Peter Tufano

Sylvan C. Coleman Professor of Financial Management, Retired

Peter Tufano is the Sylvan C. Coleman Professor of Financial Management at the Harvard Business School.  He previously served as the as the school's Senior Associate Dean for Planning and University Affairs, its Director of Faculty Development, and Head of the Finance Unit. His research and course development focus on mutual funds, corporate financial engineering, and consumer finance.

Tufano's mutual fund research covers a wide range of topics. He has studied the determinants of fund flows, fund governance, competition, fund distribution channels, fund regulations, fund accounting, the global fund industry, and money market funds. His work has been published in the Journal of Finance, the Journal of Financial Economics, and elsewhere.

Tufano's work on corporate financial engineering includes research and course development about security design, risk management, real options, and strategic uses of financial technology. He developed and taught a course on Corporate Financial Engineering and his work in this area has been published in the Harvard Business Review, various management and academic journals, and a Prentice-Hall book, Cases in Financial Engineering. His paper on risk management practices in the gold mining industry shared the Smith-Breeden prize for the best paper published in the Journal of Finance.

Tufano's third stream of work is in the field of consumer finance. Part of this research focuses on how to leverage financial innovations to serve the financial service needs of the poor. His work includes field experiments, course development, and statistical research. He is the coordinator of the HBS Executive Education program on Consumer Finance and in 2009 launched a joint MBA-JD course on Consumer Finance with Howell Jackson (HLS).  He founded Doorways to Dreams Fund, Inc., ( a nonprofit R&D lab that translates these ideas into practice in partnership with businesses and policymakers. Recently, Tufano's and D2D's research contributed to two changes in federal tax policy: splitting tax refunds to support low-income savings via IRS Form 8888, and enabling refund recipients to direct some of their refunds to purchase inflation-indexed savings bonds.

Tufano is a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research and co-chairs its working group on Household Finance.  He serves on several non-profit, research, university, and government advisory boards. He consults to firms, nonprofits and governments; is a mutual fund independent trustee; and teaches in various executive education programs. Before joining the HBS faculty in 1989, Tufano earned his Ph.D. in Business Economics from Harvard University; his MBA from HBS, with high distinction as a Baker Scholar; and his A.B. degree in economics, summa cum laude, from Harvard College.

Personal Webpage:

  1. Consumer Finance

    by Peter Tufano

    Tufano's work in the field of consumer finance attempts to understand this field from the perspectives of consumers, businesses, and regulators.  His work involves a combination of empirical research--often using new and novel business databases, as well as field experiments and cases studies.  Part of this work is conducted in conjunction with Doorways to Dreams (, a nonprofit that Tufano formed in 2000 which seeks to advance the financial needs of low income families through financial innovation.  Tufano's work uses a functional perspective to analyze the needs of the consumers, and then applies concepts from business, economics, psychology and sociology to understand the potential for better ways to deliver financial services, leveraging both sustainable for-profit activities and changes in public policy. 
  2. Mutual Fund Industry

    by Peter Tufano

    Peter Tufano studies the mutual fund industry from the perspectives of fund managers, regulators, and investors. His work looks at competitive strategies adopted by fund complexes, the determinants of fund flows, the governance structure of funds, the development of the fund industry around the world, the role of distribution in the mutual fund industry, and unintended NAV and return distortions due to fund accounting rules.  He is currently studying the money market mutual fund industry in the wake of the events of fall 2008.
  3. Corporate Financial Engineering

    by Peter Tufano

    Peter Tufano is employing both field work and large-scale statistical research in an effort to determine how corporations exploit modern capital markets to create value. Specifically, he studies how firms use derivatives, security design and financial engineering to raise funds, signal information, create employee incentives, execute mergers, support marketing and production programs, and manage risk. More recently, he has studied the value contribution of various finance functions, as viewed through a global survey of CFOs.