Trust

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The Jolly Contrarian’s Glossary

The snippy guide to financial services lingo.™


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Law: A common law intellectual structure where the legal owner of an asset (the “trustee”) holds the benefit of the asset for others, presumptively beyond the reach of the trustee’s creditors. In the English common law, a metaphysical construct achieved by splitting an individual’s “equitable” or “beneficial” ownership away from er “legal” ownership; in the Americas, an existential one whereby trusts have animated themselves into full personhood. This is quite an evolution when you stop to think about it.

Business: The foundation-stone of all commerce, the wellspring of prosperity and the operating principle without which we would not have made it out of the trees, the need for which bitcoin fundamentalists still think they’ve finally managed to eliminate from the system. (They haven’t).

See also

  • Law:
    • fiduciary — the kind of trust you can still have even when your own lawyers — often hailing from sniffy continental climes, loudly hark back to Romans and the civil law tradition — call a trust a metaphysical impossibility.
    • Indemnity, for how to get comfortable with the risk of a trustee exceeding the scope of its powers without you knowing it;
  • Business: