Paul is a co-founder and Chairman of Ricardo Research. He is involved in the management and consulting activities of the business, while retaining an active role in the research undertaken at the PW Centre.

Paul’s career has spanned the private sector, academia and policy-orientated institutions. Starting working life in stockbroking, latterly as a partner in his firm, he then went on to study Economics at the University of York (UK) receiving a BA and D Phil. He was Esmée Fairbairn Lecturer in Finance at York 1970-76, also serving as Specialist Advisor to the House of Lords Committee on the EEC 1975-76. He was at the International Monetary Fund in 1976-83, initially as an Economist and later as an Advisor and then head of the Division responsible for the Fund’s borrowing and investment activities.

Returning to the UK, Paul served four years on the board of merchant bank, Baring Brothers. In 1987 he co-founded and was Managing Director of GMO Woolley, the London affiliate of GMO, serving on the GMO board (1998-2003).

Paul returned to academic life in 2007, funding the Paul Woolley Centre for the Study of Capital Market Dysfunctionality at the LSE. He is a Senior Fellow at the LSE and a member of the Centre’s research team. He has co-authored a number of academic papers and books, and writes occasional policy op-eds.

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Innovation and shirking in financial markets

Innovation is usually viewed by economists as a productivity-enhancing force, powering economic growth in modern capitalist societies. This is just as true in the investment industry, where new products are assumed to help consumers meet their individual financial needs. This optimistic view ignores the damage that can be done by innovations, especially in the financial sector, where agency issues create the potential for negligence and rent extraction.

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Asset mispricing: the ignored externality

The externalities of greatest interest in contemporary discussion typically fall under the E, S and G headings. However, this leaves a critically important externality – that of asset mispricing – largely ignored. Asset owners should broaden their awareness of the externalities that arise from their investment approach.

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