Mark T. Williams

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Mark T. Williams
Boston University Questrom School of Business
Boston University Questrom School of Business
Born (1963-08-19) August 19, 1963 (age 58)

Mark Thomas Williams (born August 19, 1963) is an academic, financial author and risk management expert. He is a faculty member in the Finance Department at Boston University Questrom School of Business where he teaches courses in banking, risk management, capital markets and FinTech activities. In 2018, he was awarded the James E. Freeman Lecturer in Management Chair.


In 1985, Williams earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from the University of Delaware.[1] He became a bank trust officer for Wilmington Trust Company and joined TD Banknorth in 1987. In 1993 he earned a Master of Business Administration from Boston University and joined the Federal Reserve Bank as an examiner in Boston and later in San Francisco. In 1997 he joined Citizens Power LLC, a Boston-based energy trading company and became a senior vice president, Head of Global Risk Management.[2] Since 2002, he has been on the faculty of Boston University as Executive-in-Residence/Master Lecturer.[3]

Williams is a member of the Standard & Poor’s Academic Council, a senior advisor at the Brattle Group[4] and is on the advisory board of Appleton Partners, a Boston-based private wealth management firm.[5] He is also the co-founder of FitMoney, a nonprofit focused on elevating financial literacy in U.S. public schools for kindergarten through 12th grade K-12.[6] Since 2018, he has served on the Board of Trustees for Lesley University located in Cambridge, Massachusetts.[7]

Williams is a frequent guest contributor for the Financial Times,[8][9][10] Reuters,[11],[12] and Business Insider.[13] He has also written articles for Bloomberg,[14] the Boston Globe,[15][16][17][18][19][20] Foreign Policy magazine[21] and The New York Times.[22][23][24]

Current research interests[edit]

In 2019, Williams completed a performance study on Major League Baseball Umpire's pitch-call accuracy over 11 seasons (2008-2018) concluding that over 20% of certain pitches were called incorrectly. For the 2018 season, home plate umpires made 34,294 incorrect pitch calls.[25] Error rates remained similar for the 2019 season.[26] In October 2019, he launched Umpscores, an umpire performance evaluation app.[27]

In 2015, he co-authored a report with Harry Markopolos, the Bernie Madoff whistleblower about the potential fraud and growing financial risks associated with the MBTA pension.[28][20]

Bitcoin testimony[edit]

On January 29, 2014, he provided risk testimony before the New York State Department of Financial Services hearing on virtual currencies.[29][30] In the NYSDFS testimony, he stated "as a virtual commodity, Bitcoin remains extremely risky and needs to be closely watched. To transform Bitcoin into a virtual currency would require regulation, centralization, creation of a legal framework and strong regulatory oversight." According to him, these steps would alone not guarantee Bitcoin's chronically high volatility to drop low enough to allow it to become a trusted transactional currency.[30] He raised concerns about Bitcoin, including lack of consumer protection, it being a high-risk virtual commodity, having an artificially inflated price, extreme hoarding, hyped demand, high potential for market manipulation, and fraud.[30][31][32]

On April 2, 2014, Williams provided congressional testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Small Business discussing the 10 major risks associated with Bitcoin.[33] He was a speaker at the World Bank Law, Justice and Development (LJD) Week October 2014 where he discussed virtual currencies and the regulatory and legal challenges of new peer-to-peer technologies in financial services.[34]

In December 2013, after Bitcoin peaked at $1,200, Williams predicted that it was in a bubble and would trade for less than 10 dollars, an over 90% drop by mid-2014.[35] In 2014, Bitcoin prices dropped by over 70% to $344 but didn't reached $10.[36][31][37] Other academics including Yale economist Robert Shiller also consider Bitcoin a speculative bubble.[38] In November 2014, NYU professor David Yermack forecasted that in November 2015, Bitcoin could be all but worthless.[39] In January 2018, Williams further cautioned investors about the cryptocurrency hyper asset bubble, stating it is fraught with uncertainty and high risk. Prices can also be manipulated, and exchanges that trade them tend to have little to no regulation and consumer protections.[40]


  • Beckwith Prize for Excellence in Teaching - Boston University, 2008 & 2021
  • New England Book Show Best Reference Book of 2013, New England Book Show, 2014[41]
  • James E. Freeman Lecturer Chair awarded, 2018
  • Hall of Fame Inductee, Sussex Central High School, 2019[42]


  • Williams, Mark T. Uncontrolled Risk: The Lessons of Lehman Brothers and How Systemic Risk Can Still Bring Down the World Financial System. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2010.[43] Chinese Version Published McGraw Hill, 2014.
  • Williams, Mark T. & Lawson, Alan. Longwood Covered Courts: And the Rise of American Tennis. Boston: 2013.[44]


