Long Finance is a Z/Yen initiative to explore the question “When would we know our financial system is working?”, in conjunction with the City of London Corporation and Gresham College. Begun in 2005, Long Finance’s goal is to improve society’s understanding and use of finance over the long-term. In contrast to the short-termism that defines today’s economic views the Long Finance time-frame is roughly 100 years. Long Finance’s core objectives are to:
- expand frontiers - develop methodologies to solve financial problems;
- change systems - provide evidence-based examples of how financing methods work and don’t work;
- deliver services - including conferences and training using collaborative tools;
- build communities - through meetings, networking and events.
In 2002 the City of London Corporation worked with the UK Government to produce "The London Principles: the role of the UK financial services in sustainable development", a framework for sustainable finance which formed part of the UK submission to the Johannesburg Earth Summit. Inspired by this project, in 2005 (before the Stern Review was commissioned) the Corporation joined a coalition of 25 financial services organisations, plus some academic and non-governmental institutions, led by Z/Yen, and created Long Finance’s London Accord ? an agreement to “make investment work for the climate”. In 2007, 24 reports and over 780 pages analysed the context, opportunities and implications for investment-led solutions to climate change, “The London Accord: Investing in Climate Change”. Since 2007, the initiative has run over 600 events and published over 600 further reports on a wide variety of environmental, social, and governance issues, plus suggestions for fundamental reforms in financial services. It is not a radical advocacy group, leaving others to ‘campaign’ good ideas. For example, Carbon Tracker grew alongside some questions raised in 2006 about what happens when you “burn it all?!”, but was picked up by Carbon Tracker to develop, thus leading to the Unburnable Carbon and Stranded Assets debates. Policy performance bond proposals have been picked up as a good idea by the French government, the UN and many others. Confidence Accounting work has been endorsed by the ACCA, Bank of England, ICAS, ICAEW, Aldersgate Group, and others. They’ve been promoting mutual distributed ledger (aka blockchain) technology for years. And they’re hardly out of ideas as their research programme shows.
Michael will share with us candidly how Long Finance is going, what the future might hold, and tackle our question for the evening: “Have we fixed our financial system yet?”
Alderman Professor Michael Mainelli FCCA FCSI FBCS - a qualified accountant, securities professional, computer specialist, and management consultant, educated at Harvard University and Trinity College Dublin, Michael gained his PhD at the London School of Economics where he was also a Visiting Professor. He began his career as a research scientist in aerospace & cartography. His biggest technical claim to fame might be the first commercial digital map of the world. He entered the City of London in 1984 ahead of Big Bang, becoming an accountancy-firm partner and later a director of Ministry of Defence research. During a spell in merchant banking, he co-founded Z/Yen in 1994, the City of London’s leading think-tank, to promote societal advance through better finance and technology. He has led Z/Yen from creating mutual distributed ledgers (aka blockchains) in 1995 through Taskforce 2000, Long Finance, the Global Financial Centres Index, and the Global Intellectual Property Index. Over the years his clients have included virtually all major investment banks, as well as many exchanges, insurers, fund managers, regulators, and financial information providers. He is Alderman of the City of London for Broad Street, Emeritus Professor & Trustee at Gresham College, Fellow of Goodenough College, non-executive director of two listed firms and a regulator, trustee of several charities, and Senior Warden of the Worshipful Company of World Traders. He has written numerous academic papers and his third book, The Price of Fish: A New Approach to Wicked Economics and Better Decisions, won the 2012 Independent Publisher Book Awards Finance, Investment & Economics Gold Prize.