The Observatory's 2012 Award for Responsible Innovation

The 2012 Dufrénoy Prize: a unique occasion to signal responsible initiatives in the area of finance

The first edition of the Dufrénoy Prize for Responsible Innovation, in collaboration with Mines ParisTech, has been launched in February 2012 to shed light on remarkable and outstanding initiatives in the area of responsible innovation in finance. Collaborators of the Observatory and members of the general public have been invited to respond to a call for nominations to signal initiatives, products, teams, regulations and methods whose contribution to the advancement of responsible innovation in finance is worthwhile considering.

The criteria for the award remained open, both in content and scope: we aimed at selecting processes in which negative externalities are taken into account, and in which the participation of potentially affected parties are considered at an early stage: this can apply to a wide variety of situations in the financial services industry.

A selection of the finalists was carried out in March 2012, by a jury composed by the members of the Observatory’s standing working, combining the expertise of professionals of the financial services industry and regulators, with the extensive knowledge of internationals academics from a variety of backgrounds.

20 different initiatives have been reported to our jury, nominated by 13 different international contributors, including professionals of the finance sector, economists and international researchers. 

The Observatory for Responsible Innovation wants to thank all the contributors to this first edition for the achievement of this nomination process, for the great variety of projects and approaches of responsible innovation in the financial sector our jury has attentively examined. Each of this initiatives represented a motivational sign for the advancement of responsible innovation in multiple areas.

The Dufrénoy Prize award ceremony of June 18th, 2012 at MINES ParisTech

The jury of the Dufrénoy Prize has decided to select three different initiatives for this year, that represent a remarkable contribution to responsible innovation in finance: a pioneer in the field of regulation, the Reserve Bank of India, for its outstanding precautionary approach to the regulation of derivative markets; EGAMO, the asset branch of MGEN, a French leading mutualist actor of the National Education Sector, for the development of cooperative democratic principles in asset management;  MyHemera Platform, an encouraging web-based platform, for its potentials for a transparent assessment of complex financial products.

2012  winners

The Reserve Bank of India

The responsible character of the Reserve Bank of India’s commitment in the financial services industry lies in an original and innovative regulatory approach of financial products. One of the Bank’s priority has been to calibrate the introduction of specific financial innovations in order to assess their behavior before larger- scale diffusion, a pioneering approach at a time when the idea of considering markets as real scale testing sites for financial innovation with the necessity of implementing specific protocols is not yet prevalent in the financial area. The RBI’s calibration approach introduces elements comparable to pharmacovigilance, a series of precautions, and pre-marketing and post-marketing surveillance that can stand as exceptional benchmarks for other countries.

The Observatory was honoured to welcome Mr G Padmanabhan, Executive Director of the Reserve Bank of India, and Mrs Shyamala Gopinath, First Deputy Governor, for this special occasion, to present this preventive dimension of regulation, the special attention paid to the creations of special attentions for channelizing credit to agriculture and other sectors, and the key role they play in terms of financial inclusion at a very micro level in the development process.

"The RBI has achieved an outstanding job adopting a responsible behaviour towards financial innovation. Such an approach preempts some of the causes of the 2008 financial crisis we are still suffering from. A number of financial products and practices are too complex to be understood by clients and even bank managers. Regulators do not always have sufficient tools or authority to stop the diffusion of new financial products. Whether RBI approach can be transposed to other countries is an open question; many countries have adopted another behaviour, a more “market friendly one”. But the issue is to what extent financial innovation is efficient to economic growth and social welfare. I would like to underscore that RBI has been a pioneer in its approach to OTC derivatives"

Mrs Anne Le Lorier, First Deputy Governor of Banque de France, at the Dufrénoy Prize award ceremony

"The Indian regulator has implemented an original approach, based on the precautionary principle. This approach is of particular interest for other financial centers, basically because OTC derivatives until very recently have been out of the regulation scope. Indian OTC derivatives have been calibrated with a gradual approach and considered as real scale testing for financial innovation. Europe and India share the same targets, to foster financial stability, wide standardization, central clearing. Our common interest is to eliminate regulatory loopholes; the approach of the RBI could be a source of inspiration for all of us" 

Mr Edouard Vieillefond, Deputy Secretary General of Autorité des Marchés Financiers, French main regulatory institution, at the Dufrénoy Prize award ceremony

More information on RBI's current activites at

Read the RBI's press release about the Dufrénoy Prize 2012

Shyamala Gopinath (left), former Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, G Padmanabhan, Executive Director, Edouard Vieillefond, Deputy Secretary General of AMF and Anne Le Lorier (right), First Deputy Governor of Banque de France

 Romain Soubeyran, Director of MINES ParisTech

G Padmanabhan, Reserve Bank of India - Dufrénoy... par debatingInnovation

Anne Le Lorier - Banque de France - Dufrénoy... par debatingInnovation

Edouard Vieillefond - Autorité des Marchés... par debatingInnovation

Fabian Muniesa - Observatory for Responsible... par debatingInnovation


EGAMO, asset management branch of MGEN Group, French Mutual insurance company for the National Education Sector, was awarded for its form of governance based on the key concepts of democracy and the necessity of accountability.One of the main reproaches addressed to the mutualist actors on the markets since the crisis of the financial sector was their opacity: with open and transparent voting committees, an a general approach of investment mostly based on mutualist values and extra financial criteria, EGAMO defends a new vision of the role of mutual insurance companies in the financial sector.

More information on EGAMO at

"There is a real need for a mutualist actor in the financial services industry, to meet the expectations in a responsible environment and with the respect of principles, that are not exclusively financial principles"

Mr Fabrice Henry, President of MGEN Group at the Dufrénoy Prize award ceremony

"Transparency is the core concept of our asset management activites, a key concept that should underpin all the asset management sector"

Mr Nicolas Demont, Director of EGAMO

Mr Fabrice Henry (left), President of MGEN Group and Mr Nicolas Demont (right), Director of EGAMO (right) receiving the Dufrénoy Prize for Responsible Innovation in Finance


MyHemera is community web based platform, that aims at gathering and sharing all the quantitative approaches for the valuation and the measure of risks. MyHemera provides transparency and contributes, at a reduced cost, to collective understanding and a better assessment of financial products. Transparency in the financial services industry is a key principle, which the Observatory is promoting. It would be a critical improvement if regulators could benchmark financial models against a set of fully transparent independently-validated models, and run stress tests on fast growing products. Even if the platform still needs to be developed, MyHemera stands a major step in that direction.

More information about MyHemera on

"I’m very pleased to know that through this initiative, there are areas in which private and public interests can coincide. This offers new possibilities of cooperationbased on the establishment of risk profiles of financial innovations, and pricing, and I very much welcome this"

Oliver Burkart, European Securities and Markets Authority, at the Dufrénoy Prize award ceremony

Mr Pierre Yves Rolland and Mr Eric Lepage (MyHemera), receiving the Dufrénoy Prize for Responsible Innovation in Finance with Fabian Muniesa, Director of the Observatory for Responsible Innovation