William Michael Cunningham is currently an Unaffiliated Member of the North American Regional At-Large Organization (NARALO) at ICANN. His participation with grass roots internet governance efforts dates back to 1994. He manages an impact investing advisory and research firm, Creative Investment Research (CIR). The firm creates impact, Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG), Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and socially responsible investments. Mr. Cunningham holds an MA in Economics and an MBA in Finance, both from the University of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois.
Mr. Cunningham is an adjunct member of the faculty at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. He is a strong advocate for the integration of human values in finance, and involves students in developing new ways to combine social values, economic analysis and investing.
He is the author of two books on crowdfunding – https://www.amazon.com/JOBS-
Mr. Cunningham’s understanding of information markets is based on firsthand knowledge obtained in a number of positions at a diverse set of major institutions. In 1977, he joined Data Resources, Inc., one of the first online information vendors. He served as Senior Investment Analyst for an insurance company. Mr. Cunningham was an Institutional Sales Representative in the Fixed Income and Futures and Options Group for a leading Wall Street firm. Mr. Cunningham also served as Director of Investor Relations for a New York Stock Exchange-traded firm. He has given SRI, ESG and CSR presentations at industry conferences in Finland, Switzerland, England, Germany and the United States. (See: http://www.creativeinvest.com/sri/HelsinkiNewsArt.pdf and http://www.creativeinvest.com/sri/EVBadBollPgm.pdf) His pesentation at the Texas Association of African American Chambers of Commerce resulted in successful crowdfunding legislation for the State of Texas. http://www.dallasweekly.com/business/article_02669560-45ca-11e5-85d2-e7192082a1d2.html
He launched one of the first investing websites on November 16, 1995 (See: http://www.creativeinvest.com/
For ten years, he served on the Finance Committee Board of the American Friends Service Committee (the Quakers).
Mr. Cunningham has long been concerned with the integrity of public and private sector markets. We note the following:
• On July 3, 1993, Mr. Cunningham wrote to Mary Schapiro, the former Chair of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), when she was a Commissioner to notify the Commission about a certain, specific investing “scam.” A timely warning was not issued to the investing public. That letter to the SEC described correspondence to Mr. Cunningham dated July 2, 1993 from an “officer” of the Nigerian Ministry of Finance and requested the SEC immediately warn the public. The SEC acknowledged receiving this warning in a letter to Mr. Cunningham dated October 29, 1993. Several American citizens were, in the interim, “taken” by these scam artists. At least one U.S. citizen was killed when they went to the country in an attempt to retrieve their funds. (In response to these and other complaints (see below), the SEC launched retaliatory regulatory actions against Mr. Cunningham.)
• Mr. Cunningham designed one of the first mortgage security backed by home mortgage loans to low and moderate income persons and originated by minority-owned institutions. (See: Security Backed Exclusively by Minority Loans, The American Banker. Friday, December 2, 1994. Online at http://www.minoritybank.com/
• On June 15, 2000, Mr. Cunningham testified before the House Financial Services Committee on H.R. 3703, the Housing Finance Regulatory Improvement Act. He testified on ways to improve the supervision and regulation of government sponsored enterprises, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, or GSE’s. He warned that ethical issues at both entities were at risk of significantly damaging the home mortgage marketplace. (See: https://www.creativeinvest.com/trackrecord.html)
• In 2001, he designed a mortgage refinancing and investing vehicle for victims of predatory lending that led to the creation of targeted community development investments. (See: http://www.socialfunds.com/
• On December 22, 2003, statistical models created by Mr. Cunningham and using the Fully Adjusted Return ® Methodology signaled the probability of system-wide economic and market failure. (See page 6: http://www.sec.gov/rules/
• On Monday, April 11, 2005, Mr. Cunningham testified before Judge William H. Pauley III in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on behalf of investors at a fairness hearing regarding the $1.4 billion dollar Global Research Analyst Settlement. No other American economist testified on behalf of the public.
