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 UniversityQuestrom 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. 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. Since 2002, he has been on the faculty of Boston University as Executive-in-Residence/Master Lecturer.
Williams is a member of the Standard & Poor’s Academic Council, a senior advisor at the Brattle Group and is on the advisory board of Appleton Partners, a Boston-based private wealth management firm. 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. Since 2018, he has served on the Board of Trustees for Lesley University located in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
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. Error rates remained similar for the 2019 season. In October 2019, he launched Umpscores, an umpire performance evaluation app.
On January 29, 2014, he provided risk testimony before the New York State Department of Financial Services hearing on virtual currencies. 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. 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.
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. 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.
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. In 2014, Bitcoin prices dropped by over 70% to $344 but didn't reached $10. Other academics including Yale economist Robert Shiller also consider Bitcoin a speculative bubble. In November 2014, NYU professor David Yermack forecasted that in November 2015, Bitcoin could be all but worthless. 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.
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. Chinese Version Published McGraw Hill, 2014.
Williams, Mark T. & Lawson, Alan. Longwood Covered Courts: And the Rise of American Tennis. Boston: 2013.