This book is about what Mark Carney has called 'the social licence for financial markets' and how it can point us towards a more sustainable future. Author David Rouch argues that what it reveals contrasts sharply with the usual portrayals of markets as places of unrestrained financial self-interest. Drawing attention to a more complex reality and the presence of justice-focused aspirations in finance can positively impact individual, institutional, and systemic behaviour: change, not imposed by regulators, but emerging from the very substance of market relationships.
The finance sector should have a key role in addressing humanity's increasingly pressing sustainability challenges. Yet the relationship between finance and society has not recovered from the 2008 crisis and the scandals and austerity that followed. The Covid-19 pandemic and its economic fallout is sharpening some of the issues and creating new ones. Recognising that financial markets operate subject to a social licence has the potential to galvanise market participants in tackling these challenges, strengthening social solidarity on which markets also depend, and to provide coordinates for navigating a way through the post-pandemic social, political and economic landscape.
David Rouch, an international financial services regulatory lawyer, became a partner in Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in 2004. He has advised the full range of financial market participants, dealing with some of the market's most prominent regulatory bodies. He is particularly known for his work on law and finance culture. He has run two joint projects between Freshfields and the London School of Economics exploring this area and has also participated in the work of the Law and Ethics in Finance Project. He is currently leading an international team advising a group including the United Nations Environment Programme on sustainability impact in the investment process.
1. The Great Re-evaluation: Reaching for an EndPart I In the Beginning, an End2. People, Firms, Markets, Behaviour3. The Ends of Desire in Financial MarketsPart II The Social Licence and Justice4. The Social Licence for Financial Markets5. Realising Justice: the Role of Written StandardsPart III In the End, a Beginning6. Behaviour-Change in Practice7. Policy Implications8. Conclusion-Not an End, but a Beginning