He’s against breaking up big banks. He doesn’t favor a return to Glass-Steagall’s separation of commercial and investment banking. And he’d like to see most of the Dodd-Frank Act dismantled. William Cohan made it clear at the second annual Wealth & Asset Management Conference at Olin that he’s against tight regulation of the finance industry where he spent most of his career.

Cohan was a headline speaker at the conference sponsored by the Wells Fargo Advisors Center for Finance and Accounting Research held Aug. 22-23. Cohan’s current career involves writing books about how big finance works behind the headlines. Cohan discussed his latest work, Why Wall Street Matters, with Rich Ryffel, senior lecturer in finance.

So, how would Cohan propose preventing the next financial crisis if regulation won’t help? David Nicklaus at The St. Louis Post-Dispatch covered their conversation in his Aug. 25 column:

Cohan proposes that the top 500 or so executives at each big bank be required to pledge their entire net worth as backing for the firm’s liabilities. They could still earn bonuses and stock options when things were going well, but another bad bet like subprime mortgages could cost them everything.

“It’s in the DNA of Wall Street to have your own skin in the game,” Cohan says. “You’re not going to take Goldman Sachs or Wells Fargo private, but my idea would recreate some of the old partnership structure.”

As the world learned in 2008, a global financial crisis can happen when economists least expect (or predict) it. But according to Gary Gorton, finance professor at Yale’s School of Management, it will happen again. He estimates the next crisis will come in 10 to 15 years. Gorton shared his analysis of the 2008 financial crisis at an event sponsored by the Wells Fargo Advisors Center for Finance and Accounting Research at Olin, Aug. 16.

Gorton will address the Finance Theory Group Summer School, meeting at Olin this week, at 9 a.m., Friday, Aug. 18, in Emerson Auditorium, Knight Hall. His topic will be: “The Private Money View of Financial Crises.”

Gorton’s 2010 book, Misunderstanding Financial Crises, Why We Don’t See Them Coming, provides historical context for understanding the 2008 financial crisis and why economists and policy makers need to recognize that crises are inevitable and inherent to our financial system. To those who thought that a crisis could not happen again in the US after the Great Depression, Gorton is blunt: “That economists did not think such a crisis could happen in the United States was an intellectual failure.”

Unlike the 1929 crash with bank runs like the scene in the Frank Capra film, “It’s A Wonderful Life,” the causes of the 2008 crisis were less visible. Cloaked in electronic trading, complex financial ‘innovations’, and unregulated derivative securities trading within the Shadow Banking system, Gorton said economists were blind to what was really happening in the financial markets.

Gorton points to the lack of data available from financial institutions as a major handicap for economists and policy makers who need to track activity to more accurately understand the markets and see signs of crisis before it’s too late. Gorton calls for a new information infrastructure to be built by the Office of Financial Research established under the Dodd-Frank legislation. He argues collecting and sharing data would help regulators as well as economists to more accurately measure risk and liquidity in the markets.

Gary Gorton and Rich Ryffel, Olin Senior Lecturer in Finance

Gary B. Gorton is The Frederick Frank Class of 1954 Professor of Finance at the Yale School of Management, which he joined in August 2008. Prior to joining Yale, he was the Robert Morris Professor of Banking and Finance at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, where he taught from 1983 to 2008. Dr. Gorton has done research in many areas of finance and economics, including both theoretical and empirical work. He is the author of Slapped by the Invisible Hand: The Panic of 2007 (Oxford University Press) and Misunderstanding Financial Crises (Oxford University Press).

Dr. Gorton has consulted for the U.S. Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, various U.S. Federal Reserve Banks, the Bank of England, the Bank of Japan, and the Central Bank of Turkey. He was a consultant to AIG Financial Products from 1996 to 2008.

Dr. Gorton received his doctorate in economics from the University of Rochester. In the field of economics, he received master’s degrees at the University of Rochester and Cleveland State University, and also received a master’s degree in Chinese Studies from the University of Michigan.

