Michael Mainelli

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Michael Mainelli is Chairman of Z/Yen,[1] a commercial think-tank, which he co-founded in 1994. He is Emeritus Gresham Professor of Commerce at Gresham College in London,[2] an Alderman of the City of London (Broad Street (ward)), and founder of the Long Finance initiative.

Michael Raymond Mainelli
Born 1958
Alma mater Harvard College
Trinity College Dublin
London School of Economics
Employer Z/Yen Group
Home town London

Gresham College Lecture Series[edit]

Professor Mainelli delivered and published a series of 28 free one-hour lectures on commerce at Gresham College in the City of London while serving as Mercers School Memorial Professor of Commerce from 2005 to 2009. The theme of his programme was “Society’s Commercial Choice – Risks and Rewards of Markets”. The lectures emphasised the proper functioning of markets in realising societal goals, and the obligation on society to try to use market forces wherever suitable, as opposed to unnecessary regulation, hidden subsidy or inappropriate taxation. During the public lectures he presented research on valuing sustainable certification and corporate social responsibility using risk/reward options,[3] applying measurement ranges to audit (Confidence Accounting),[4] developing standards markets,[5] liquidity estimation through supply-demand curve prediction,[6] and discerning the role of 'feedforward' in creating leptokurtic market outcomes.[7] During the series he made observations about sustainability,[8] market solutions to social problems,[9] risk,[10] the role of government,[11] the rising paradox of money as a positional good,[12] taxation,[13] long term discount rates,[14] intellectual property managed as an option,[15] corruption,[16] and lotteries as misery indicators.[17] The lecture series concluded by outlining a more general theory of commerce.[18] Professor Mainelli and the saxophonist John Harle interwove a collage from the lecture series with Benjamin Britten's music, "Metamorphoses: The Terrible Beauty of Change",[19] for the City of London Festival's June 2009 Sustain! programme.[20]

Michael continues to lecture and host symposia widely, including continuing lectures at Gresham College, where he has been introducing new concepts of money and the role of government.[21][22][23] Commercially, he lectures on a variety of finance, technology, and economic subjects, quite frequently on over two decades of research work on mutual distributed ledgers (a.k.a. blockchains) and 'smart ledgers'.[24]

Wider Initiatives[edit]

In 2005 Michael, Z/Yen, Gresham College, the City of London Corporation and forty financial institutions launched Long Finance's,[25] an agreement to share environmental, social and governance research with policy makers and the public.[26] Since 2007 Michael, Gresham College, the City of London Corporation and Z/Yen have used the Long Finance initiative to promote discussion, research and education about finance with the question: "When would we know our financial system is working?"[27] Long Finance holds numerous, free events for the public and over 500 free publications, over 50 produced by Long Finance itself, but the majority donated by over 60 financial firms participating under Long Finance's London Accord. Professor Mainelli champions Long Finance's Confidence Accounting and policy performance bond proposals in particular.


Educated at Harvard College, Trinity College Dublin and the London School of Economics and Political Science, Professor Mainelli’s early scientific research in aerospace and computer graphics led to him starting Swiss companies in seismology, cartography and energy information from 1979 to 1984. After a post at Arthur Andersen from 1985 to 1987, Professor Mainelli spent seven years as a partner and board member of the accountancy firm BDO Binder Hamlyn from 1987 to 1994, now BDO International, directing global consulting projects. While co-founding Z/Yen, Professor Mainelli served as Corporate Development Director of Europe's largest R&D organisation (then the UK Ministry of Defence's Defence Evaluation and Research Agency, DERA, now largely QinetiQ and DSTL, the Defence Science & Technology Laboratory) leading to two privatisations. At Z/Yen Professor Mainelli created the Global Financial Centres Index, The London Accord, Long Finance, the Global Intellectual Property Index, the Farsight Award and other financial services initiatives. He conceived and produced the first complete digital map of the world in 1983, Mundocart, the 'Google Earth' equivalent of the 1980s, as well as the $20 million Geodat cartography project from 1980 to 1984.

