Each and every PhD is required to be novel and to be a contribution to the field of that PhD. Therefore, a list of thesis topics defeats the requirement of a PhD.
A PhD is an apprenticeship on how to do research, how to think, how to write, how to teach yourself, and how to learn. Plus lots of other stuff too.
What usually happens is that the student who wants to do a PhD approaches the department, finance in your case, and tells them that you want to do a PhD. If you qualify for their program and meet their requirements and prerequisites, you enter their program. You will find out which faculty has funding for research to pay for the tuition and stipend / living expenses and to pay for information, data, computer time, and other required support.
What is actually useful to you as a learning tool is to look at what is happening in the world of finance, and for you to look and identify issues that you perceive or that the literature perceives as problems. You then hypothesis what are the controlling mechanisms of these issues and ways of testing your hypothesis. Look in the finance and economics and related literature to see what others have said of these issues. If your hypothesis is novel or the issue(s) hasn’t been addressed before, you have a possible PhD thesis topic.
Write everything up and discuss this with the head of the Finance Department. The head may arrange for you to be a Teaching Assistant and to receive tuition and a stipend while you teach and do your very own thesis research. Or the head may find other faculty with money or to apply for research funding to pay for your tuition, stipend, and support so that you can do your thesis research….
The worse that can happen is that the head would correct your work, your thesis proposal, and you will have started on the path on learning how to think and do research….
Personal finance and new technologies.
Factors that affect financial institutions.
International finance management.
Estate planning in personal finance.
Corporate finance directors.
Project finance and renewable energy sources.
Banking and finance in Islamic world.
London as a finance center.
The process of cash management in international banks
Attitude of investors towards hostile countries on various investment projects
Society’s attitude towards debit and credit cards
An in-depth analysis of Visa and MasterCard financial statements
Online banking in developed and developing countries: A comparative study
The impact of money supply on economic growth in Japan and Korea
Determinants of inter-banking success in Malaysia
Trade impact on land-locked countries: The case of Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia
The role of mergers and acquisitions in the banking sector
In order to have an accurate knowledge about the recent research topics related to finance one should first of all know that what exactly finance is. So finance is basically a management of money which includes activities like investing, borrowing, lending, budgeting, saving, and forecasting. It is a broader term that describes activities associated with banking, leverage or debt, credit, capital markets, money, and investments. Profession in the field of finance is taking an edge over almost all the courses available for the students. This not only opens gate for the highest paying jobs but offers the most respectable and desired job positions. So as a result of which there are many current research topics coming into the era of knowledge.
Firstly researcher must be completely aware of the source of data collection and the statistical techniques used therein.
So, some of the common research topics related to finance:-
Firm performance- Firm performance also known as financial stability or financial health is a measure of performance of a company that not only depends on the efficiency of the company itself but also on the market where it operates. The main aim is to analyze the performance of the firm where common financial measures are revenue, return on equity, return on assets, profit margin, sales growth, capital adequacy, liquidity ratio, and stock prices. It not only includes organizational performance but is also responsible for functioning of the firm and outcomes of its operations. Firm performance is generally taken in association with managerial ownership, institutional ownership, family ownership, dispersed and concentrated ownership, corporate group association, corporate governance, board independence, directors’ gender, founders’ political connections, controlling shareholders, board structure, CEO decision horizon, CEO compensation, compensation structure, mangers incentive scheme, managerial participation in directors selection, management succession.
Dividend decision- The Dividend Decision is one of the crucial decisions made by the finance manager relating to the payouts (proportion of Earning Per Share given to the shareholders in the form of dividends) to the shareholders. Dividend decision is in association with capital gain tax, individual taxes, tax reforms, dividend taxes, legal restrictions, transaction costs of external financing, liquidity policy of the firm (cash holdings, A/R), leverage/capital structure/debt maturity, investment/growth opportunities, debt covenants, earning management and earning smoothing, information contents, insiders trading laws, industry effects, industry influence, dividend repurchase, stock market liquidity, firms assets structure, financial distress. The optimal dividend decision is when the wealth of shareholders increases with the increase in the value of shares of the company. Therefore, the finance department must consider all the decisions viz. Investment, Financing and Dividend while computing the payouts.
Capital structure- The capital structure is the particular combination of debt and equity used by a company to finance its overall operations and growth. Debt comes in the form of bond issues or loans, while equity may come in the form of common stock, preferred stock, or retained earnings. short term debt such as working capital requirements is also considered to be part of the capital structure. This is in association with its determinants, tests of pecking order theory, tests of trade off theory, tests of static and dynamic trade off theories, personal and corporate taxation, marginal tax rates, tests of agency theory, firm dividend policies, firm investment decisions, firm growth opportunities, free cash flow hypothesis. Not only this a company’s proportion of short-term debt versus long-term debt is considered when analyzing its capital structure.
§ Cost of equity capital- The cost of equity is the return a firm theoretically pays to its equity investors, i.e. shareholders, to compensate for the risk they undertake by investing their capital. Firms need to acquire capital from others to operate and grow. Individuals and organizations who are willing to provide their funds to others naturally desire to be rewarded. How Cost of Equity Capital is Related to customer concentration risk, market structure uncertainty, risk disclosures, voluntary disclosures, intellectual capital disclosures, financial reporting frequency, corporate social responsibility disclosure, foreign shocks, CEO general managerial skill, agency cost, management earning forecasts etc.
§ Access to finance- Access to finance is the ability of individuals or enterprises to obtain financial services including credit, deposit, payment, insurance, and other risk management services. Those who involuntarily have no or only limited access to financial services are referred to as the unbanked. The lack of financial access limits the range of services and credits for household and enterprises.
Corporate social responsibility- Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a self-regulating business model that helps a company be socially accountable—to itself, its stakeholders, and the public. By practicing corporate social responsibility, also called corporate citizenship. companies can be conscious of the kind of impact they are having on all aspects of society, including economic, social, and environmental.
Expected returns- The expected return is the profit or loss an investor anticipates on an investment that has known or anticipated rates of return. It is calculated by multiplying potential outcomes by the chances of them occurring and then totaling these results.
Though there are few more topics which can be studied but these were the most common being discussed in answer.