“The present duty – on all boards to maximise shareholder value as the sole criteria for satisfying the return to shareholders – cannot continue... I am aware that this is a big change that will need detailed discussion, but we need to start with big ideas. For some time and particularly during the exuberant irrationality of the last few decades, the market economy has shifted from its moral foundations with disastrous consequences. I cannot recall when public feeling worldwide has run so high, and even if only a minority takes its anger on to the streets, no one should imagine that the majority is indifferent to their cause.”
Our task is thus to build up trust, both within and beyond the financial world, a slow, bottom-up, trade-by-trade business. It is to rebalance the equilibrium between risk, responsibility and reward. It is to re-embed the financial spirit, our drive to do well, with the moral spirit, our desire to do good. Above all it is to reconnect the various different silos of our humanity – economic, moral and spiritual – so that we live as whole people all the time and not simply as money-makers on weekdays and morally concerned citizens at the weekend.