Environmental, social and corporate governance

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The Devil’s Advocate

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In which the curmudgeonly old sod puts the world to rights.

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Soup du jour. Ideal fodder for that client webinar. And if you are worried you have unhedged risk to it, well — there are always turpitude swaps to see you right.

Call me an old, unreconstructed gammon but — seriously, financial services multinationals? — If you care about environment, society and governance, put a sock in your virtue signalling and pay your sodding taxes.

Of course, the point where ESG jumped the tracks from being a means of virtue-signalling ones neo-puritanical credentials to the twittersphere to being a regulated, articulated objective of large tracts of the financial services industry — now it has moved beyond a mere marketing device and investment managers have published it in their mandates, and they are even are obliged by regulation to meet sustainability targets rather than that quaint old-fashioned notion of, you know, return — then the basic wrongheadedness of stakeholder capitalism rears its head. We are creating a monster that will not vouchsafe any improvement in the environment, but will open yet another front for the regulatory-industrial complex to occupy, and extract rent from the disempowered retirees of the world.

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