Other People's Money: The Real Business of Finance

Other People's Money: The Real Business of Finance

by John Kay

Paperback(First Trade Paper Edition)

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A Financial Times Book of the Year, 2015
An Economist Best Book of the Year, 2015
A Bloomberg Best Book of the Year, 2015
The finance sector of Western economies is too large and attracts too many of the smartest college graduates. Financialization over the past three decades has created a structure that lacks resilience and supports absurd volumes of trading. The finance sector devotes too little attention to the search for new investment opportunities and the stewardship of existing ones, and far too much to secondary-market dealing in existing assets. Regulation has contributed more to the problems than the solutions.
Why? What is finance for? John Kay, with wide practical and academic experience in the world of finance, understands the operation of the financial sector better than most. He believes in good banks and effective asset managers, but good banks and effective asset managers are not what he sees.
In a dazzling and revelatory tour of the financial world as it has emerged from the wreckage of the 2008 crisis, Kay does not flinch in his criticism: we do need some of the things that Citigroup and Goldman Sachs do, but we do not need Citigroup and Goldman to do them. And many of the things done by Citigroup and Goldman do not need to be done at all. The finance sector needs to be reminded of its primary purpose: to manage other people's money for the benefit of businesses and households. It is an aberration when the some of the finest mathematical and scientific minds are tasked with devising algorithms for the sole purpose of exploiting the weakness of other algorithms for computerized trading in securities. To travel further down that road leads to ruin.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781610397155
Publisher: PublicAffairs
Publication date: 09/27/2016
Edition description: First Trade Paper Edition
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 356,320
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

John Kay, is a visiting professor of economics at the London School of Economics and a fellow of St John s College, Oxford University. He is a director of several public companies and contributes a weekly column to the Financial Times. Kay is the author of nine previously published books and coauthor of The British Tax System with Mervyn King. John Kay lives in London. Follow him at @JohnKayFT and johnkay.com."

Table of Contents

Prologue The Parable of the Ox xi

Introduction: Far Too Much of a Good Thing 1

Part I Financialisation

Chapter 1 History 11

The Road to Pottersville 11

The Rise of the Trader 16

New Markets, New Businesses 23

From Crisis to Crisis 34

The Robber Barons 42

We Are the 1 Per Cent 46

Chapter 2 Risk 53

Cows, Coffee and Credit Default Swaps 53

Chasing the Dream 61

Adverse Selection and Moral Hazard 69

Chapter 3 Intermediation 77

The Role of the Middleman 77

Liquidity 84

Diversification 91

Leverage 95

Chapter 4 Profits 101

Smarter People 101

Competition 106

The Edge 108

Regulatory Arbitrage 113

I'll Be Gone, You'll Be Gone 118

How Profitable Is the Finance Sector? 126

Part II The Functions of Finance

Chapter 5 Capital Allocation 135

Physical Assets 135

Housing 140

Property and Infrastructure 145

Large Companies 150

Financing Small- and Medium-Size Enterprises 154

Chapter 6 The Deposit Channel 163

Household Wealth 163

The Payment System 170

The Activities of the Deposit Channel 177

Chapter 7 The Investment Channel 185

Managing Wealth 185

A Bias to Action 193

The Role of the Asset Manager 197

Part III Policy

Chapter 8 Regulation 205

The Origins of Financial Regulation 205

The Basel Agreements 208

Securities Regulation 213

The Regulation Industry 216

What Went Wrong 220

Chapter 9 Economic Policy 227

Maestro 227

Financial Markets and Economic Policy 234

Pensions and Inter-Generational Equity 238

Consumer Protection 245

The Economic Contribution of Finance 247

Chapter 10 Reform 255

Principles of Reform 255

Robust Systems and Complex Structures 261

Other People's Money 267

The Reform of Structure 270

Personal Responsibility 276

Chapter 11 The Future of Finance 281

Epilogue: The Emperor's Guard's New Clothes 293

Acknowledgements 295

Notes 297

Bibliography 311

Index 321

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