ADA Chair

When academic knowledge meets inclusive finance expertise

The ADA Chair in Financial Law was born following a memorandum of understanding signed between ADA and the Faculty of Law, Economics and Finance of the University of Luxembourg. This partnership aims to connect ADA's expertise with the academic world in order to meet the needs for knowledge and research in inclusive finance.

The development of financial inclusion depends largely on the regulatory framework, which must constantly adapt to the changing environment and to new actors (money transfer companies, mobile phone operators, FinTech, etc.) in developing countries. In this context, regulators need to evolve the regulatory texts and their practices for supervising the sector.

In response to these challenges, the ADA Chair in Financial Law was born, with the signature in 2014 of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between ADA and the Faculty of Law, Economics and Finance of the University of Luxembourg (UL).

This partnership aims to create a Luxembourg centre of excellence in financial law and inclusive finance to support the inclusive finance sector worldwide.

The activities of the ADA Chair and its main results

The activities and main results of the ADA Chair can be broken down as follows:

Academic research: after four years, the ADA Chair has achieved a world-leading position in law and regulation of inclusive finance, as evidenced by the publication of more than sixty works, comprising scholarly articles, policy papers, book chapters, and books. Some of these publications were among the most downloaded legal publications worldwide in 2017, 2018 and 2019, making the ADA Chairholder the most downloaded European legal scholar across all disciplines since September 2018 on the specialized university website SSRN. As of 1 November 2019, the ADA Chairholder ranks number 5 on SSRN’s list of global legal scholars. Together with the downloads of other UL colleagues’ publications, the volume of downloads have pushed UL’s Research in Law Unit (RUL) to 15th place in the SSRN Global Rankings for International Law Schools (see here:

Teaching: since 2017, the ADA Chair has been organising the annual Certificate in Law and Regulation of Inclusive Finance, a 2-week programme in Luxembourg. Since 2018, it has run in cooperation with the European Investment Bank Institute. The program combines traditional financial law with issues of inclusive finance and development policy. Subjects taught include social performance management, inclusive and sustainable finance, Fintech, RegTech, Covid-19 risk management, among others. Each year, between 20 and 30 participants, most of them from developing countries, participate in the Certificate Programme. A total of 4 cohorts (almost 100 participants from 39 countries) have been able to follow the certificate programme since its launch. 

Dissemination and knowledge sharing: since 2016, he ADA Chairholder accepted more than 150 speaking, teaching, and roundtable commitments at prestigious universities, including:  Columbia University, Harvard University, the London School of Economics, MPI (Max Planck Institute) Hamburg, Oxford University, the National University of Singapore, the University of Chicago, the University of Paris-Sorbonne / Paris I and Yale University. Further, the ADA Chairholder has contributed to a number of working groups (e.g., European Securities and Markets Authority - ESMA’s Consultative Working Group on Financial Innovation, a Luxembourg working group on Blockchain in financial law) and chairs the FinTech Working Group of the European Banking Institute.

As to outreach, the ADA Chair’s preeminent work in the field of digital inclusive finance (including FinTech and RegTech) has achieved recognition among regulators worldwide. Such regulators include, but are not limited to, central bank members of the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI), the Asian Development Bank, the Basel Committee, the Bank of International Settlement, the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP), the European Commission, the European Securities & Market Authority (ESMA), the Toronto Centre, and relevant United Nations Sustainable Development Group (UNSDG) working groups.

In addition, the ADA Chair organized two major conferences each year, one on inclusive and sustainable finance and one on financial technologies. The ADA Chair also set up a series of open lectures addressing topics in the field of financial inclusion and financial law. Since 2016, more than 2,000 individuals have participated in these events.


After the first MoU between ADA and the Faculty of Law, Economics and Finance of the UL for the period 2015-2019, which successfully launched and developed the activities of the Chair at the international level, the partnership was renewed with a second MoU for a five-year period (2020-2024).

