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Capital Markets Thinkers


This section provides over 50 profiles of the most influential or controversial finance writers, thinkers, and entrepreneurs; those who shaped modern finance through their contributions to both theory and practice. These profiles offer insights into the background, defining moments, and legacies of each of the key characters including: Joseph de la Vega, Franco Modigliani, and Louis Bachelier, to Franco Modigliani, Paul Samuelson, and Myron Scholes.

  • Alan Greenspan
    The longest-serving chairman of the US Federal Reserve
    Alan Greenspan is an economist who dominated the financial world for nearly 20 years as Chairman of the Federal Reserve. He was a respected economic adviser, and long-running President of Townsend-Greenspan & Co, when he took over at the Federal Reserve in 1987, just before the stock market crisis of that year. He was reappointed at successive four-year intervals until retiring in 2006, after an unprecedented tenure as chairman. Following his...
  • Amos Tversky
    Pioneer of cognitive science
    Amos Tversky became a war hero at the tender age of 19. He was an officer in an elite paratrooper unit, which fought in three wars, when he earned Israel’s highest military decoration by saving the life of a fellow soldier. He went on to become one of the world’s most respected and influential psychologists, and a pioneer of cognitive science. He was a professor at Stanford, contributing to a number of interdisciplinary programs, and was a...
  • Daniel Kahneman
    Nobel laureate who helped develop prospect theory
    Daniel Kahneman is a psychologist and Nobel laureate, notable for his work on behavioral finance, and hedonic psychology. He spent his childhood years in Paris, before moving to Palestine after World War II. After obtaining his undergraduate degree in Jerusalem, he served in the psychology department of the Israeli Defense Forces. In 1958, he went to the US to study at the University of California, Berkeley. He was also a visiting scientist at...
  • Eugene Fama
    Author of the efficient markets hypothesis
    Eugene Fama was a tenured professor at the University of Chicago before he was 30, where he taught portfolio theory before modern finance became established. He has spent his career at the Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago, where he revolutionized thinking on the efficient markets hypothesis, and where he is now Chairman of its Center for Research in Security Prices. He is also Director of Research at Dimensional Fund Advisors,...
  • Fischer Black
    The high priest of modern finance
    Fischer Black was an economist who applied his analysis of Keynesian and monetarist theories to finance and investment, thereby helping to revolutionize the industry. He was originally an academic at the Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago, where he was Director of the Center for Research in Security Prices, and MIT, before moving to Wall Street and a position at Goldman Sachs. He made the transition at a decisive time, as...
  • Franco Modigliani
    Nobel Prize-winning macroeconomist
    Franco Modigliani was an Italian-American economist, and professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management. He emigrated to the United States a few days before the start of World War II. He was then awarded a fellowship by the Graduate Faculty of Political and Social Science of the New School for Social Research. While there, he studied under Jacob Marschak, who helped him develop solid foundations in economics and econometrics. He went on to...
  • Hyman Philip Minsky
    Maverick economist and financial market theorist
    Minsky was born into a family of Menshevik emigrants from Belarus. His mother was involved in the early trade union movement, while his father was active in the Jewish section of the Socialist party of Chicago. At Harvard University, he gained his doctorate, studying under Joseph Schumpeter and Wassily Leontief, while at the University of California, Berkeley, he developed his major theories about lending and economic activity, which he...
  • J. P. Morgan
    Legendary American banker
    J. P. Morgan was a renowned banker and businessman. He took an early interest in business, spending time checking receipts, and the expenditure of his allowance rather than playing games. After studying at the University of Göttingen in Germany, he was asked to become an assistant to one of the professors, but he preferred to start out in business, joining Duncan, Sherman, and Co, a firm with which his father had an association. He made money...
  • Jeremy Siegel
    Renowned finance academic, and writer
    Jeremy Siegel is professor of finance at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and provides analysis of the economy and financial markets in the press, on television networks, and at conferences, and international programs. He writes regular columns for Kiplinger’s Personal Finance and Yahoo! Finance, and is an advisor to Wisdom Tree Investments. He has also contributed articles to the Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, the Financial...
  • John C. Cox
    One of the vanguards of options modeling
    John Cox is an academic and leading theorist on the pricing of derivatives. He was at the forefront of the revolution in options modeling in the 1970s. He is the Nomura Professor of Finance at the Sloan School of Management at MIT, and has been a consultant for a number of securities firms. He has also served as an adviser to government agencies in several countries.
  • Joseph de la Vega
    Author of Confusion of Confusions, the oldest book on the stock exchange business
