Mr. Glauber, an expert in corporate finance and investment banking, was selected by former senator Nicholas Brady (R-N.J.), a prominent Wall Street securities executive, to serve as executive director of a commission created to determine the cause of the Oct. 19, 1987, market breakdown, known as Black Monday, and to propose steps to prevent similar crashes from happening in the future.
The task force, chaired by Brady and popularly known as the Brady Commission, set up shop in Manhattan in late 1987, and was given just 60 days to investigate the stock market free fall — when the Dow Jones industrial average dropped a historic 508 points, or 22.6 percent, in a single day of trading — and to report its findings to help restore confidence in the stability of the markets.
Even though the stock market rebounded somewhat in the ensuing days, the swiftness of the sharp decline left many investors unnerved. Mr. Glauber brought with him a Harvard colleague, Professor David W. Mullins Jr., to serve as his deputy. Together, they oversaw a staff of 50 people who poured over financial data, reviewed transaction records and interviewed regulatory officials, investment bankers and money managers, some of whom Mr. Glauber had taught at Harvard.
“It was a super intense time,” said Barbara Glauber. “It was like a homicide investigation where the murderer was still on the loose.”
Mr. Glauber and Mullins co-wrote most of the report for what was officially named the Presidential Task Force on Market Mechanisms. The report cited “triggering” events — such as proposed tax legislation and a higher-than-expected trade deficit leading to higher interest rates — as setting the stage for the massive sell-off that unfolded on Black Monday.
The task force placed the blame for the crash on automated computer trading and investment programs of a few large institutional money management firms as well as selling pressure in the futures exchange and options markets.
The report recommended that the various financial markets be regulated as one system. But its most consequential proposal, which was later implemented by regulators, was the idea of “circuit breakers” to temporarily stop trading in an effort to calm the markets in the face of rampant sell-offs. Circuit breakers were utilized during precipitous drops in the stock market in October 1997 and March 2020.
In 1989, after Brady became President George H.W. Bush’s treasury secretary, he recruited Mr. Glauber to serve in a high-ranking Treasury role as undersecretary for domestic finance. Mullins joined Treasury, as well. Mr. Glauber and Mullins, who soon became known as the Brady Boys, tackled another financial crisis: the ill-considered lending that led to the collapse of the savings and loan industry.
Mr. Glauber played a key role in drafting the administration’s legislative proposal and took part in negotiations with Congress that led to the creation of the Resolution Trust Corp., an entity that helped partly recoup taxpayer losses by selling off the lenders’ assets.
Mr. Glauber was also at the center of Treasury’s 1991 investigation into fraudulent government securities bidding by Salomon Brothers, the storied bond-trading firm that at the time was one of the worlds most powerful investment banks. The auction scandal, which was also investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission, led to the conviction of Paul Mozer, head of Salomon’s government-bond department, in federal district court. He pleaded guilty to two counts of lying to investigators.
Salomon, which paid nearly $300 million in fines, never recovered from the scandal. It was acquired by Travelers Group in 1997, then went through a series of mergers before being rebranded as part of Citigroup.
By 1992, Mr. Glauber was back at Harvard as an adjunct lecturer in public policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government. He held top executive positions from 2000 to 2006 at what was then the National Association of Securities Dealers in New York but otherwise spent the remainder of his career at Harvard, where he was a visiting professor at Harvard Law School teaching a course on capital market regulations.
Robert Rudolf Glauber was born in Manhattan on March 22, 1939. His father ran a chain of hat stores, and his mother was a homemaker. He graduated from Harvard in 1961, joined the faculty soon afterward and received a Ph.D. from Harvard Business School in 1965.
His first marriage, to Caroline Herrick, ended in divorce. In addition to his wife of 42 years, of Brookline, survivors include two children from his second marriage, Alexander Glauber and Amelia Glauber, both of New York.
Mr. Glauber was a consultant to corporations and investment banks and was on the boards of the American Stock Exchange, the mortgage finance giant Freddie Mac and the bond-rating agency Moody’s. He also was a board member of the American Exchange Project, a student-exchange organization.
“My dad loved to pull apart complex problems,” said Amelia Glauber. “My brother and I would often laugh because in recent years when people asked my dad what he did, he would respond by saying he was a ‘schoolteacher.’ It would be easy to think this was false humility, but in fact he loved engaging with curious minds who wanted to understand complex concepts and sharing that with other people.”
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