A call to reboot capitalism and preserve $85 trillion in retirement savings for their owners—not for use as the financial industry’s ATM Each year we pay billions in fees to those who run our financial system. The money comes from our bank accounts, our pensions, our borrowing, and often we aren’t told that the money has been taken. These billions may be justified if the finance industry does a good job, but as this book shows, it too often fails us. Financial institutions regularly place their business interests first, charging for advice that does nothing to improve performance, employing short-term buying strategies that are corrosive to building long-term value, and sometimes even concealing both their practices and their investment strategies from investors. In their previous prizewinning book, The New Capitalists, the authors demonstrated how ordinary people are working together to demand accountability from even the most powerful corporations. Here they explain how a tyranny of errant expertise, naive regulation, and a misreading of economics combine to impose a huge stealth tax on our savings and our economies. More important, the trio lay out an agenda for curtailing the misalignments that allow the financial industry to profit at our expense. With our financial future at stake, this is a book that analysts, economists, policy makers, and anyone with a retirement nest egg can’t afford to ignore.
Stephen Davis is a senior fellow at Harvard Law School’s program on corporate governance. Jon Lukomnik is executive director of the Investor Responsibility Research Center. David Pitt-Watson is the former head of the Hermes shareholder activist funds in Europe and an executive fellow of finance at the London Business School.