Financial and economic outlook 2021

The coronavirus pandemic’s ultimate impact remains unclear. What is the financial and economic outlook for 2021? BU expert alumni weigh in.

Boston University Professor of Economics, Laurence Kotlikoff, moderated a discussion with Darrell L. Cronk, CFA (METᴳ’06), President of Wells Fargo Investment Institute and Chief Investment Officer for Wealth and Investment Management, Wells Fargo & Company and Michelle Meyer (CAS’04, GRS’04), Head of US Economics, Bank of America Global Research. Hear what they had to say regarding the following questions, and more:

  • Will the disconnect between the stock market and the economy continue?
  • What impact will the second wave of COVID-19 and subsequent shutdowns have?
  • What share of US companies are zombies?
  • Will there be more permanently displaced workers?
  • How long will recovery take?
  • Can the Fed print money endlessly to save the day?
  • Is deflation, followed by hyperinflation on the menu?
  • How will the change in White House administration affect the course of events?

About the speakers:

Darrell L. Cronk, CFA (METᴳ06)
President of Wells Fargo Investment Institute
Chief Investment Officer for Wealth and Investment Management
Wells Fargo & Company

Darrell L. Cronk is the president of Wells Fargo Investment Institute, a subsidiary of Wells Fargo Bank N.A., which is focused on delivering the highest quality investment expertise and advice to help investors manage risk and succeed financially. Mr. Cronk leads global investment strategy and research including equity, fixed income, real assets, and alternative investments. He also serves as chief investment officer for Wealth and Investment Management, a division of Wells Fargo & Company comprised of Wells Fargo Advisors, Wells Fargo Asset Management, Wealth Client Solutions and Private Wealth Management businesses.

Mr. Cronk is frequently featured in the media including The Wall Street Journal, TheStreet, Dow Jones MarketWatch, Barron’s, the Associated Press, Reuters, Yahoo Finance, Bloomberg Television, CNBC, and Fox Business Network. He has authored numerous investment-related articles and regularly speaks at investment-industry conferences.

With more than 25 years of experience in financial services, Mr. Cronk most recently served as deputy chief investment officer for Wells Fargo Private Bank. He has held a variety of positions at Wells Fargo, including regional chief investment officer, senior director of investments, regional investment manager, senior investment manager, equity analyst, and senior financial consultant. He began his career as a senior credit analyst for Norwest Bank, a Wells Fargo predecessor.

Mr. Cronk earned a Bachelor of Science in Finance from Iowa State University, a Master in Finance from Boston University, and is a CFA® charterholder. He is based in New York City.

Michelle Meyer (CAS’04, GRS’04)
Head of U.S. Economics, Managing Director
Bank of America Global Research

Michelle Meyer is a managing director and Head of U.S. Economics at BofA Global Research. Based in New York, she provides timely analysis of economic data and Federal Reserve policy announcements to the sales force and traders. She is responsible for providing the firm’s U.S. economic forecasts, including the outlook for GDP, inflation and Federal Reserve policy. Meyer’s broad research interest include macroeconomics, public policy and the housing market.

Prior to joining BofA Securities in May 2010, Meyer was a senior U.S. economist at Barclays Capital, and she started her career on the U.S. economics team at Lehman Brothers. While at Lehman Brothers, she developed a strong following for her housing outlook, warning about the risks of excess in the housing market. Then in 2012, she called the turn higher in home prices.

Meyer earned a bachelor’s degree (magna cum laude) and a master’s degree, both in economics, at Boston University. Meyer and team have ranked among the top three economics teams by the Institutional Investor All America Fixed-Income Research Survey for the last three years. She was named by Forbes Magazine as one of 30 under 30 in finance in 2011 and a Rising Star by the Women’s Forum for Economy and Society in 2012.

Meyer is co-chair of BofA’s Women’s Leadership Council and a member of the Economics Club of New York. She is a frequent commentator on news media outlets, including CNBC and Bloomberg TV, and is often cited in print and online media. (For more information about any awards cited, visit

Laurence Kotlikoff
William Fairfield Warren Professor
Professor of Economics, Boston University

Laurence J. Kotlikoff is a William Fairfield Warren Professor at Boston University, a professor of economics at Boston University, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a fellow of the Econometric Society, a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, president of Economic Security Planning, Inc., a company specializing in financial planning software, and the director of the Fiscal Analysis Center.

Kotlikoff is also a New York Times best-selling author. His columns, articles, and books cover personal finance, generational policy, climate policy, inequality, tax reform, Social Security, banking, robotization, growth, and much more.

Kotlikoff received his B.A. in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania in 1973 and his Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard University in 1977. From 1977 through 1983 he served on the faculties of economics of the University of California, Los Angeles and Yale University.

More on Laurence Kotlikoff:
Boston University Profile