What was the nature of their innovation and how did it contribute to humankind? Bill Harrington uses free speech that is highly informed, precisely targeted, and 100% on-the-record to reclaim public resources that the financial industry misallocates via “corporate free speech.” Bill directs his speech at the complex-finance complex that ignited and fanned the financial crisis, most notably the nexus of credit rating agencies, derivative contracts, and structured finance. Since 2011, Bill has “fought fire with fire” by filing, disseminating, and publicizing 40 technical submissions to US and EU financial regulators, credit rating companies, law enforcement agencies, and legislative committees. The two-fold approach is to (1) buttress existing safeguards, such as the Dodd-Frank Act, and (2) close loopholes by stripping financial sector enablers of plausible deniability regarding complex-finance deficiencies. The (often unappreciative) recipients of Bill’s speech include financial academicians, attorneys, investigators, legislators, practitioners, regulators, and a variety of US and global media. Bill’s “fight-fire-with-fire” advocacy has helped suppress the worst types of crisis-causing structured finance such as US residential-mortgage-backed products. As recently as this June, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (generally a very obliging friend of the complex-finance complex) adopted Bill’s proposal to limit the use of complex finance products in the US financial system. Bill pursues his advocacy on a full-time and, to-date, fully self-financed basis. He is a senior fellow at Croatan Institute, where he is developing a “Financial Sustainability Score” to measure the extent to which a financial product supports or undermines the wider economic and financial system. Bill is also a Key Expert on Structured Finance for Wikirating.org, which posts his most trenchant technical submissions. He has worked as a byline research journalist at Debtwire, a senior analyst of complex finance at the credit rating agency Moody’s Investors Service, a trader of complex finance at Merrill Lynch, and a financial economist at Wharton Econometrics. Following are links to Bill’s advocacy. Bio page at Croatan Institute: http://www.croataninstitute.org/william-j-harrington Wikirating: https://www.wikirating.org/ LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/williamjharrington/
As a business professor at NYU I completely agree with Bill Harrington's view on Free Speech. The clearer, simpler and truly open speech is - the better informed the investor and the financial community at large will be. Better informed human beings make better decisions and are thus freer in every sense of the word. This has been Bill's mission in the financial sector since attending Wharton and subsequently working on Wall Street.
Bill Harrington continues to proactively address and highlight the issues in the derivatives markets that contributed to the financial crisis. We need voices such as Bill's that speak the truth and are motivated by public interest and the desire to enhance the quality of our regulatory framework.
Bill's work has done so much to inform investment professionals about systematic risks within the bond sector given the limited transparency in the various models used by rating agencies. I saw Bill present on his work a year ago and have been paying greater attention to bonds when engaged in conversations with other professionals. Through those discussions, I've been able to reconfirm some of the issues around transparency identified by Bill.
Bill fearlessly pursues expanding our understanding of the problems of financial innovation. He is willing to cold-contact and collaborate with people in many spheres - including academia, archaeology (the public record of the financial crisis), economic history, ethics, journalism, jurisprudence, law enforcement, public policy, and regulation - to create more cogent analysis. My work has certainly benefited from Bill's intellectual integrity and openness.
Bill Harrington has become a leading public critic of complex financing techniques that started and fueled the financial crisis, as well as an outspoken advocate for addressing systemic risks in the capital markets, rectifying undercapitalized financial structures, and boosting the sustainability of the global financial system.
Bill Harrington is highly knowledgeable and cares deeply about the issues he researches and writes about, which include boosting the sustainability of the world financial system and calling attention to flaws that put us at risk. Bill is extremely intelligent and conscientious.
Bill Harrington is a passionate advocate for financial stability and has been a tireless critic of the fatal flaws in derivative product designs and fallacious credit ratings and rating methodologies of the Big 3 rating agencies. While I cannot speak for other market participants, I have certainly benefited from his market insights and technical expertise.
Bill Harrington’s mission to introduce transparency and regulation to the opaque world of cowboy finance that caused the 2008 finance crisis is both commendable and necessary to avoid a repeat of the calamity that caused millions of Americans to be unemployed and evicted from their homes.
Bill Harrington emerged from the financial crisis a decade ago as one of the world's leading critics of the complex structures that fueled the mortgage meltdown. He has become an outspoken advocate for a more sustainable financial system after years of structuring complex derivatives at a major bank and developing frameworks for assessing their risks at a leading credit rating agency. Bill abandoned Wall Street when he saw how these products were magnifying rather than mitigating risk.
Bill Harrington is a passionate advocate for transparency in the financial markets. He has spent his career working to improve the market information individuals and firms use to make economic decisions, decrease systemic risk and avoid future financial bailouts, and improve the public understanding of the financial crisis. His commitment, intellect, and deep expertise in securitized products and derivatives markets make him a global thought leader worthy of public attention and recognition.
Bill Harrington is an inspiration for the well-informed cynics who question whether this stone of regulatory reform can be pushed up the hill of indolent self-indulgent information asymmetry embedded in the financial services industry, and especially within the world of complex derivatives. His work is comprehensive, thoughtful and bracing in its implied and explicit conclusions. He is never afraid to take his arguments public and expose that which his targets would prefer remain obscured.
Bill's work is excellent and valuable. He is intelligent and passionate about the problems with financial instruments and I highly recommend him.
Bill's advocacy supports and protects average citizens like me, most of whom will likely never know or understand his work, but who will benefit greatly from it. This type of "invisible" advocacy is rare, and is rarely recognized, yet is crucial to creating some semblance of integrity in our markets and our culture.
Bill Harrington has an impressive knowledge of financial markets, especially securitized products and derivatives markets. But that's not all! Bill is a hard-working expert who has tirelessly fought to promote ethics and accountability among business circles as well as accurate and fair credit ratings. His research and technical works are increasingly influential in the financial sphere. On the trustworthy scale, Bill gets a triple-A!
Bill Harrington is articulate and backs up his proposals with sound, educated reasons. He not only helps an audience understand his points, but educates the audience with answers to complex questions that are posed.
We need people like Bill advocating for us and to call out any flaws in our financial system. Thank you for your hard work Bill!
Good and thought provoking piece, Bill.
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