The flaws of finance

BUSINESS school graduates do not all want to work in investment banking these days. The industry does not have the same kind of cachet it did before Lehman Brothers went bust. Still, 31% of those who left Harvard Business School last year went into financial services. That made it easily the most popular sector, as it has been in each of the previous four years. It is hardly surprising. In London, for example, the average pay for a finance worker is around £72,000, twice the level earned by other workers in the British capital.

Is this high pay justified? The finance sector has four key functions. The first is to operate the payments system, without which the economy could not function. The second is to channel money from savers to those who need capital either through the banking system or through pooled savings vehicles like mutual funds. Third, it provides liquidity to the system by making markets, and thus establishing prices for financial assets. Fourth, it…Continue reading

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