  1. ^ Thomas, Neil (June 10, 2010). "UD alum writes book on Lehman, financial crisis and important lessons learned". UDaily.
  2. ^ "A key reference book in any well-rounded risk library".
  3. ^ "Mark Williams | Questrom School of Business". Retrieved September 25, 2019.
  4. ^ "Mark T. Williams".
  5. ^ "Form N-1A". SEC. April 30, 2013.
  6. ^ "FitMoney — We are business executives, teachers, and parents with a passion for financial literacy". FitMoney. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
  7. ^ "Lesley welcomes two new members to Board of Trustees". April 26, 2019.
  8. ^ "MF Global Gives Fed a Lesson in How to Pick its Friends" The Financial Times - November 6, 2011
  9. ^ "Few Silver Linings When Gold Bubble Bursts" The Financial Times - October 17, 2010
  10. ^ "Ignore the hyperbole: America is not bust" The Financial Times - September 8, 2010
  11. ^ "Why did the SEC fail to spot the Madoff case?" Reuters - January 6, 2009
  12. ^ "A Breach Of Fiduciary Duty At Bank Of America?" Forbes - February 26, 2009
  13. ^ "How to finally address the US's out-of-control student-loan crisis, according to a finance professor".
  14. ^ "Derivatives Trading Comes Clean in the Open: Mark T. Williams" Bloomberg - April 16, 2010
  15. ^ Williams, Mark T. (June 30, 2016). "A five-point plan to save the MBTA's pension fund". Boston Globe.
  16. ^ Williams, Mark T. (February 2, 2015). "A priority list for fixing the MBTA". Boston Globe.
  17. ^ "The weak link in bank reform" The Boston Globe - July 8, 2010
  18. ^ "Don’t throw the keys to the Fed" The Boston Globe - July 2, 2009
  19. ^ "Bitcoin spikes to a new record — again. Will it ever come down? - The Boston Globe". Retrieved December 12, 2017.
  20. ^ a b "MBTA pension crisis should be a priority - the Boston Globe".
  21. ^ "Fool's Gold" Foreign Policy - November 8, 2010
  22. ^ William, Mark T. (January 24, 2014). "Bitcoin Is Not Yet Ready for the Real World". New York Times.
  23. ^ "Beware Of Bitcoin". cognoscenti. December 5, 2013. Retrieved January 4, 2017.
  24. ^ "Investing in Cryptocurrency: Do or Don't? | BU Today | Boston University". Retrieved February 9, 2018.
  25. ^ "MLB Umpires Missed 34,294 Ball-Strike Calls in 2018. Bring on Robo-umps?". BU Today. June 16, 2019.
  26. ^ Sawchik, Travis (November 1, 2019). "Were The Best Umpires Behind The Plate During The Playoffs?". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved November 21, 2019.
  27. ^ "BU Spark! Hits a Home Run | BU Spark!". Retrieved November 20, 2019.
  28. ^ "Madoff whistle-blower sounds alarm on T pension fund". Boston Globe. June 27, 2015.
  29. ^[bare URL PDF]
  30. ^ a b c Williams, Mark T. "FINANCE PROFESSOR: Bitcoin Could Evolve Into An Existential Threat Worthy Of A Science Fiction Movie". Business Insider. Retrieved October 25, 2019.
  31. ^ a b Testimony of Mark T. Williams The New York State Department of Financial Services: Hearing on Virtual Currencies - January 29, 2014.
  32. ^ "Investing in Cryptocurrency: Do or Don't? | BU Today | Boston University". Retrieved October 6, 2018.
  33. ^ [1] Archived September 23, 2018, at the Wayback Machine House Committee on Small Business: Committee Explores Risks and Benefits of Bitcoin Use by Small Businesses
  34. ^ "Law, Justice and Development Week 2014". World Bank. Retrieved October 1, 2019.
  35. ^ "FINANCE PROFESSOR: Bitcoin Will Crash to $10 by Mid-2014".
  36. ^ "Bitcoincharts | Charts".
  37. ^ "Washington Post". washingtonpost. Retrieved October 25, 2019.
  38. ^ Shiller, Robert (March 1, 2014). "In Search of a Stable Electronic Currency". New York Times.
  39. ^ NBER. "NBER Working Papers" (PDF). nber. Retrieved October 25, 2019.
  40. ^ "Investing in Cryptocurrency: Do or Don't?".
  41. ^ Longwood Covered Courts and the Rise of American Tennis. January 2013. Retrieved November 20, 2019.
  42. ^ Desk, Delaware News. "Sussex Central High School to host Hall of Fame induction ceremony Nov. 15". Sussex Living. Retrieved November 20, 2019.
  43. ^ Healy, Beth (June 27, 2010). "Learning from Wall Street's failures".
  44. ^ Lawson, R. Alan; Williams, Mark T. (2013). Longwood Covered Courts: And the Rise of American Tennis. Longwood Covered Courts.