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Department of Land Economy

Environment, Law & Economics

About the Lecture

The financial system provides services critical to our welfare. Because of that it is capable of doing significant harm. It keeps our assets safe; facilitates payments and transactions; shares risk (making things like insurance and pensions possible); and critically, moves capital to where it is most needed. In all of these areas it should be creating value and helping growth, but in practice it is not: efficiency gains have been limited; costs high; and the system causes or exacerbates, not prevents crises. Each year we pay billions in fees to those who run this system, but those who run the system regularly put their short-term business interests first.

Delivered from the perspective a seasoned insider in finance, David Pitt-Watson will explore what a capitalist system vested with the interests of society looks like, and what is required to deliver it. He will explore a set of uncompromising and challenging but practical solutions, including: how we can change the theory and teaching of finance; how we can change the beliefs and practices of actors in the system; and how we can move from narrow company board membership to enfranchisement of all stakeholders.

About the Speaker

David Pitt-Watson is former head of funds and director of Hermes. There he founded Hermes Equity Ownership Service, a sustainable investment service advising on over £125bn of assets. He is also an executive fellow at the London Business School, chair of the UNEP finance initiative, treasurer of Oxfam and board member of NESTA, ICGN, and Oxford Analytica. More.

About the Lecture Series

Established in 1979, the Denman Lecture hosts leading academics from around the world, on topics across the built and natural environment, economics and planning. More


Tickets are available through the CULS webpage.

The event will be followed by a reception with drinks and canapés.


The Denman Lecture series is kindly supported by the Howard Group.

The Howard Group

Wednesday, 23 November, 2016 - 18:00 to 20:30
Contact name: 
Joseph Poore
Event location: 
The Bateman Auditorium, Gonville and Caius College