Jim McKelvey, entrepreneur and co-founder of Square, will be the keynote speaker at the Second Annual Wealth and Asset Management Research Conference to be held at Olin Aug. 22-23, 2017. Hosted by the Wells Fargo Center for Finance and Accounting Research (WFA CFAR), the meeting brings together researchers and practitioners who share the common goal of better understanding the capital markets to create better outcomes for investors. The conference will feature research from leading academics with audience discussions lead by industry experts in each given field of research.

McKelvey was appointed as an Independent Director of the St. Louis Federal Reserve in January 2017, but is better known for his involvement in several St. Louis-based startups including Cultivation Capital (general partner and co-founder), Six Thirty (co-founder), LaunchCode (founder), Third Degree Glass Factory(co-founder), Mira publishing (founded when he was a WashU student), and Square, the mobile payment company he founded in 2009 with Jack Dorsey.

McKelvey graduated from Washington University in 1987 with degrees in Economics and Computer Science. Earlier this year, he donated $15M to the University to build a new computer science and engineering building named in honor of his father, James McKelvey, Sr. who is a former dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science.

In addition to research topics, the one-and-a-half-day conference will feature presentations by noted industry experts including attorney Jerry Schlichter, and author William Cohan.

Link to register.
Sessions will be held in Emerson Auditorium, Knight Hall.

Conference Schedule:

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

12:00 – 1:00 pm  Registration – Knight Hall, Frick Forum1:00 – 1:15 pmWelcome & Opening Remarks Richard Ryffel, Senior Lecturer in Finance, Washington University

1:15 – 2:00 pm  Presenter – Bob Dannhauser, Head, Global Private Wealth Management, CFA Institute, “The Art and Science of Wealth Management: Looking to the Future”

2:15 – 3:00 pm  Presenter – Dan Bergstresser, Associate Professor of Finance, Brandeis International Business School, “Changes in the Municipal Bond Landscape since the Global Financial Crisis”

Discussant – Linda Matkowski, Chief Operating Officer, Stern Brothers & Co.

3:00 – 3:45 pm  Presenter – Andy Kalotay, President, Andrew Kalotay Associates, “Tax Optimization of Municipal Bond Portfolios”

Discussant – Steve Wood, Principal, Stephen A. Wood Consulting, LLC

4:00 – 5:00 pm   “Remembering Steve Ross: The Man and His Ideas” – Phil Dybvig, Boatmen’s Bancshares Professor of Banking and Finance, Washington University, Rick Antle, William S. Beinecke Professor of Accounting, Yale University, Michael Griswold, Senior Director, Risk Managment and Asset Allocation, Ascension Investment Management

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

8:00 – 9:00 am
A Discussion of the Importance of Financial Services to the Economy – William Cohan, Author,  “Why Wall Street Matters

9:15 – 10:00 am   Presenter – Jerry Schlichter, Founding and Managing Partner, Schlichter, Bogard, & Denton, “Litigation Pitfalls for 401k Plan Fiduciaries”

10:15 – 11:00 am   Presenter – Matt Ringgenberg, Associate Professor of Finance, David Eccles School of Business,  “On Index Investing”

Discussant – Hans Fredrickson, CIO, Oak Summit Capital

11:00 – 11:45 am   Presenter – Todd Gormley, Associate Professor of Finance, Washington University, “Standing on the Shoulders of Giants: The Effect of Passive Investors on Activism”

Discussant – Charles Stucke, Chief Executive Officer, Lepercq

12:00 – 12:45 pm   Presenter – Emily Gallagher, Postdoctoral Research Associate in Household Finance, Washington University, “Financial Challenges of Low-Income Households”

Discussant – Chris Krehmeyer, President and CEO, Beyond Housing

2:00 – 2:30 pm   FinTech Showcase – Presenter – Cliff Holekamp, Senior Lecturer in Entrepreneurship, Academic Director for Entrepreneurship “How Venture Capital Pays”

2:30 – 3:30 pm   FinTech Showcase Panel – Ben Harrison, Chief Revenue Officer and Co-founder, DealCloud, Inc., Josh Smith, Co-founder and CEO, Solovis, Laurence Stock, COO and Co-founder, Numerated Growth Technologies, Inc., “Automation in Asset Management”

Moderator – Joe Maxwell, Managing Partner, Cultivation FinTech

3:30 – 4:15 pm  FinTech Showcase – Keynote Address – Jim McKelvey, General Partner and Co-founder, Cultivation Capital, Co-founder and Director, Square.


