What Is The Purpose Of The Finance Industry?

That seems a pretty simple question, and also a very fundamental one. But the answer to it is not one upon which practitioners, regulators, policy makers, and more particularly the customers of the industry agree. It is not the perspective from which finance is typically taught at our business schools. We all understand an effective finance industry is vital to our prosperity. Yet the former top industry regulator concluded that much of what takes place within the industry is ’not socially useful’. When asked to find one word to describe developments in the finance industry, citizens described it as ‘corrupt’. How can such an important and successful industry be held in such disregard?

Based on his award winning course at Cambridge University, David Pitt-Watson will discuss the evidence on the purpose of our industry, and how well that purpose is fulfilled by our current institutions. He will also reflect on whether current developments in the industry are likely to lead to improvement.


David Pitt-Watson is an investor, and a leading thinker in the world of finance. Co-founder and head of the responsible investing activity at Federated Hermes, he has chaired the UN Environment Finance Initiative. He has sat on the board of organisations as varied as KPMG, Oxfam, NESTA and Oxford Analytica. He has been a visiting professor at Cranfield and Cambridge Universities where he now a visiting fellow. His books, published by Harvard and Yale Universities have been translated into five languages.

Monday, 28 November 2022

11:00 - 11:45 GMT


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  • David Pitt-Watson
    David Pitt-Watson
    Responsible Investing Co-founder
    Federated Hermes
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    Charlotte Dawber‑Ashley
    Manager, FS Club
    Z/Yen Group