• In 2005, Mr. Cunningham served as an expert witness for homeowners in a case against PMI Group, Credit Suisse First Boston, Moody’s, Standard and Poor’s, Fairbanks Capital Corporation, Select Portfolio Servicing, US Bank National Association, as Trustee of CSFB ABS Series 2002-HEI, et. al., in the New Jersey Superior Court Law Division – Monmouth County. His testimony sought to establish that the corporate parties listed above were in fact responsible for facilitating unfair and predatory lending practices.
• On December 22, 2005, Mr. Cunningham met with Ms. Elaine M. Hartmann of the Division of Market Regulation at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. At that meeting, he issued a strongly worded warning that system-wide economic and market failure was a growing possibility.
• On February 6, 2006, statistical models created by the firm using the Fully Adjusted Return ® Methodology confirmed that system-wide economic and market failure was a growing possibility. (See page 2: http://www.sec.gov/rules/
• On June 18, 2009, he testified before the House Ways and Means Select Revenue Measures Subcommittee at a joint hearing with the Subcommittee on Domestic Monetary Policy and Technology of the Financial Services Committee: Testimony on the New Markets Tax Credit Program. (See: https://financialservices.house.gov/media/file/hearings/111/printed%20hearings/111-47.pdf)
• On July 25, 2012, the New York Times reported that Sanford I Weill, former chairman and chief executive of defendant Citigroup “called for a wall between a bank’s deposit-taking operations and its risky trading businesses. In other words, he would like to resurrect the regulation (Glass-Stegall) that he once fought.” In September, 1998, Mr. Cunningham opposed the application, approved by the Federal Reserve Board on September 23, 1998, by Travelers Group Inc., New York, New York, to become a bank holding company. In October 1998, in a petition to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (Case Number 98-1459) concerning the Travelers Group Inc./Citicorp merger, Mr. Cunningham cited evidence that growing financial market malfeasance greatly exacerbated risks in financial markets, reducing the safety and soundness of large financial institutions. He went on to note that:
“The nature of financial market activities is such that significant dislocations can and do occur quickly, with great force. These dislocations strike across institutional lines. That is, they affect both banks and securities firms. The financial institution regulatory structure is not in place to effectively evaluate these risks, however. Given this, public safety is at risk.”
• On January 25, 2012, Mr. Cunningham submitted, and the Court accepted, a “Friend of the Court” brief to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (Case 11-5227). The case concerned the rejection, by a Federal Judge, of a settlement agreed to by the United States Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) and Citigroup Global Markets Inc. (Citigroup), the latter accused of securities fraud.
• On December 9, 2013, William Michael Cunningham filed, and the Court accepted, a “Friend of the Court” brief in the United States District Court, Central District of California.The Court recognized Mr. Cunningham as a value adding party in a case concerning an action that the U.S. Department of Justice, acting on behalf of the United States of America (Plaintiff), brought against McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., and Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC, et. al., (Defendants). As a friend of the Court, Mr. Cunningham provided independent, objective and unbiased views in support of broad public interests.
On June 17, 2015, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit recognized William Michael Cunningham as adding value in an action (15-1149) that State securities regulators in Montana and Massachusetts brought against the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
• On August 13, 2015, Mr. Cunningham provided testimony on. the Department of Labor’s Fiduciary Rule. Online at https://youtu.be/kOGS-DdLYe0
• His June 11, 2016 forecast predicted the election of Donald J. Trump: Why Trump Will Win. https://www.linkedin.com/
Mr. Cunningham provides an independent, objective and unbiased view in support of broad public interests. His education and experience have uniquely positioned him to provide objective, independent research and opinions concerning issues central to ICANN.
Mr. Cunningham’s interest in the ICANN Board stems from his role as an economist and citizen of the United States. He has no personal, financial or organizational conflicts of interest and has no connection with any private, nonprofit or governmental entity that stands to gain in any way from ICANN policies or practices.
His sole interest is the public interest.