Same FRI, New Home and New Opportunities

February 2, 2021 —

During January 2021, the Financial Research Institute (FRI) moved to a new home on the University of Missouri campus along with new academic leadership as part of the Division of Applied Social Sciences (DASS). Since its founding in 1988, the FRI had been housed within the (now) Robert J. Trulaske, Sr. College of Business at the University “to promote education, research and service across various areas of finance.” Over the years, the FRI’s programs have evolved to focus primarily on economic, financial and regulatory issues related specifically to regulated utility industries.

As part of DASS, the FRI will enjoy new opportunities to build upon the success of its existing programs by exploring and developing new educational and research-based activities to support its current stakeholders.  In addition, working in collaboration with University of Missouri Extension, the FRI has opportunity to expand its stakeholder reach to include programs designed to support regional economic development decision-makers and to engage with non-investor–owned utilities like cooperatives and municipals.

Michael Sykuta
FRI’s new Executive Director, Dr. Michael Sykuta

The FRI’s new Executive Director is Dr. Michael Sykuta, an Associate Professor of Applied Economics in DASS. Dr. Sykuta has a background of research and teaching interests related to industry regulation, corporate finance, and organizational economics.

While some things are changing, the core is not. FRI will continue to focus on providing a neutral environment for stakeholders in the regulated public utility industry to come together to examine, understand, and debate current issues relating to public utility policy. We look forward to the continued engagement of our Advisory Board in guiding our annual Public Utility Symposium, our Board’s Hot Topic Hotline forum, and our spring Advanced Seminar on Rate Setting. The FRI’s Vice-Director, Sarah Kent, and Program Manager, Cheryl Byrd, continue to make FRI go. And Dr. John Howe is continuing his relationship with FRI as Executive Director Emeritus.

We are tremendously grateful for the support of our past and current sponsors and Board members that has enabled FRI to become what it is. We celebrate our history and growth as part of the Trulaske College of Business. And we are excited about the opportunities ahead in our new home.

If you have questions or ideas you’d like to offer as we embark on this next journey, please reach out to us at