I was not expecting to receive a job when I applied for the Wells Fargo Advisors Center for Finance and Accounting Research (WFA-CFAR) mentorship program for Master of Accounting (MACC) students during the Spring 2016 semester. Instead, I was hoping to build a healthy long-term friendship with my future mentor. The friendship should benefit both sides: my mentor could learn Chinese culture from me, and I could learn how to behave more professionally in the US business world.

WFA-CFARThe mentorship experience with Doug Schoen, Assistant Treasurer at Emerson, turned out to be wonderful, and it is exactly what I was hoping for. During several dinners with Doug’s family at his home, they generously taught me many soft skills for the business world; for example, how to handle crucial conversations effectively and how to become a better team leader. Doug also took me on a tour at Emerson, and he introduced me to Emerson’s VP and the Director of Treasury–and each of them gave me sincere and beneficial advice for my career.

The new WFA-CFAR mentorship program for MACC students is making a personal and professional impact.

As I had hoped, Doug and I also taught each other new things. For instance, I bought Sake wine and taught Doug how to taste and identify different Japanese Sake. In return, Doug sent me books on art history, and he guided me through different oil paintings in different eras.

While both of us were enjoying the mentorship experience and learning from each other, good news came: I was offered an accounting internship at Emerson this summer because of my previous contact with Emerson’s senior management team. I joked with Doug that the internship was a “bonus” in this friendship.

We have already planned another event in the future–probably a Cardinals baseball game, and my mentor will teach me rules of this sport. I strongly recommend that students participate in mentorship programs such as this. Thanks to WFA-CFAR and Doug, I already know what a home run feels like!

Guest Blogger: House Zhu (MACC 2016)

Distributed : Trade Conference logo

The Distributed Blockchain Conference is the first global event focusing on blockchain technology applications for both trade networks and financial services. We are fortunate to be able to host such a groundbreaking conference at Washington University in Emerson Auditorium next Tuesday, June 14th  from 8-5 p.m. This conference will bring together the industry’s leading blockchain technology companies with major enterprises to brainstorm how the new technology will disrupt and optimize trade networks and financial service. Still on the fence? Here are four reasons you should add The Distributed Blockchain Conference to your summer schedule:

1. Delve into the impact of blockchain on financial services and trade networks

Blockchains are the most revolutionary technology development since the Internet. Money can be transferred cheaply and more efficiently on a global scale, removing the middle man from the equation when making transitions.

2. Real use cases will demonstrate how blockchain technology can provide efficiency gains and cost savings

Forty of the world’s top financial firms are already experimenting with this technology and this number is expected to continue to grow. Fluent, a financial operating network with WashU roots, will be demonstrating their products tracking supply chain and offering product and proof-of-concept demos, helping you understand how some of the largest firms can embrace this new technology.

3. Network with the innovative leaders 

CEOs from the world’s leading blockchain startups and executives from the world’s most innovative corporations will come together to reimagine international trade networks. The event is primarily sponsored by SixThirty and BTC Media, which are both large contributors to the fintech industry. There are 45 speakers at the event, including Brian Behlendorf, the Executive Director of Hyperledger Project at The Linux Foundation; David Bailey, the CEO of BTC Media; Jeff Garzic, the co-founder of Bloq, and many more.

4. This is the first blockchain conference of this magnitude to be held in a non-coastal city

St. Louis is the first Midwest city to be selected to host a conference about blockchain, and for good reason: Home to many startups, elite colleges, and nationally-recognized fintech company SixThirty, St. Louis is a vital logistics and fintech hub. This conference offers you the rare opportunity to learn more about this revolutionary technology and network with some of the largest names in this growing industry.

Learn more and register today!

Please use discount code for WU students- DISTRIBUTEDWASHU