“I want to help turn knowledge into wisdom”

Professor Mohamed Azzim Gulamhussen, a senior banking academic, was recently appointed Professor of Financial Institutions. He joined us from the renowned Portuguese university ISCTE, where he was Associate Professor (with aggregation) and President of the Finance Research Centre, President of the Business Research Unit and Dean of the Business School. We asked him about his areas of expertise, his reasons for choosing us and his drive and ambitions.

Mohamed Azzim’s research has been published in leading academic journals. His expertise is in banking, more specifically in globalisation, regulation and governance. “How banks can create shareholder value in a globalised world, and in the midst of increasing challenges posed by home and host country regulations and governance structures,” says Mohamed Azzim.

Ubiquitous regulation and grey zones

What are some of the regulatory challenges? “As you know, the banking crisis prompted many wide-ranging regulations to be imposed on the financial sector. Banks have to cope with a plethora of ever-more stringent rules and regulations and a growing dependency on the macroeconomic developments. Banks either need to internalise the cost of this increasingly complex regulations or pass it on to their clients. This is one type of challenge,” Mohamed Azzim explains. “But there are others. International banks are subject to the regulations of each of the countries in which they are active. But there’s always a grey zone where neither the regulator of the home country nor that of the host country has the power to intervene. This situation is exacerbated by the fact that multinational banks have intrabank flows of funds. Regulators face a tall order to gain a clear and comprehensive overview of these cross-border flows.”

Triple Crown accreditation

Our reputation made him consider the position of Professor at our School. “Vlerick Business School is one of the few elite business schools worldwide with Triple Crown accreditation, i.e. from AACSB, AMBA and EQUIS. And in the prestigious Financial Times rankings it always comes up as one of the top business schools in Europe. These achievements give me the confidence that the School is conducting itself according to the highest standards of academic excellence. It’s an honour to be able to work for one of the world’s finest academic institutions,” Mohamed Azzim says. “Incidentally, my wife works in Belgium in global regulatory affairs for an international organisation. So I had all the personal motives for the move,” he adds with a smile.

Becoming a global player

Mohamed Azzim is looking forward to strengthening our faculty and Centre for Financial Services. “Wherever I work, my intention is always to use my best endeavours to further the development of the organisation. So in the short to medium term I want to support the School in enhancing and promoting its reputation as a centre of excellence in financial services in Europe in terms of research, provision of educational programmes and transfer of knowledge to banks and the society in general. As for the longer term, it’s still early days, but I believe that once we’ve aspired and achieved our short to medium term objectives, we can build on those foundations to become a truly global player.”


What drives him to achieve these ambitions? “I’m very much enthused by the idea of working in the value chain of using information to create knowledge and transforming knowledge into wisdom.” He pauses before adding: “In contemporary society, the role of academics has been challenged to some extent by the advances in IT and communication technology. But academics can offer something no technology can replace: they help students not only to process but truly understand information. They support them to turn information into knowledge and ultimately knowledge into wisdom. I believe that’s essentially what drives me professionally.”

“On a personal level, my main driver is happiness. If you’re happy you’ll contribute more, or at least more positively, to the organisation in which you work,” Mohamed Azzim concludes.

  • Dean of the ISCTE Business School, Lisbon, Portugal (2012-2015)
  • President Business Research Unit (2010-2013)
  • President Finance Research Centre (2006-2009°


  • Visiting Professor at the London School of Economics, London, UK (2010-2011)
  • Visiting Research Fellow at Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA (2009-2010)
  • Visiting Professor at the Helsinki School of Economics, Helsinki, Finland (2006-2007)


  • Associate Professor (Aggregation) at the ISCTE Business School, Lisbon, Portugal (2012-2015)
  • Associate Professor at the ISCTE Business School, Lisbon, Portugal (2010-2011)
  • Assistant Professor at the ISCTE Business School, Lisbon, Portugal (2002-2009)
  • Ph.D. in Economics (Finance) at the Henley Business School (International Capital Markets Association Centre), Reading, UK (2001)

Related news

  1. The performance of large EU banks in the wake of the financial crisis

    Date: 13/07/2016
    Category: Research News
    This policy paper attempts to provide an overview of the performance of 50 large EU banks in the wake of the financial crisis. Several questions are addressed for this purpose: What is bank performance about? What are the top 50 banks that best represent EU banking activity? How did banks’ performance evolve since before the crisis? Who are the best and worst performers in the wake of the crisis? Is there a link between bank size and performance?
  2. Protecting customer privacy in the financial sector

    Date: 23/03/2016
    Category: Research News
    With increased digitization of the financial sector come the issues of data protection and customer privacy. Banks collect huge amounts of data on individuals, notably from bank accounts, credit card transactions or mobile banking. On the one hand the use of big data in the financial sector is a wonderful opportunity to better respond to customer needs. The biggest hurdle on the other hand is customer privacy and data protection.
All articles