Let’s talk about you: what is your background, what do you teach, and what are your research interests?
I'm Alberto Urbani and at Ca' Foscari I teach Economic Law, a scientific sector of relatively recent origin which, in general terms, deals with regulated markets, obviously from a legal point of view and with specific focus on the world of finance in its various articulations (especially banks, financial intermediaries and insurance companies), with a methodological approach tending to highlight the interrelationships between law and the economy.My main scientific interests revolve around the regulation of bank activity and public supervision of companies in the sector, the prevention and fight against economic crime (in particular anti-money laundering instruments) and credit instruments.
Tell us about your academic path. Who has inspired you in your career?
I graduated in Law from the Tor Vergata University of Rome, after having had the good fortune to benefit from a school education marked over the years by the presence of some teachers to whom I believe I must still be very grateful today. If I had to indicate the stages of my studies and professional career that more than others allowed me to mature, I would mention two: the experience at the "Lamaro-Pozzani" University College (a Residence at the time) of the Cavalieri del Lavoro in Rome, which with the many cultural initiatives that were offered "trained" me in dialogue and interdisciplinarity, and the activity for a few years employed by the Bank of Italy, where I dealt with banking and financial supervision.As for my strictly academic career, on the other hand, it all developed at Ca' Foscari, first as a researcher in commercial law and then, precisely, as a professor of economic law.
What are you most passionate about in your field of research?
Not since today, but certainly even more today, the financial system is at the centre of economic dynamics and, ultimately, also of many social dynamics. I find it very interesting to study how law and economics can mutually influence each other and, from this point of view, the world of finance is a very interesting "laboratory", in which, among other things, solutions are often tested which are later transfused into into very different fields.
What do studying and researching mean to you?
Living university teaching to the full means always maintaining a constant dialogue between teaching and research: this has always been true, but it is even more so in a context like the current one marked by continuous and rapid changes. Studying is fundamental because over the years I have increasingly realized that it is only by reflecting in depth on specific and, possibly, innovative topics that one can really enter into the merits of a subject. On the other hand, teaching represents for me not only a constant stimulus, for the confrontation with the younger ones that is inherent in it, but also the privileged channel for transmitting to students the taste for learning and reasoning. Nothing else gives me so much satisfaction from a professional point of view as seeing young students who are passionate about a discipline that is almost always new to them and who are fascinated by the stimuli for reflection and further study that this is able to solicit.I only add that I also consider it very important that those who teach and study at university - I speak at least with regard to the subjects I deal with - constantly confront themselves with the reality outside the academic sphere, both to transfer their expertise on a larger scale and because if the law is not confronted with reality it risks easily falling into lucubration for its own sake, thus abdicating its vital functions.
Can you offer any advice to researchers in the early stages of their career?
To look for teachers who are passionate and at the same time demanding, and to never forget that despite all the effort and sacrifices that studying may entail, the beauty of research lies above all in the possibility that it allows us to learn and develop our intellectual abilities: that is, ultimately, to grow as people, for the benefit both of ourselves and of the society in which we are called to live.