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M-RCBG Senior Fellow-Led Study Group: Antonio Weiss

The Crisis in Puerto Rico
November 13, 4:00-5:30pm, M-RCBG Conference Room (B-503)

A discussion of the devastating impacts of the fiscal crisis and the hurricanes, as well as the policy response, with senior fellow Antonio Weiss, who served as point person at the US Treasury for Puerto Rico in the Obama Administration.


weiss_small.jpgAntonio Weiss served as Counselor to the Secretary at the United States Department of the Treasury, where he worked on domestic and international issues related to financial markets, regulatory reform, job creation, consumer finance, and broad-based economic growth. Since joining the Obama Administration, he served as the point-person on the debt crisis in Puerto Rico, working closely with members of Congress to pass legislation to allow an orderly restructuring of the Commonwealth’s debt. This has been called the most significant piece of economic legislation in 2016. Mr. Weiss led Treasury’s debt management team that oversees the Nation’s finances and initiated the most comprehensive review of the Treasury market in nearly two decades. Mr. Weiss advised the Secretary on the implementation of financial regulatory reform and policy issues related to financial stability, including the work of the Financial Stability Oversight Council’s review of potential threats to financial stability arising from asset management products and activities. Mr. Weiss coordinated the Department’s housing finance policy efforts and oversaw the Department’s housing programs aimed at assisting struggling homeowners, which received additional funding during his tenure at Treasury.  Mr. Weiss also led Treasury's review of developments in fintech, including the publication of a white paper on marketplace lending, which made several recommendations to enhance consumer and small business protections in this emerging sector. In recognition of his achievements at Treasury, Mr. Weiss was presented the Alexander Hamilton Award, which is the Department’s highest honor. Prior to joining Treasury, Mr. Weiss served in various leadership roles at Lazard in New York and Europe, including as Global Head of Investment Banking. He has advised many of the world’s leading corporations on their most significant strategic decisions.  From 2000 to 2009, Mr. Weiss was based in Paris, where he was Vice Chairman of European Investment Banking following the introduction of the single currency and during the financial crisis. Mr. Weiss is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.  He has participated in numerous public policy forums on topics ranging from financial regulation to housing finance reform, and co-authored a Center for American Progress report, which recommended a more progressive tax regime and a balanced approach to long-term debt reduction. He has been a Trustee of various non-profit organizations and was Publisher of the leading literary quarterly, The Paris Review. Mr. Weiss earned his bachelor’s degree from Yale College and M.B.A. degree from Harvard Business School, where he was a Baker Scholar and Loeb Fellow.  He is married with three sons. His faculty sponsor is Richard Zeckhauser, Frank Plumpton Ramsey Professor of Political Economy at Harvard Kennedy School. Email: antonio_weiss@hks.harvard.edu