About Imtiaz

Welcome to the website of Imtiaz Ul Haq, a research economist working in international development and policy in the US. With experience as a researcher, lecturer, policy consultant, and entrepreneur, he has developed a reputation as an expert on financial markets. His work has been published across multiple platforms and widely cited.


Imtiaz Ul Haq is currently an Economist with the Economic Policy Research team at the International Finance Corporate (IFC), part of the World Bank Group. Previously, he was a Research Fellow at Harvard University and an Assistant Professor of Economics at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (Pakistan). He holds a PhD and MSc in Finance from the University of Manchester, United Kingdom. 

Imtiaz has worked extensively on a range of topics in finance with a heavy policy focus, including sustainable finance, financial technology and financial regulations. His expertise lies in understanding how policy influences behavior of various agents in financial markets such as consumers, investors and financial institutions. In his previous role at the World Bank, he advised policymakers across the globe on designing and implementing policies related to financial deepening and financial innovation. 

Imtiaz is passionate about leveraging policy for impact and keen to explore how technology can amplify these benefits. He has previously founded and led a financial technology startup in South America. 

Imtiaz currently lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife. He enjoys playing badminton, volunteering and trying out new food experiences.

Research Publications

It’s all in the name: Mutual fund name changes after SEC Rule 35d-1 

Journal of Banking and Finance 

Our research provides novel evidence that mutual funds in the US continue to adopt misleading names despite regulation to curb such name changes (SEC Rule 35d-1).  This is particularly alarming as our research finds that investors lose out as they are drawn to such funds despite their poor performance. Our findings highlight inefficiencies in the US mutual fund market and hold important implications for the stakeholders involved.  

 Policy citations: 2 | Media mention: 1 |  Citations: 12

Structural loopholes in Sustainability-Linked Bonds

World Bank Policy Research 

Sustainability-linked bonds – one of the fastest-growing sustainable finance instruments – can help raise the funding needed for the private sector to meet their climate goals. However, our research is the first to uncover potential weak points in their effectiveness that could damage their reputation and leave them vulnerable to charges of greenwashing.  

 Citations: 1 | Downloads: 731 

Demand for money in Pakistan 

International Research Journal of Finance and Economics 

Our research revisits the demand function for money in an emerging market which has experienced the unusual phenomenon of rising inflation despite tight monetary policies by the central bank. Our results are suggestive of better management of the monetary policy in the country. 

 Citations: 6

International Research Journal of Finance and Economics 

This paper explores the extent of policy distortion and agricultural production for the cotton industry in the Indus Basin by employing a price risk scenario analysis. Our findings support a national comparative advantage for the cotton crop at export parity price.

 Citations: 5

Policy Publications

World Bank

Geospatial technology can be used to map financial access points and assess the distribution of financial services across space, allowing authorities to identify gaps in existing coverage clearly and with much higher precision than is otherwise possible. It can also help to prioritize gaps with respect to various policy objectives as well as design appropriate policy interventions at a subnational level. This note provides financial sector authorities and other stakeholders practical guidance for leveraging geospatial tools to inform financial inclusion policymaking. 

 Citations: 3 | Seminars: 2 | Downloads = 1043

World Bank

Governments are often the largest users of a country's payment systems, and hence can leverage their central role to promote government efficiency, public welfare and the broader economy. This report documents  the experience of several countries in leveraging a range of innovative tools to optimize government payments through digitization and extracts useful lessons for policymakers on this front.

  Seminars: 1 | Downloads = 762

World Bank

This report draws new insights on policy implementation from World Bank's experience in supporting  policymakers across the globe with national policies to promote financial inclusion. It leverages country case studies to highlight implementation experiences, identifying nine good practices for successful policy outcomes.

  Downloads = 1014

World Bank

This reports provides a framework for policymakers on designing optimal Key Facts Statements, which can promote disclosure and transparency in the market and hence ensure robust financial consumer protection and build trust in the national financial system.

  Downloads = 679

World Bank

This report presents key findings on account ownership, gender gap, financial behavior and knowledge of financial institutions and products in Ethiopia, based on the financial inclusion module of the national socioeconomic survey conducted in 2018/19. 

  Downloads = 671

Other Research papers

My research attempts to advance our understanding of investor behavior in one of the world's largest markets, i.e. the mutual fund industry. It consists of three essays that answer the following questions: Does investor fund-selection ability explain the impressive growth of the UK mutual fund industry? Does the behavior of US mutual fund investors vary across the business cycle? And, how do investors react to US mutual fund name changes?  

  Citations = 6

This paper adopts a novel approach to understand the role of non-financial information in investment decisions. It focuses on social and faith-based investments, and finds evidence that help to explain the resilience of such investments in face of a financial market crash.

  Downloads = 8

This paper documents herding in investments by venture capital funds in the US. It finds that more money is allocated towards sectors that have experienced large exits recently, pushing up valuations despite evidence suggesting that such investments are not more likely to be profitable. 

  Downloads = 8


Harvard University

This blog outlines how cutting-edge economic tools can leverage novel satellite data to estimate economic activity more accurately, frequently and with more depth. This can be particularly helpful for policymaking in developing countries where data constraints are more severe.

World Bank

This blog illustrates how geospatial technology can be leveraged by financial regulators to better understand the distribution of financial access points, enabling them to identify weaknesses in national or local financial systems that may act as barriers for financial consumers.

World Bank

This blog discusses how Key Fact Statements can help consumers better understand financial products, and ultimately facilitate improved financial decision-making. The blog highlights the importance of such tools in environments where misadvertising of financial products is common and there is low trust in the financial system.

Spotlight and Media coverage

Get in touch at iulhaq[at]ifc.org