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Peter Tufano was appointed Peter Moores Dean and Professor of Finance at Saïd Business School on 1 July 2011 and is a Professorial Fellow at Balliol College, University of Oxford. He is a prolific scholar and course developer, a seasoned administrator and manager, a social entrepreneur, and an advisor to business and government leaders.
The last decade of Peter’s research has focused primarily on consumer finance. He has been at the forefront of advancing this academic field and bringing ideas from research into practice by working directly with businesses and policymakers. His work is credited with influencing two US policy initiatives and a new class of American savings products. His other streams of research deal with risk management, financial engineering and mutual funds.
At Oxford, Peter has launched a variety of new programmes and initiatives, including the 1+1 MBA Programme and the Pre-Internship Programme (PIP). In 2000 he founded an innovative non-profit called the Doorways to Dreams Fund that works with partner organisations to test and promote innovations that serve the financial needs of low income households. The case study on the Doorways to Dreams Fund can be found here.
Prior to joining Oxford, Peter was a faculty member at the Harvard Business School for 22 years. During this time, Peter assumed a number of leadership roles, serving as department chair, course head, and Senior Associate Dean. He oversaw the school’s tenure and promotion processes, its campus planning, and he advised the University on financial and real estate matters. He was also the founding co-chair of the Harvard innovation lab (i-lab), a cross-university initiative to foster entrepreneurship.
Peter earned his AB in economics (summa cum laude), MBA (with high distinction) and PhD in Business Economics at Harvard University.
Peter is married with one daughter. His wife, Mary Jeanne Tufano, is an attorney, arbitrator and mediator.
Peter’s research focuses on three major topics: consumer finance; risk management and corporate financial engineering; and mutual funds.
During the past decade, Peter has worked to advance the academic field of consumer and household finance, an important but often overlooked field that blends finance with psychology, sociology, history and management. His work has directly influenced policy makers and businesses and led to two changes in US federal tax policy, new models for savings products and new approaches to financial education.
One of Peter’s main goals in his research is to help low and middle-income consumers by successfully encouraging policy makers to create better, more relevant financial regulations. Specifically, in a July 2011 Harvard Business Review article, co-written with three colleagues, Peter advised the head of the new US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau about financial policy.
“When consumer financial markets break, entire economies break. That is why this field is so critically important right now,” he says. “I picked this area of study because this part of the financial sector affects every single person. It is the point of contact between our large, complex financial system and each of us.”
Peter conducts research at three different levels within consumer finance:
1. Understanding Household Finances: This research aims to better understand how consumers and households make financial decisions, such as saving, investing, spending and borrowing. A 2011 Brookings Papers on Economic Activity publication co-written by Peter, titled “Financially Fragile Households,” specifically examines how many low- and middle-income households are unable to produce $2,000 when faced with a crisis.
2. Consumer Finance Businesses: This research focuses on financial businesses and products that cater to consumers. Peter has completed in-depth studies examining payday loan companies, retail banks, overdraft facilities, consumer payment systems and retirement products. Peter has looked at the value chain and competitive strategy of these businesses and financial products.
3. Political Economy: Peter is keenly interested in understanding the rules and policies that guide the consumer finance sector. He is the co-author of the paper, “A Brief Postwar History of US Consumer Finance,” which looks at how consumer finance has changed over the last few decades, specifically examining the rise of do-it-yourself financial products and the increase in risk bearing by households.
To support other researchers in this nascent field of consumer finance, Peter co-founded the National Bureau of Economic Research’s Household Finance working group.
Risk Management and Financial Engineering
Peter is a seasoned expert in the area of risk management and financial engineering. His research has been published in top academic journals and a variety of books. He also co-authored a casebook on corporate financial engineering. His paper on risk management practices in the gold mining industry shared the Smith-Breeden prize for the best paper published in the Journal of Finance.
In addition, he recently contributed to a World Economic Forum report on ways to improve the management of financial innovation and create a safer environment in which financial innovation will continue to flourish.
Peter's work in mutual funds, especially his cross-country research on mutual fund fees and the apparent lack of benefits of broker-sold funds, has led to lively debate amongst business people and regulators.
Peter's CV can be read here.
Peter believes that academics must have an impact on the outside world– they should play a role in informing business practices and public policy.
Since joining Saïd Business School in the summer of 2011, Peter has been very active in the UK and European business and policy communities.
He is on the advisory committee of the new UK Behavioural Insights Team which applies behavioural economic principles to help guide national public policy and regulations. He is part of a group advising the European Central Bank about consumer finance research.
Peter also travels extensively to make presentations about his research. He made a joint presentation about entrepreneurship to the UK House of Commons on 16th November 2011, he gave the closing presentation at the 2011 World Credit Union Conference in Glasgow, he talked about consumer protection at the CFS-EITF Conference on Household Finance in Rome and he hosted a seminar about consumer protection and promotion at the Financial Services Authority (FSA) both in October 2011.
In March 2012, Peter presented at the Finance Literary Seminar organised by The George Washington University School of Business and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. View the presentation and an interview with Peter here.
Before his arrival at Oxford, Peter worked with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the US Treasury, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, State government officials and a variety of businesses. He continues to be active with the FDIC, sitting on its Advisory Committee on Economic Inclusion.
Peter is also a social entrepreneur. In 2000, he founded, and now chairs, a nonprofit called the Doorways to Dreams Fund. This organisation works with partners to help low income households successfully manage their financial needs. For example, Peter’s D2D created various specialty videogames to promote financial literacy amongst American consumers. Five free financial literacy games are now available through the site. Their work on prize-linked saving, which blends savings with a “lottery” element, has led a number of states to permit this type of product, which is embodied in UK Premium Bonds. So far, Peter’s D2D has achieved two changes in federal policy and changes to state laws to benefit American consumers.
To support other researchers in the field of consumer finance, Peter co-founded the National Bureau of Economic Research’s Household Finance working group. He is also a trustee and member of the Executive Committee of the Global Association of Risk Professionals.
Peter is focused on ensuring his research reaches consumers and the wider global community. To that end, he is frequently profiled and cited in news articles.
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