The great Greg Newton

By Felix Salmon
April 7, 2009

In the wake of the global financial and economic meltdown, I wrote a big article for Wired magazine about how it was largely enabled by something called the Gaussian Copula Function. But the whole article was written, naturally, with hindsight. Who saw it coming? Greg Newton, for one, who blogged the Gaussian copula back in September 2005, and concluded:

Fast-growing, leveraged, interest-rate sensitive and largely untested derivatives have been conspicuously present at the center of numerous potentially-systemic train wrecks. Tick, tick, tick…

Greg Newton was also the publisher of the famous MAR/Hedge report on Bernie Madoff in 2001 — another case of being presciently early to a huge story. And his blog, Naked Shorts, was one of the very first must-read econoblogs, bringing perspicacity and great good humor to the normally-bone-dry world of finance.

Tragically, Greg died on April 1, just as he was about to start a new life in Florida; the closest thing to a memorial board is this blog entry at Seeking Alpha, where Greg was a contributor.

As Paul Murphy says, Greg single-handedly disproved the notion that bloggers couldn’t be aggressive reporters. He was an irreplaceable role model to us all; the econoblogosphere has lost a true pioneer.

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