Economics advisory panel

This page provides background on the economic advisory panel.

The panel provides external expertise in order to help us develop and test our thinking on issues of economic regulatory policy and practice.

The panel is made up of four experts with a wide range of experience:

Julian Franks

Julian Franks is a Professor of Finance and Academic Director of the Centre of Corporate Governance at the London Business School. Julian is widely published, in which his research focuses on bankruptcy and financial distress, corporate ownership and control, cost of capital and regulation. His work on ownership and control (with Colin Mayer and Stefano Rossi) has won two international prizes. Two of his published papers have been awarded prizes for the 'best paper' of the year.

He is Associate Editor of five finance journals, a member of various advisory boards and consults widely. He served as a member of the DTI-Treasury committee for reviewing the UK's insolvency code and was a member of one of The Company Law Review's committees on corporate governance. He is an advisor to Ofcom and other UK regulatory authorities. He has been an expert witness for the UK government at The World Court at The Hague on an inter-governmental dispute on the matter of landing rights at Heathrow and more recently for Ofcom in various appeals to the Competition Appeals Tribunal. He advised (with Professor Brealey) The Office of Constitutional Affairs on the issue of outside equity for law firms and provided advice to a Treasury committee chaired by Paul Myners on a review of the governance of mutuals. He was a member of a government taskforce investigating new avenues of finance for small to medium sized companies.

He is a non-executive director of OXERA and is on the international advisory boards of Stern Stewart. He has been a Visiting Professor at the University of California at both Berkeley and Los Angeles.

Simon Less

Simon Less is senior visiting fellow on regulatory policy at Policy Exchange, an independent think tank; and a director of Lucerna Partners, a regulation and public policy consultancy.

Simon was the first director of market reform at Ofwat, leading a review that established the shape of market reform in the government's 2013 Water Bill and establishing Ofwat's market reform function. He was research director for energy and environment policy at Policy Exchange, publishing a series of widely cited research reports. Simon also headed up the competition and economic regulation team in HM Treasury, and prior to that held other senior civil service positions in HM Treasury and the Ministry of Justice, including leading a fundamental review of legal aid.

Simon is a senior research associate at the Regulatory Policy Institute; and he was a member of Ofwat's Future Regulation Advisory Panel.

Michael Pollitt

Michael Pollitt is a University Reader in Business Economics and Director of Programmes at the Judge Business School, University of Cambridge. He is an Assistant Director of the ESRC Electricity Policy Research Group (EPRG). Michael is a Fellow and Director of Studies in Economics and Management at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge.

From 2001-2005 Michael was co-leader of the Cambridge-MIT Electricity Project and served as founding Executive Director of the EPRG in 2005 and 2006. Michael is an economist with particular interests in the efficiency and regulation of network utilities. He has published 9 books and over 50 refereed journal articles on efficiency analysis, energy policy and business ethics.

He is the first coach of the Energy and Environment concentration on the Judge's MBA.
Michael was external economic advisor to Ofgem between 2007 and 2011, where he worked on the RPI-X@20 review of network regulation project, Project Discovery, the fifth Distribution Price Control Review and the Transmission Access Review, among other projects. Michael is currently an energy advisor to Which? He has also advised national energy regulators in The Netherlands, France, Germany and Austria as well as the UK Competition Commission and the UK rail regulator.

Michael has been a member of the Expert Panel on Input Methodologies for the New Zealand Commerce Commission examining network regulation for electricity, gas and airports, and is a member of the Future Challenges panel of the UK water regulator.

Jon Stern

Jon Stern is a Senior Visiting Fellow and a founder member of the Centre for Competition and Regulatory Policy (CCRP) in the Department of Economics at City University, London, where he was also Research Director. He is also a Senior Advisor at CEPA (Cambridge Economic Policy Associates) and an Associate Researcher at EPRG, Cambridge. Previously, Jon Stern was Associate Director of the Regulation Initiative at the London Business School.

Jon has worked extensively as an economic consultant and before that he spent over 15 years as an economist in the UK Government Economic Service. He is a co-author of the Handbook for Evaluating Infrastructure Regulatory Systems (World Bank, 2006) and has also published a sizeable number of papers on infrastructure industries and their regulation in both developed and developing countries. He is currently a member of academic panels convened by Ofgem and Ofwat.

Jon is a general public policy economist. His specialist areas include:

  • The economics of infrastructure industries, including energy and water
  • Economic regulation and regulatory governance issues
  • Economic evaluation studies and methods