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What Happens When a Few Financial Institutions Control Everything?

Columbia Global Reports & The Richard Paul Richman Center for Business, Law, and Public Policy at Columbia University invite you to

A panel discussion on The Problem of Twelve by John Coates, Harvard Law Professor and former General Counsel of the Securities and Exchange Commission

A “problem of twelve” arises when a small number of institutions acquire the means to exert outsized influence over the politics and economy of a nation.

Join us at Columbia Law School on Tuesday, September 19 from 7:00-8:30 pm ET as we celebrate the publication of The Problem of Twelve with the author, Harvard Law Professor John Coates, and a panel introduced by Columbia Global Reports Director Nicholas Lemann and moderated by Rana Foroohar, Global Business Columnist and Associate Editor at the Financial Times.

Coates will be joined by Michael Ewens, David L. and Elsie M. Dodd Professor of Finance at Columbia Business School; