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Stewardship: Lessons Learned from the Lost Culture of Wall Street


Praise For Stewardship

"This is a powerful and moving book that deserves to be widely read.The idea of stewardship captures powerfully what is needed today.I just hope the financial industry listens."
--Gillian Tett, U.S. Managing Editor, Financial Times, and author, Fool's Gold

"When I was asked by a good friend to read John Taft's manuscript with the possibility of providing a comment about it, I groaned at the prospect of reading another dreary, self-justificatory treatise. I could not have been more wrong. Mr. Taft draws on his considerable experience in the financial industry to produce an essay that is thoughtful, constructive, and, in a word I rarely get to use in the context of the financial crisis, inspiring. I am glad to recommend it."
--Barney Frank, Congressman (D-MA)

"John Taft demystifies the complex inner workings of the financial services industry. He provides a simple, but elegant, approach to restoring trust and confidence in the U.S. financial services markets."
--Ron James, President and CEO, Center for Ethical Business Cultures

"Like his father and grandfather and great grandfather before him, John is another Taft who understands we are all stewards and with that comes responsibility. Stewardship is not just a book for Wall Street. It's a book for you and me."
--Doug Lennick, coauthor, Moral Intelligence

"Timely, well-argued, deeply humane. Taft is the sort of leader financeneeds as it emerges from the crisis."
--Matthew Bishop, New York Bureau Chief, The Economist and coauthor, The Road from Ruin

John G. Taft is CEO of RBC Wealth Management-U.S. He is a leading figure in the U.S. securities industry and served as Chairman of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) in 2011. He is a direct descendant of U.S. President William Howard Taft and Senator Robert A. Taft.

Foreword xi

Introduction xvii

Chapter 1 Core Principles: The Ground Beneath Our Feet 1

Interlude—Learning from Failure: Acquainted with Grief 7

Chapter 2 Finance Run Amok: Selfishness Trumps Stewardship 9

Interlude—Occupying Wall Street: Too Rich and Too Poor 19

Chapter 3 Stewardship Defined: Feeding Your Flock First 23

Interlude—Greed, Glorious Greed 32

Chapter 4 World’s Safest Banking System: Canada, the New Switzerland 35

Interlude—Americans Are from Mars, Canadians Are from Venus 47

Chapter 5 Making the System Stronger: In Defense of Dodd-Frank and Basel III 51

Interlude—Too Small to Save? 74

Chapter 6 Making the Investor Safer: In Defense of New Fiduciary Rules 77

Interlude—An Obligation of Honor 84

Chapter 7 To Investors Standing on the Wings: Prepare for the Next Crisis 87

Interlude—Predatory Volatility 109

Chapter 8 Environmental, Social, and Governance Investing: Could It Be the Answer? 113

Interlude—It’s a Long Life: The Trouble with Short-Termism 129

Chapter 9 Communities, Caring, and Commitment: Reconnecting with Our Stewardship Responsibilities 131

Afterword 145

Appendix A Balanced Financial Regulation 147

Appendix B Basel III Regulatory Accord 151

Appendix C Creating a Clear Path Forward 161

Notes 165

Glossary of Selected Financial and Regulatory Reform Terminology 179

Author’s Guide to Supplemental Readings 191

Additional Sources 197

Acknowledgments 203

About the Author 205

Index 207