A New Website for the OFR

Today we are launching, a new website for the Office of Financial Research. Version 1.0 will, at a stroke, create our own place in cyberspace – one where we will make public our work.

Now is the right time for us to move onto our own site. We have matured and are making increasingly important contributions to the assessment and monitoring of threats to financial stability.

Having our own website offers several benefits. First, we will be easier to find online, thereby increasing the transparency of our work. Indeed, this stand-alone site honors a commitment I made in Congressional testimony twenty-one months ago – to create a stand-alone, easily accessible website to communicate information about our activities and progress. Second, I promised that our new site would be user friendly; we now have more flexibility to meet our needs and yours. For example, although in this version we mostly moved existing content to the new site, we improved the content’s organization to make our work more accessible. Third, the site will serve as a vehicle for our emerging research-and-data virtual community, which is a hallmark of our operating philosophy. Finally, this site clearly establishes our online identity. The look and feel relates uniquely to the OFR, our vision and our mission.

The OFR was established to provide independent data and analysis to the public, Congress, and the Financial Stability Oversight Council — the group of mostly federal financial regulators chaired by the Treasury Secretary and established to identify risks to financial stability and respond to emerging threats.

The value and credibility of the OFR’s analytic and empirical work hinges on it being objective and independent. We neither supervise any segment of the financial industry, nor make policy or take policy positions. That gives us an objective position for conducting independent financial research. Our own website with our own logo and our own style sends that message more strongly than words ever could.

There is new content here that I hope you will like. For example, we have new sections for my “Director’s Blog” (of which this is the inaugural issue) and for blogs by other members of our management team. We also have new bios for our senior managers and expanded information about our initiatives to fill gaps in financial data and improve data quality.

In going beyond accommodating the content from our previous website and modest content enhancements, the new website provides the foundation for more ambitious and consequential content in the future. Plans include interactive graphics and downloadable data that will be thought-provoking and useful for our broad spectrum of stakeholders, from academics and researchers, to members of Congressional staffs, the news media, and the public.

Meanwhile, more new content is coming soon. For example, in coming weeks, we will be unveiling a new OFR Brief Series — papers that will make our work accessible to a broader audience than our more technical OFR Working Paper Series does.

At the bottom of each page on the new website, there is a link to “Contact us.” Please use it to let us know how we are doing, how we can continue to improve the site, and how we might expand its scope to meet your needs.

Today marks a new chapter for the OFR on the Web. Our new website has arrived, but our online offerings are just starting to take off.

Richard Berner is Director of the Office of Financial Research