Ricardo Research has been formed to apply the ideas developed by the Paul Woolley Centre for the Study of Capital Market Dysfunctionality to the world of institutional investing. Building on the body of theory emerging from the Centre, Ricardo Research aims to transform the way that investors think about financial markets, with the ultimate goal of fostering a more socially useful financial system.

The Paul Woolley Centre was founded at the London School of Economics in 2007 under the direction of Professor Dimitri Vayanos. Its objective is to produce and disseminate high-quality research focused on the workings of capital markets and the social efficiency of allocations achieved in these markets. The Centre is supported by a team of finance professors, faculty members and doctoral students.

Over the last decade, research undertaken at the Centre has led to the development of a set of theories which explain asset mispricing and its adverse consequences for the savings and investment process and the broader economy. The policy implications of these theories are profound and extensive, especially for the management of asset portfolios.

Ricardo Research will work closely with the Paul Woolley Centre to translate their research findings into practical advice. In the spirit of the 19th century economist and investor David Ricardo, we seek to apply bold new academic insights to the stark challenges confronting large institutional investors.

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Giant funds must curb short-termism

Many of the problems of present-day finance have their origins in the horizons set along the investment chain. The key players in this chain are the giant pension, sovereign wealth and endowment funds who appoint external asset managers, who in turn invest in companies. If these funds invest with their eyes set partially or largely on the short term, it sends a clear message down the line and embeds similar standards throughout the capitalist system.

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Markets as amplifiers of crises

The finance sector is widely recognised as an originator of periodic crises. What is less widely discussed is the unhelpful role that the finance sector can play in amplifying crises that emerge from entirely non-financial origins.

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