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Peter Högfeldt (1950-2015) It was with deep sadness I received the news of the sudden death of SSE Riga faculty member Peter Högfeldt. After studies at Lund University, London School of Economics, and MIT, Peter went to the Stockholm School of Economics where he earned his Ph.D. in Financial Economics. Even though he remained at SSE for the rest of his professional life, it was at SSE Riga, which he joined from the very beginning, where he, together with his late colleague Per Hiller, could develop and fully realize his pedagogical vision or maybe rather mission. Being educated at some of the world?s leading economics departments, Peter was professionally shaped by the Anglo-Saxon academic traditions. Sharpness and even harshness combined with high requirements not only for colleagues and students but also for himself were his trademarks ? characteristics not really appreciated in non-confrontational and conformist Sweden. SSE Riga, with its highly talented and motivated students therefore became a ?refuge? for Peter. He loved the SSE Riga environment where he could push students further and challenge them harder than he could anywhere else. The Financial Economics course was based on the Anglo-Saxon tradition but without the elitism that usually comes with it. Peter was, on the contrary, ?inclusive? ? everyone should preferably not only understand financial economics, they should, like Peter, love it. The hurdles were set high and students had to learn how to achieve their maximum potential, not just learn financial economics. Academic integrity and the (long-term) well-being of the students were Peter?s two lodestars. As many SSE Riga students throughout the years experienced, there is a substantial difference between short-term and long-term well-being when you, owing to a lack of attendance, are asked to move from the last row in the Soros Auditorium to the front row or are even asked to leave room. Nevertheless, the classroom atmosphere was friendly with Peter using his sophisticated and sometimes really politically incorrect sense of humour to engage and connect with students in class. In addition to the many students Peter had elsewhere, close to 2 000 SSE Riga students took the course under Peter?s guidance. The combination of Peter on the one hand and the SSE Riga students with their qualities on the other was so successful that the SSE Riga almost became synonymous with the course in financial economics. For Peter the success of his former students was a joy. He actively followed his alumni, had regular personal contacts with them and celebrated their success ? he was indeed proud of their achievements. Peter?s generosity also extended to colleagues ? in particular to those of us being younger. To many of us he turned out to be a mentor. His door and mind were always open with Peter being willing to share his deep knowledge and genuine interest in the fields of economics and finance. Even though Peter officially retired this spring he was, until the very last day of his life, very active following the academic and political debate and shared many insights with his friends. Our last conversation took place just a few hours before he passed away. It lasted (as usual) for more than an hour. We covered topics ranging from monetary policy and executive pay to Swedish politics and the upcoming US elections. Before he hung up, Peter brought up the upcoming fall foliage season in New England (which, after his native southern Sweden, was place in the world he loved the most) and we talked about the beauty of the season. New England also came to my mind when I learnt about Peter?s death. As Robert Frost, ?the most penetrating interpreter of New England?, put it: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I ? I took the one less traveled by, And that made all the difference. To Peter the road less traveled by was lined with high moral standards and integrity. The travel along it involved much personal sacrifice. Through Peter, the road he took made the difference to many ? to me personally, to his friends, colleagues and students as well as to SSE Riga as such. We are all very grateful. Anders Paalzow Rector, SSE Riga

Research Interests

Corporate finance, Law and finance

Working Papers

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