Richard H. Medley, noted consultant on financial matters, dies
By Emily Langer,
Richard H. Medley, a former Capitol Hill aide and adviser to financier George Soros who co-founded an elite economic magazine that sought to explain world markets in layman’s terms, died Nov. 16 at a hospital in New York City. He was 60.
His wife, Dorinda Medley, confirmed his death but declined to disclose the cause.
Dr. Medley, who trained as a political scientist, worked at various points in his career in Congress, at New York hedge funds and with high-powered consulting firms. In 1984, he was a speechwriter for Democratic vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro.
That eclectic background — not strict schooling in economics — made him a sought-after voice in financial circles.
If formulas unlocked the secrets of currency and bond markets, said financial strategist David Smick, “then every university economist would be a billionaire.” What Dr. Medley offered, Smick said, was an instinct for the “intangible.”
Smick met Dr. Medley in Washington in the early 1980s, when Smick was chief of staff for a Republican congressman, Jack Kemp of New York, and Dr. Medley worked for the Democratic Senate leadership and advised the House banking committee.
Dr. Medley caught Smick’s attention one day because he appeared to be the only non-tourist in the Capitol wearing boat shoes with no socks. The two men soon struck up a friendship and a consulting business.
Together they organized two international summits in the mid-1980s on exchange rates and the dollar. At the time, Smick explained, the dollar had soared in strength and the “drums of a trade war” were beating on Capitol Hill.
The attendees of those conferences helped establish Dr. Medley and Smick in the financial community. Through their consulting business, Smick-Medley & Associates, they put out newsletters described by the New York Times in 1987 as “written in a confiding, almost breathless tone suggesting that the information has come right off the memo pads at the Treasury, the Bundesbank or the Japanese Finance Ministry.”
In 1987, the two men unveiled with much fanfare their new publication, the International Economy magazine, edited by former Wall Street Journal reporter Art Pine. According to the Times, the founders aspired for the publication to be a cross between Fortune magazine and the New Yorker.
Today, the International Economy has about 10,000 subscribers, according to Smick, who remains the magazine’s editor and publisher.
Dr. Medley left the publication in about 1990 to work for Soros Fund Management in New York. He used his experience as the firm’s chief political adviser to open a consulting business, Medley Global Advisors, in 1997.
“Trading at a hedge fund gave me a sense of what the markets need to know,” he told the publication Latin Finance.
Medley Global Advisors was headquartered in New York and had offices in Washington, London and Asia. It provided financial and political analysis to high-end investors. The topics the firm addressed included the war in Iraq and the spread of the SARS virus, the New York Times once reported.
Dr. Medley sold the company in 2005 to private investors. It is now owned by the Financial Times Group.
At the time of his death, Dr. Medley was chief executive of RHM Global, a political and economic intelligence firm he founded.
Richard Howard Medley Jr. was born Oct. 3, 1951, in Rochester, N.Y. He served in the Air Force from 1970 to 1973. He received a bachelor’s degree in political science from Ohio State University in 1975 and a doctorate in political science from Yale University in 1979.
His first marriage, to Maureen Murray, ended in divorce.
Survivors include his wife of six years, Dorinda Lynch Medley of New York City; two children from his first marriage, Paige Medley and Aidan Medley, both of Goshen, Conn.; a stepdaughter, Hannah Lynch of New York City; and a brother.