Bill Harrington (he, him, his)

Senior Fellow

Work:

(919) 794-7440 x 111

Mobile:

(917) 680-1465

Email:

bill@croataninstitute.org

Bill Harrington is a Senior Fellow at Croatan Institute. His work centers on boosting the sustainability of the world financial system with the dual aims of rationalizing economic decision-making and avoiding bailouts. He focuses on governance decisions in the financial sector that establish the capitalization and regulation of complex finance, particularly derivative contracts and structured finance products.

Bill has evaluated products in the international financial markets since 1987, most recently as a research journalist at Debtwire ABS and before that as a senior vice president and derivatives analyst at Moody’s Investors Service (Moody’s). He also structured derivative contracts that referenced currencies and global interest rates at Merrill Lynch and analyzed the trading patterns of these indices as an economist at The WEFA Group.

Since 2011, Bill has worked to rectify the under-capitalization of the types of complex finance that started and fueled the financial crisis. He has submitted technical comments to the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, US and European regulators, to US and UK legislative committees, and to rating agencies such as Fitch Ratings, Moody’s, and S&P Global. Bill also provided insights regarding Moody’s rating practices to the US state attorneys general who settled with the company in early 2017.

Bill has self-financed this advocacy and conducts it entirely in the public domain. He regularly speaks to the press, and his work has been profiled in the New York Times, the Financial Times, the Guardian, Bloomberg, Business Insider, ProPublica, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and on the BBC and American Public Media’s Marketplace. He places all work on government and other websites and actively engages regulators, market practitioners, journalists, and other parties in on-the-record dialog.

Additionally, Bill serves on the Experts Board of Wikirating.

Bill was born and raised in the historically significant mill city of Lowell, Massachusetts, a cradle of the US Industrial Revolution and home to many of his family. Their deep Lowell roots extend to the 1857 arrival of John and Margaret Harrington from Ireland. Six of Bill’s maternal great, great grandparents also immigrated directly to Lowell from Quebec in the 1860’s, from Ireland in 1870, and from England in 1871. More recently, Bill’s maternal and paternal grandparents lived a few houses apart on the same street between 1944 and 1965. This 160-year history of Lowell life animates Bill’s fascination with the interplay of economic cycles and human decision making.

Bill and his partner John live in New York City. Bill is an avid, lefthanded tennis player.

Education

M.B.A., Concentration in Finance, The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania
B.A., Economics, University of Pennsylvania

Other Publications


Publications 

  • “IOSCO should back off ESG ratings providers.” Environmental Finance, 19 August 2021.
  • Moody’s ESG overhaul won’t have any actual effect on credit ratings…” Responsible Investor, 19 October 2020.
  • Investors who want to fast-track sustainable fixed-income investments should inundate credit rating agencies with methodology critiques.” Responsible Investor, 28 January 2020.
  • Efficient, Commonsense Actions to Foster Accurate Credit Ratings.” Capital Markets Law Journal 11, no. 1 (2016): 38-59 doi: 10.1093/cmlj/kmv064). Presented at the 2015 annual meeting of the American Political Science Association in San Francisco (with Norbert J. Gaillard). 
  • “Moody’s Bets Germany Will Support Deutsche Bank Derivatives Above All Else.” Debtwire ABS, 12 October 2016. Available on Debtwire.com. 
  • Existing ABS Swaps Also Caught in Swap Margin Net.” Debtwire ABS, 12 August 2016. Available on Debtwire.com. 
  • “US Margin Rules for Swaps Obliges Securitization Issuers to Overhaul Structures, Add Resource and Rethink Capital Structures.” Debtwire ABS, 4 November 2015. Available on Debtwire.com.
  • “Update on the Lehman Brothers Derivative Product Companies’ Bankruptcy (Plan of reorganization by the Lehman bankrupt estate proposes to pay 100% of allowed claims against two Lehman DPCs)”. Moody’s Structured Credit Perspectives (June 2010) pp. 29-31.
  • “Mitigating Voluntary Bankruptcy Risk of U.S.-Domiciled Termination Derivative Product Companies and Assessing the Effectiveness of Continuation Derivative Product Companies.” Moody’s Investors Service Methodology, 16 July 2009 (with Alice Yu and Claudia Green).
  • “Framework for De-Linking Hedge Counterparty Risks from Global Structured Finance Cashflow Transactions.” Moody’s Investors Service Methodology, 25 May 2006 and in global use until 11 November 2013 (with Edward Manchester and Nicholas Lindstrom).
  • “Capping Hedge Termination Payments in Moody’s Rated Structured Notes Following Default of the Underlying Debt Instrument.” Moody’s Investors Service Special Report, 17 September 2004 (with Deboleena Dutta).
  • “Moody’s Approach for Rating Thresholds of Hedge Counterparties in CDO Transactions.” Moody’s Investors Service Guidelines, 23 October 2002.

Submissions to Federal Courts, Credit Rating Companies, and U.S. and EU Regulators and Legislative Committees

Journalism 

Credit Rating Agencies 

Derivative Contracts 

  • Open Letter from Former Rating Agency Executives on the Financial Choice Act.” Self-published on respective LinkedIn.com sites, published on Wikirating.net and submitted to the SEC. 1 May 2017 (with Marc Joffe). 
  • Financial Choice Act Immunizes Rating Agencies from Accountability.” Self-published on LinkedIn.com. 28 April 2017. 
  • Moody’s DOJ Settlement Won’t Stop Fake Rating Analysis & Derivative Denial.” Self-Published on LinkedIn.com and submitted to the CFTC, SEC and ESMA. 14 January 2017.  
  • Luyendijk, Joris, (2016). Among the Bankers – A Journey into the Heart of Finance. Brooklyn NY and London: Melville House. (First published in 2015 in the UK by Guardian Books and Faber and Faber Ltd as Swimming with Sharks: My Journey into the World of the Bankers).
  • Exploring Shadow Banking: Can the Nation Avoid the Next Crisis? Center for American Progress. Presenter and panelist. 12 July 2016. Agenda and video (WJH remarks from 1.24:00 to 1.36:00. Panel discussion from 1.36:00 to 1.56:00) 
  • What’s changed in the credit ratings business? ‘Marketplace.’ Narrator/Producer Sabri Ben-Achour. American Public Media. 3 February 2015.
  • Podkul, Cezary. “Years After Tobacco Deals Sold, SEC Says Rating Agencies Still Conflicted.” ProPublica 13 January 2015.
  • How bankers muscled rating agencies on tobacco bonds. ‘Marketplace.’ Narrator/Producer Stan Alcorn. American Public Media. 23 December 2014.
  • “Ausgeratet”: Rating-Agenturen am Pranger (“Ausgeratet”: rating agencies in the pillory). ‘plusminus.’ Narr. Markus Schmidt. Dir. Annemarie Kammerlander. Erstes Deutsches Fernsehen (ARD). Germany, 15 May 2013.
  • Shenn, Jody. “Fitch Waivers Over Plan to Relax Derivative Rules.” Bloomberg 23 May 2012.
  • Do credit rating agencies threaten our financial stability? File on 4. Narr. Hugh Pym. Dir, Lucy Proctor. BBC Radio 4. 28 February 2012.
  • Wer hat Schuld am Eurochaos (The Euro Crisis: Who is to Blame)? Narr. Karl Hinterleitner. Prod. Stephan Mueller. Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen (ZDF). Germany 23 November 2011.
  • Eisinger, Jesse. “Vows of Change at Moody’s, but Flaws Remain the Same.” New York Times 13 April 2011.