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A model of imperfection

Mainstream finance theory offers an idealised view of how financial markets work and, as a result, fails to provide practitioners with a useful basis for decision-making. By studying the effects of delegation from asset owners to asset managers, we develop a more realistic and useful understanding of financial markets and point towards actions that would improve outcomes for savers and wider society.

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Stabilising and destabilising strategies

The social utility of an ever-expanding asset management industry is rarely discussed. In this note we distinguish between different strategy types on the basis of their impact on market stability. We argue that destabilising strategies impose a largely unrecognised negative externality on society.

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Innovation and shirking in financial markets

Innovation is usually viewed by economists as a productivity-enhancing force, powering economic growth in modern capitalist societies. This is just as true in the investment industry, where new products are assumed to help consumers meet their individual financial needs. This optimistic view ignores the damage that can be done by innovations, especially in the financial sector, where agency issues create the potential for negligence and rent extraction.

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Paul Woolley Centre for the Study of Capital Market Dysfunctionality

The PW Centre produces and disseminates high-quality research focused on the workings of capital markets and the social efficiency of allocations achieved in these markets.

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of our latest blogs

Misdiagnosing the crisis of capitalism

Much of the commentary on the crisis of capitalism ignores the role of institutional investors in creating the conditions in which corporate short-termism can thrive. We argue that a greater focus on long-run value creation in the capital markets – instigated by long-horizon asset owners – could help restore trust in the financial system and deliver meaningful benefits to society.

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Looking less at the scoreboard

Traditional performance monitoring reports do more harm than good. They encourage an excessive focus on performance data and contribute to procyclicality in decision-making by asset owners and managers. Minor tweaks to the existing approach are unlikely to achieve very much. Instead, a more fundamental re-think is required.

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