Professor Mainelli won a 1996 Foresight Challenge award for visualising risk in the Financial Laboratory, a 2003 UK Smart Award for prediction software, and was 2004/2005 British Computer Society “Director of the Year”.[28] He is a qualified accountant (FCCA), computer specialist (FBCS, CITP), securities professional (Chartered FCSI) and management consultant (FIMC, CMC). Professor Mainelli is a non-executive Director of the United Kingdom Accreditation Service[29] (the UK’s national body for standards and laboratories) where he is a proponent for competitive standards markets, and two AIM-listed companies, PCGE plc[30] and Wishbone Gold plc.[31] He is a Fellow and Trustee of Gresham College, the founding home of the Royal Society, which he terms "a Tudor Open University",[32] and a former visiting professor at the London School of Economics.[33] Michael was chairman of the Real Time Club in 2009-2010. He was designated a Gentiluomo ("Don") in the Associazione Cavalieri di San Silvestro, in Rome in 2011. In 2013 he was elected Alderman of Broad Street (ward) for the City of London Corporation.[34] In 2015 he was awarded the title of Consigliere del Senato Accademico of L’Accademia Tiberina. He has also held numerous advisory posts, for example City University, Hitachi UK, and HM Treasury.[35]


Professor Mainelli has published over 50 journal articles, over 200 commercial articles[36] and four books, including the humorous risk/reward management novel, "Clean Business Cuisine: Now and Z/Yen",[37] written with Ian Harris; a Sunday Times Book of the Week in 2000; Accountancy Age described it as “surprisingly funny considering it is written by a couple of accountants”.[38] Professor Mainelli's economics book, "The Price of Fish",[39] also written with Ian Harris, applied his Gresham lecture series ideas to 'wicked problems'. "The Price of Fish" won the 2012 Independent Publishers Gold Award for Finance, Investment and Economics.[40]

Notable Appearances[edit]

Michael Mainelli speaking at Blockchain Intelligence Conference in London
  • Professor Mainelli provided the City of London speech to the Hamburg Handelskammer's annual Morgensprache on 15 October 2015.[41]
  • Professor Mainelli participated in the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment Integrity Debate – “Do UK Savers & Investors Get A Good Deal?” on 24 September 2014 alongside Dr Tim May MCSI, CEO Wealth Management Association, The Rt Hon John Redwood MP, and Will Hutton.
  • Professor Mainelli was a keynote speaker at Robert J. Rubinstein's TBLI Conference Europe in November 2010.[42][43][44]
  • Professor Mainelli delivered the AEA Technology Wolfson College Lecture at Oxford, "Financing Technology", in February 2010.[45]
  • Professor Mainelli participated in the Securities & Investment Institute Debate on 14 January 2009 alongside Dr Vince Cable MP, Mr Alan Yarrow, and Mr David Bennett.[46]
  • Professor Mainelli participated in The City Debate on 29 January 2007 alongside Chris Huhne MP (Liberal Democrats' Shadow Environment Food and Rural Affairs Secretary), Emma Duncan (Deputy Editor, The Economist), Rt Hon Michael Portillo, and Richard D North (Fellow, Institute of Economic Affairs).[47]

Wider Interests and Public Service[edit]

From 1996 to 2017, Michael Mainelli and his wife Elisabeth undertook the restoration of the Thames Sailing Barge S B Lady Daphne,[48] while he still lectures on, and supports, sailing barges and their history.[49] Aside from other sailing activities, skiing, and being the odd bagpiper at Burns Night dinners, current positions include:

  • Alderman of Broad Street Ward, City of London Corporation & President, Broad Street Ward Club – London, England; 2013–present.
  • Trustee, Gresham Council – London, England; 2008-2017 & Gresham Biography Working Party – London, England; 2013–present.
  • International Member, International Financial Services Industry Advisory Committee, Office of the Taoiseach – Dublin, Ireland; 2015–present.[50]
  • non-executive Director, United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UK’s sole accreditation body for certification, testing, inspection and calibration services) – Middlesex, England; 2005–present.
  • Council, City & Guilds – London, England; 2014–present.
  • Almoner (Trustee), Christ’s Hospital Boarding School (charity) – Horsham, England; 2010–present.
  • Member, ACCA, Governance, Risk and Performance Forum – London, England; 2011–present.
  • Member, Professional & Business Services Council, UK Department for Business, Innovation & Skills – London, England; 2009–present.
  • Editorial Board, Journal of Strategic Change, John Wiley & Sons – London, England; 1990–present.
  • Editorial Board, Journal of Business Strategy, Emerald Group – Bradford, England; 2004–present.
  • Trustee, Thames Match (traditional sailing race since 1863) – Gravesend, England; 1999–present.
  • non-executive Director, Wishbone Gold plc - Gibraltar; 2012–present.
  • non-executive Director, PCGE plc - Gibraltar; 2014–present.
  • Trustee, Morden College - London, England; 2015–present.
  • Fellow, Goodenough College - London, England; 2016–present.

Significant former positions include:

  • Visiting Professor, London School of Economics – Department of Management Information Systems & Innovation Group – London, England; 2008–2012.
  • non-executive Director, Sirius Minerals plc - London, England; 2005–2014.
  • Commissioner, London Waterways Commission of the Greater London Authority – London, England; 2006–2014.
  • Trustee, IFAW – International Fund for Animal Welfare – Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts; 2007–2014.
  • President’s Committee, Council for Assisting Refugee Academics – London, England; 2009–2012.
  • Chairman, Real-Time Club – London, England; 2009-2010.
  • Advisory Board, City University, School of Informatics – London, England; 1999–2003.
  • Chief Scientist, The Financial £aboratory Club (LLP with Barclays, RoyalSunAlliance, London Stock Exchange, Silicon Graphics, City University, Ministry of Defence) – London, England; 1995–1998.




Gresham Lectures[edit]

All Articles[edit]


