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Wednesday, 24 April 2019, 6:00PM - 7:00PM
Museum of London

Does Finance Benefit Society?

Professor Alex Edmans

Since the financial crisis, there has been a strong view that the financial sector has little benefit for society. The stock market is not a net supplier of capital - as much money is spent on share buybacks as is raised from new issuance. Moreover, most stock market trading is speculative side-bets between investors, with no new money being raised by firms. 

This talk will show that stock market trading may contribute to society even if does not lead to firms raising new capital.

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Alex Edmans is the Mercers’ School Memorial Professor of Business at Gresham College, Professor of Finance at London Business School, and a TED Speaker. 

He completed his BA in Economics and Management at Merton College, University of Oxford, and did his PhD in Finance as a Fulbright Scholar at the MIT Sloan School of Management. In 2007, Professor Edmans joined The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, as an Assistant Professor of Finance and then was promoted to a tenured Associate Professor.

Working at the intersection of academia and practice, Professor Edmans is an expert on corporate finance (including executive compensation, corporate governance, investment, growth and innovation), behavioural finance and investing, and corporate social responsibility.

Professor Edmans is the current Managing Editor of the Review of Finance, the leading academic finance journal in Europe. He has published his research in leading academic journals, including American Economic Review, Journal of Economic Literature, Journal of Finance, Journal of Financial Economics and Review of Financial Studies. He has also written for the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Harvard Business Review, and Huffington Post.

Professor Edmans serves as the Academic Director of LBS Centre for Corporate Governance, and more generally is a pioneer in corporate governance reform – in particular, embedding purpose into the heart of business and encouraging companies to think long-term. He has spoken at the World Economic Forum at Davos, testified in the UK Parliament, and presented to the World Bank Board of Directors under their Distinguished Speaker Series. He gave the TED talk “What to Trust in a Post-Truth World” and the TEDx talk “The Social Responsibility of Business,” with a combined 2.4 million views. His book, “Grow the Pie: How Great Companies Deliver Both Purpose and Profit”, based on his inaugural Gresham College lecture series, was named to the Financial Times Books of the Year for 2020. 

Professor Edmans is a winner of the Rising Star of Corporate Governance Award, Rising Star of Finance Award, and appeared on the 2017 Poets and Quants Best 40 Under 40 Professors list and Thinkers50 Radar. At Wharton, Alex won 14 teaching awards in six years. At LBS, he won Best Teacher awards for both the MBA and Masters in Financial Analysis programmes and the Excellence in Teaching award for best professor across all programmes. 

He is passionate about making finance research available and understandable for a non-academic audience so that it influences the way people think and act. He was appointed the Mercers’ School Memorial Professor of Business in 2018.

Professor Edmans' lecture series are as follows:

2021/22 The Principles of Finance

2020/21 The Psychology of Finance

2019/20 Business Skills

2018/19 How Business Can Better Serve Society

All lectures by the Mercers School Memorial Gresham Professors of Commerce and Business can be found here.

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