Under the terms of this second MoU, the UL, ADA and the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs (MFEA) jointly invest in the ADA Chair in Financial Law (Inclusive finance) in order to:

  • ensure the pursuit of world-class research in financial law related to inclusive and sustainable finance;
  • strengthen the UL's educational mission, in particular to further develop the certificate program in law and regulation of inclusive finance, and;
  • provide for effective outreach activities that contribute to knowledge sharing and the promotion of the results achieved within the inclusive finance sector.
  • Since March 2016, Professor Dirk Andrea Zetzsche, Chairholder, has been contributing to the development and the international recognition of the ADA Chair.  

Managed by the University of Luxembourg within the Faculty and piloted jointly with ADA and the MFEA, the ADA Chair is co-financed 50% by the MFEA via ADA and 50% by the UL, up to 320 000€ per year.  

The main beneficiaries or target groups are regulators, professional associations and networks, practitioners, Fintech and researchers in the field of inclusive finance.


Biography of Prof. Dirk Zetzsche - About the ADA Chairholder

Chairholder Prof. Zetzsche, LLM (Toronto), is professor of law as well as study director of the Certificate of Advanced Studies in Law and Regulation of Inclusive Finance since March 2016. Since July 2012, Professor Zetzsche is also one of the (non-executive) directors of the Centre for Business and Corporate Law at Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf, Germany.

Prof. Zetzsche completed his law studies at Heinrich Heine University, where he obtained a Doctor of law in 2004 on securities and corporate law, after having completed his LLM at the University of Toronto in Canada. While at Heinrich Heine University, he also completed his award-winning habilitation thesis on collective investment schemes in 2012 and was granted the venia legendi for private law, business law, comparative law, law and economics as well as law and ethics, before being called upon to take over the Propter Homines Chair of Banking and Securities Law at the University of Liechtenstein in 2012.

Research by the Prof. Zetzsche

Prof. Zetzsche has published more than 100 academic works, including books, chapter contributions and peer-reviewed journal articles, in particular on the law of alternative finance, collective investment schemes, asset management, family offices, shareholder rights, corporate and banking governance, secured transactions, FinTech and international financial regulation.

Some of his latest publications include The Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive, WoltersKluwer Law, 2nd ed., 2015; Prinzipien der kollektiven Vermögensanlage (transl. Principles of Collective Investments), Mohr Siebeck Publ., 2015; and forthcoming, with Prof. Matthias Lehmann as co-editor, Grenzüberschreitende Finanzdienstleistungen (transl. Cross-border financial services), Mohr Siebeck Publ.

His involvement with public institutions and the private sector

Prof. Zetzsche has worked as adviser to and participated in expert working groups initiated by public institutions, such as the European Commission, the European Parliament, the European Securities & Markets Authority, the German Ministry of Justice, the German Ministry of Finance as well as the Liechtenstein government. He has worked in the private sector, as a lawyer licensed under German law and as board member of regulated entities.

Prof. Zetzsche is one of the founding directors and chairman of the nomination committee of the Society of Investment Law and contributes to the academic board of the European Banking Institute as well as the University of Luxembourg’s FinTech working group. 


7th edition of the Certificate in Law and Regulation of Inclusive Finance from 16 to 26 January 2023

Designed to educate and train professionals in inclusive finance matters, the Certificate in Law and Regulation of Inclusive Finance aims at ensuring awareness of the topic of law and regulation in the inclusive finance sector, enabling an exchange with regulators and financial intermediaries, and facilitating further academic and non-academic cooperation.

The programme was launched in 2017 by ADA Chair in Financial Law (Inclusive Finance) at the University of Luxembourg’s Faculty of Law, Economics and Finance, together with the European Investment Bank Institute and ADA. Entering its seventh year in 2023, the programme is aimed at regulators, intermediaries and other inclusive finance organisations. So far close to 160 professionals from over 40 countries have benefited from the programme.

This edition takes place in person in Luxembourg.
The training is given in English without translation.