economic theories in the first part of study followed by selected issues on law and economics in specific sectors like information technology, intellectual property, oil and gas, competition and antitrust law in the second part. For example, with FinTech gaining momentum, students look at limits to data protection in relation to the use of virtual currencies"

As an active researcher in his field, Andrea tries to ensure that the topics he teaches link theory with contemporary issues such as the impact of Brexit on financial services and investor protection in EU financial markets.

Getting students involved

Andrea's students are a cohort of experienced professionals including judges, legal practitioners, corporate legal counsels and some who work for government agencies and financial regulatory authorities.

A strong supporter of practical learning, Andrea encourages his students to discuss the practical application of theories learnt in class. His teaching involves sessional classes and guest lectures with academics and professionals from various worldwide institutions like the European Central Bank, Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs and Canon Europe. He also encourages group presentations in class asking his students to build their own arguments and present their views on topics discussed in the classroom.

A member of the Centre for Commercial Law and Financial Regulation - the School's research hub for commercial law, Andrea regularly organises guest lectures, conferences, research seminars, workshops and careers sessions to support postgraduate students with a range of networking and work experience opportunities.

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