AIF Distinguished Speaker Series 2016

  • Overview

    We all depend on the finance sector. We need it to store our money, manage our payments, finance housing stock, restore infrastructure, fund retirement and support new business. But these roles comprise only a tiny sliver of the sector’s activity: the vast majority of lending is within the finance sector. So what is it all for? What is the purpose of this activity? And why is it so profitable?

    Industry insider John Kay argues that the finance world’s perceived profitability is not the creation of new wealth, but the sector’s appropriation of wealth – of other people’s money. The financial sector, he shows, has grown too large, detached itself from ordinary business and everyday life, and has become an industry that mostly trades with itself, talks to itself, and judges itself by reference to standards which it has itself generated. And the outside world has itself adopted those standards, bailing out financial institutions that have failed all of us through greed and mismanagement.

    We need finance, but today we have far too much of a good thing. Join us in this Distinguished Speaker Series where John Kay shows, in his inimitable style, what has gone wrong in the dark heart of the finance sector.
  • Agenda
    Tuesday, 19 January 2016
    2.30 p.m. Registration
    3.00 p.m. Welcome Remarks
    Dr Raymond Madden
    Chief Executive Officer
    Asian Institute of Finance, Malaysia
    3.10 p.m. Other People’s Money
    Masters of the Universe or Servants of the People?

    Professor John Kay
    Economist and Visiting Professor of Economics
    London School of Economics
    Columnist, Financial Times

    4.30 p.m. Q & A Session
    5.00 p.m. Refreshments
    5.30 p.m. End
  • Speaker
    Economist and Visiting Professor of Economics
    London School of Economics
    Columnist, Financial Times

    John Kay is one of Britain’s leading economists. He is a distinguished academic, a successful businessman, an adviser to companies and governments around the world, and an acclaimed columnist. His work has been mostly concerned with the application of economics to the analysis of changes in industrial structure and the competitive advantage of individual firms.

    His interests encompass both business strategy and public policy. Today he is probably most widely known for his weekly column in the Financial Times, which ranges over topical issues in economics, finance and business. A guide to his recent writing can be found on his website

    He was born and educated in Scotland, at the Royal High School, Edinburgh, and at Edinburgh University before going to Nuffield College, Oxford, as a graduate student. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and the Royal Society of Edinburgh. He has been awarded an honorary D.Litt by Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh.

    He began his academic career when he was elected a fellow of St John’s College, Oxford at the age of 21, a position which he still holds. As research director and director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies he established it as one of Britain’s most respected think tanks. Since then he has been a professor at the London Business School and the University of Oxford, and is currently a visiting Professor at the London School of Economics. He was the first director of Oxford University’s Said Business School. In 1986 he founded London Economics, a consulting business, of which he was executive chairman until 1996. During this period it grew into Britain’s largest independent economic consultancy. He has been a director of Halifax plc and remains a director of several investment companies. Now his time is principally devoted to writing. He is the author of Foundations of Corporate Success (1993), who applies economic ideas to business strategy. The Truth about Markets (2003) is a balanced assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of market organisation and of the role of financial markets in it. (A US version, Culture and Prosperity, appeared in 2004).

    The Long and the Short of It, published in January 2009, is an explanation of how the financial system operates a critique of its provision for personal investors, a guide to the elements of financial economics, and a survival manual for individuals bereft of advice they can, or should, trust. The Long and the Short of It illustrates some of the ways in which mistaken concepts of rationality distort decisions in finance, business and politics.

    This theme was developed in Obliquity, published in March 2010 in Europe, in the US in the spring of 2011 and in translations in eleven other languages. Obliquity is the idea that complex goals are rarely best achieved when pursued directly: the happiest people are not those who pursue happiness, the wealthiest people are not the most materialistic, the most profitable companies are not the most profit oriented.

    The book explores the way in which bogus notions of rationality are used in modern politics, business and finance to justify decisions which are made (and necessarily made) in different ways. In July 2011 Vince Cable, Secretary to State for Business Innovation and Skills in the UK government, asked him to lead a review of equity markets and long term decision making. The review produced a final report in July 2012. Three collections of John’s writings have been published, The Business of Economics (1996) Everlasting Light Bulbs (2004) and The Hare & the Tortoise (2006). John’s latest book, Other People’s Money, asks what a financial system would look like if it was designed to meet the needs of the non-financial economy rather than the interests of financial market participants. It will be published in September 2015 by Profile Books and (in North America) by Public Affairs.

    He commutes between London, Oxfordshire and the south of France, and his favourite recreation is walking in the mountains behind the French Riviera, an opportunity for reflection which provides many of his best ideas.
  • Venue
    Conference Hall 1, Ground Floor
    Sasana Kijang

    2, Jalan Dato’ Onn,
    50480 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

    Tel : +603 2618 2828
    Fax : +603 2618 2690

    Map of Sasana Kijang

  • Contact Us
    For further enquiries, email us at or contact

    Name : Manpreet Kaur
    Tel : +603 2787 1999
    Fax : +603 2787 1900
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