  1. ^ http://www.zyen.com/who-we-are/people.html?id=67
  2. ^ "Gresham College – Professor Michael Mainelli". Gresham College. Retrieved 31 December 2011. 
  3. ^ "Take My Profits Please! Volatility Reduction And Ethics". Gresham College. Retrieved 31 December 2011. 
  4. ^ "Reforming Auditing – Radical Change Or Incremental Action?". Gresham College. Retrieved 31 December 2011. 
  5. ^ "Standards Markets: The Free Market Response To Regulation". Gresham College. Retrieved 31 December 2011. 
  6. ^ "Liquidity: Finance In Motion Or Evaporation?". Gresham College. Retrieved 31 December 2011. 
  7. ^ "Perceptions Rather The Rules: The (Mis)Behaviour of Markets". Gresham College. Retrieved 31 December 2011. 
  8. ^ "Is The Party Over? Sustainable Hopes". Gresham College. Retrieved 31 December 2011. 
  9. ^ "Save the World: A Commercial Break". Gresham College. Retrieved 31 December 2011. 
  10. ^ "Does Society Risk My Life Through Safety? The Perils Of Too Much Risk Aversion". Gresham College. Retrieved 31 December 2011. 
  11. ^ "Goldilocks Government And The Market: Not Too Little, Not Too Much, But Just Right". Gresham College. Retrieved 31 December 2011. 
  12. ^ "Fads And Fashions: If They Are So Bad, Why Are They So Rapidly Rich?". Gresham College. Retrieved 31 December 2011. 
  13. ^ "Corporation Tax Or Income Tax: Which Is The Greatest Con?". Gresham College. Retrieved 31 December 2011. 
  14. ^ "Stealing The Silver: How We Take From The Dispossessed, The Poor And Our Own Children". Gresham College. Retrieved 31 December 2011. 
  15. ^ "Enclosures Of The Mind: Governing The Intellectual Commons". Gresham College. Retrieved 31 December 2011. 
  16. ^ "What I Like About This Country Is That It Has A Nice Level Of Corruption!". Gresham College. Retrieved 31 December 2011. 
  17. ^ "Why Do People Play The Lottery? Make Up Your Mind". Gresham College. Retrieved 31 December 2011. 
  18. ^ "Commercial Philosophy: Science Or Religion?". Gresham College. Retrieved 31 December 2011. 
  19. ^ "Metamorphoses: The Terrible Beauty of Change". Gresham College. Retrieved 31 December 2011. 
  20. ^ "Sustain!". Colf.org. Retrieved 31 December 2011. 
  21. ^ "Long Commerce: Transactions Across Time". Gresham College. Retrieved 31 December 2011. 
  22. ^ "The Currency Of Management: What Managing Money Teaches Us About Managing People". Retrieved 28 December 2013. 
  23. ^ "The Study Of Money May Be The Root Of Much Madness: The Fragile Foundations Underneath Economics". Retrieved 21 November 2015. 
  24. ^ "Blockchain believers seek to shake up financial services". Financial Times. Archived from the original on 21 March 2016. Retrieved 2017-04-22. 
  25. ^ Gunten, Chiara von. "London Accord". www.longfinance.net. 
  26. ^ "Welcome to Long Finance". London-accord.co.uk. Retrieved 31 December 2011. 
  27. ^ "Welcome to Long Finance". Longfinance.net. Retrieved 31 December 2011. 
  28. ^ "Individual | Photos | 2004 Awards | IT Industry Awards Archive | UK IT Industry Awards 2011 | Awards and Competitions | Products, Services and Events | BCS – The Chartered Institute for IT". BCS. Retrieved 31 December 2011. 
  29. ^ info@ukas.com. "Structure of UKAS". Ukas.com. Retrieved 31 December 2011. 
  30. ^ "Directors & Management - PCG Entertainment Plc". 
  31. ^ "Wishbone Gold Plc - Directors & Management". 
  32. ^ "Welcome - Mainelli.org". www.mainelli.org. 
  33. ^ "Visiting professor". LSE. 11 January 2011. Retrieved 31 December 2011. 
  34. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 25 September 2014. Retrieved 2014-08-17. 
  35. ^ "[ARCHIVED CONTENT] Report of Professional Services Global Competitiveness Group". HM Treasury. Retrieved 31 December 2011. 
  36. ^ "Welcome to Z/Yen". Zyen.com. Retrieved 31 December 2011. 
  37. ^ "Welcome to Z/Yen". Zyen.com. Retrieved 31 December 2011. 
  38. ^ http://www.zyen.com/knowledge/books.html?id=551
  39. ^ Harris, Ian; Mainelli, Michael (13 October 2011). "The Price of Fish: A New Approach to Wicked Economics and Better Decisions". Nicholas Brealey Publishing – via Amazon. 
  40. ^ "2012 Independent Publisher Book Awards Results". Independent Publisher - feature. 
  41. ^ Kopp, Martin. "Warnung vor Zerfall der Europäischen Union". 
  42. ^ Admin, TBLI. "TBLI CONFERENCE™". 
  43. ^ ASN Bank (18 November 2010). "Michael Mainelli". 
  44. ^ Admin, TBLI. "TBLI CONFERENCE™". 
  45. ^ "AEA Group web site:: Financing Innovation: Viewing the UK from a global perspective". Aeat.com. 8 February 2010. Retrieved 31 December 2011. 
  46. ^ Rochford, Stephanie. "In This Current Financial Environment, More Financial Regulation Is A Major Part Of The Solution". www.zyen.com. 
  47. ^ Now&ZYen. "The City Debate 2007". www.zyen.com. 
  48. ^ "Home". Lady Daphne. Retrieved 31 December 2011. 
  49. ^ "City Guides Lecture 4 April 2016" (PDF). 
  50. ^ Brona, Olwill. "Taoiseach, launching the IFS 2020,". www.taoiseach.gov.ie. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Michael Mainelli at Wikimedia Commons