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U.S. Treasury's Berner & Morgan Stanley’s Greenlaw win Lawrence R. Klein Award

W. P. Carey School of Business
September 25, 2012

They correctly predicted one of the most volatile times in the history of the U.S. economy. For their incredible accuracy, a counselor to the Secretary of the U.S. Treasury and Morgan Stanley’s chief U.S. economist are about to receive a high honor.

Richard Berner and David Greenlaw will accept the prestigious Lawrence R. Klein Award for economic-forecasting accuracy in New York on Oct. 18. Greenlaw also will provide his highly regarded 2013 forecast.

“I am deeply honored to receive the Lawrence R. Klein Award for forecasting accuracy with my good friend and former colleague, Dave Greenlaw,” Berner said. “This award has special significance for me because Lawrence Klein was my mentor and dissertation advisor.”

“I am honored to receive this award and am especially gratified to share it with my former colleague Richard Berner,” said Greenlaw. “The market uncertainty of the past few years has presented forecasting challenges for our economics team, and our hope is Morgan Stanley’s clients have benefitted from these calls.”

ASU's W. P. Carey School of Business sponsors and judges the Lawrence R. Klein Award, regarded as one of the best-known and longest-standing awards in the economics profession. The annual award, named for Nobel Prize winner Lawrence R. Klein, goes to the individual or team with the most accurate economic forecast among the Blue Chip Economic Indicators survey participants for a multi-year period. The Blue Chip newsletter, edited by Randell Moore, has been published for more than 30 years and is regarded as the “gold standard” of business forecasts.

Berner and Greenlaw worked as a team at Morgan Stanley to earn the award for their 2008 to 2011 predictions. They beat out about 50 of the nation’s other top economic forecasters.

“The biggest challenge of the forecasts from 2008 to 2011 was to project the depth of the country’s economic contraction and then anticipate how the recovery would unfold,” explained research professor Lee McPheters of the W. P. Carey School of Business. “Berner and Greenlaw saw the downturn would be deeper than most analysts thought, and that set their forecast apart. They also had very small forecast errors on the unemployment rate, correctly expecting it to stay high into 2011.”

Henry Kaufman, president of Henry Kaufman & Company, who is well-known for his 20-plus years of work at Salomon Brothers, is scheduled to present the award to Berner and Greenlaw at a special event at the University Club in New York on Thursday, Oct. 18. The event starts at 6 p.m.

Berner is currently counselor to U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and is helping the Treasury Department to build the Office of Financial Research (OFR), which was created in 2010 to collect and standardize financial data, perform essential research and develop new tools to measure and monitor risk to the financial system. In December, Berner was nominated by the President to serve as the OFR’s director; that nomination is pending before the U.S. Senate.

Before he joined the Treasury, Berner was managing director, co-head of global economics and chief U.S. economist at Morgan Stanley, where he worked for 12 years. He has also been a top economist at Mellon Bank, Salomon Brothers and Morgan Guaranty Trust Company. He served for seven years on the research staff at the Federal Reserve Board in Washington and was also a member of the Economic Advisory Panel of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the Panel of Economic Advisers of the Congressional Budget Office, and the Executive Committee of the board of directors of the National Bureau of Economic Research, among other impressive achievements.

Greenlaw is managing director and chief U.S. fixed income economist with Morgan Stanley. Before joining the firm, he served on the staff of the Federal Reserve Board in Washington for four years. He currently serves on the boards of several well-known economic organizations, including the Money Marketeers and the U.S. Monetary Policy Forum. Greenlaw was named Best Fed Forecaster in a Bloomberg Markets magazine survey and was the first back-to-back winner of the Dow Jones MarketWatch Forecaster of the Month award. He and Berner also have received forecasting-accuracy awards from the National Association for Business Economics and The Wall Street Journal, among others.

Greenlaw’s forecast for 2013 includes these predictions:

• The U.S. economy faces two key challenges in the year ahead – the fiscal cliff and potential spillover of the European debt crisis.

• Economic growth is expected to remain quite sluggish in 2013.

• The unemployment rate should continue to linger at a high level over the course of the next year.

• Inflation is likely to remain subdued.

• The housing market is one of the few identifiable bright spots. House prices, sales activity and new homebuilding should all move higher in the year ahead.

Among the VIPs scheduled to attend the awards event this year are Randell E. Moore, executive editor of the Blue Chip Economic Indicators; Robert Mittelstaedt, dean of the W. P. Carey School of Business; and Trevor Bond, president and chief executive officer of W. P. Carey & Co. LLC.