    Joseph de la Vega (also known as Joseph Penso) was a businessman, writer, and philanthropist who lived in 17th century Amsterdam in a community of Portuguese Jews whose ancestors had fled the Spanish Inquisition. He wrote his first play, Pardes Shoshannim, when only 18 and went on to become a respected merchant, and a Spanish poet. He became famous for his masterpiece, Confusion of Confusions, the oldest book ever written about stock exchanges....
  • Louis Bachelier
    The father of financial mathematics
    Louis Bachelier pioneered the study of financial mathematics well before it became central to financial practice. As a young man, he moved to Paris to study at the Sorbonne, where his doctoral thesis, The Theory of Speculation, helped originate the mathematics and modeling of finance, and the theory of Brownian motion. He was later offered a permanent professorship at the Sorbonne, with support from the Council of Paris University. However, he...
  • Marc Faber
    Contrarian investor and market predictor
    Marc Faber is an economic historian, investment analyst, entrepreneur, and writer. He went to school in Geneva and Zurich, and studied Economics at the University of Zurich. He went on to be a trader and managing director of Drexel Burnham Lambert when the firm was the junk-bond king of Wall Street. He later set up his own business to act as an investment adviser, and fund manager. He is board director of numerous companies, including Ivanhoe...
  • Merton Miller
    Nobel Prize-winning economist, and activist supporter of free-market solutions
    Merton Miller was a Professor of Economics, a financial innovator, economist, and renowned financial author. He worked during World War II as an economist in the Division of Tax Research of the US Treasury Department, and subsequently in the Division of Research and Statistics of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. He then received his doctorate, and was appointed Visiting Assistant Lecturer at the London School of Economics,...
  • Muhammad Yunus
    Banker to the poor
    Muhammad Yunus is a banker and economist, best known for his work in developing the concept of microcredit, and extending it to the poor in Bangladesh. After receiving his PhD and teaching in the US, he worked at the Bureau of Economics as a research assistant, and ran the Bangladesh Information Center during the Liberation War of Bangladesh. After the war, he returned to Bangladesh, was appointed to the government’s Planning Commission, and...
  • Myron Scholes
    Leading economist, and co-author of the Black–Scholes equation
    Myron Scholes is Emeritus Professor of Finance at Stanford, the chairman of Platinum Grove Asset Management, and serves on the boards of various organizations, such as the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, and Dimensional Fund Advisors. In 1973, he published a paper with Fischer Black that presented the Black–Scholes equation, an option-pricing model still widely used in today’s markets. In 1990, he joined Salomon Brothers as a managing director, and...
  • Peter L. Bernstein
    The foremost chronicler of risk
    Peter L. Bernstein is a prolific and award-winning author on finance and risk, and founder and president of Peter L. Bernstein Inc., an international consultancy for institutional investors and corporations. After serving as an intelligence officer in Europe during World War II, he became a member of the research staff at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. He then taught economics at Williams College and the New School for Social Research in...
  • Richard Thaler
    Influential thinker on behavioral finance
    Richard Thaler taught at Cornell University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of Management, and is now Professor of Behavioral Science, Economics and Finance at the Graduate School of Business, the University of Chicago, and Director of its Center for Decision Research. He regularly consulted with Barack Obama’s economic advisor for the 2008 presidential campaign. Thaler has also organized a series of behavioral finance...
  • Robert Merton
    Nobel Prize-winning economist and financial innovator
    Robert Merton is an internationally renowned economist, financial innovator, and recipient of the Noble Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his work on stock options. He is best known for his seminal work on the development of the Black–Scholes model, the intertemporal capital asset pricing model, Merton’s Portfolio Problem, and the Merton Model, and has been a key figure in the shaping of the global financial system. He was a founder of...
  • Stephen A. Ross
    Creator of the arbitrage pricing theory
    Stephen Ross is Professor of Financial Economics at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and Chairman of the Investment Advisory Board of IVC International Compensation Valuation Inc. He is also Principal and CIO of Ross Institutional Investors, LLC. After gaining a PhD in Economics from Harvard, he went on teach at the Wharton School and Yale School of Management, before joining MIT. He has founded several investment services firms, acted as a...
  • William F. Sharpe
    Nobel Prize-winning financial economist
    William Sharpe is professor of finance emeritus at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, a Nobel Prize-winning economist, and a key figure in the development of investment theory. He joined the Stanford faculty in 1970, having previously taught at the University of Washington and the University of California at Irvine. He has worked at the National Bureau of Economic Research, studying issues of bank capital adequacy, and has...

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