Book Talk - The Death of Corporate Reputation: How Integrity Has Been Destroyed on Wall Street

April 22, 2013
Event location: 

Yale Book Store

Event time: 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013 - 6:00pm - 7:00pm

Meet the author, Jonathan Macey, and listen to a conversation about his new book. Why did the financial scandals really happen? Why are they continuing to happen? In The Death of Corporate Reputation, Jonathan Macey reveals the real, non-intuitive reason, and offers a new path forward. 

For over a century law firms, investment banks, accounting firms, credit rating agencies and companies seeking regular access to U.S. capital markets made large investments in their reputations.  They treated customers well and sometimesendured losses in transactions or business deals in order to sustain and nurturetheir reputations as faithful brokers and “gate-keepers.”  This has changed completely. The existing business model among leading participants in today’s capital markets no longer treats customers as valued clients whose trust must be earned and nurtured, but as one-off“counter-parties” to whom no duties areowed and no loyalty is required.  The rough and tumble norms of the market-place have replaced the long-standingreputationalmodel in U.S. finance. 

This book describes the transformation inAmerican financefrom the old reputational model to the existinglaissez fairemodel and argues that the change came as a result of threefactors: (1) the growth of reliance on regulation rather than reputation as the primary mechanism for protecting customers and (2) the increasing complexity of regulation, which made technical expertise rather than reputation the primary criterion on which customers choose who to do business with in today’s markets; and (3) the rise of the “cult of personality” on Wall Street, which has led to a secular demise in the relevance of companies’ reputations and the concomitant rise of individual “rain-makers” reputation as the basis for premium pricing of financial services. This compelling book will drive the debate about the financial crisis and financial regulation for years to come--both inside and outside the industry.

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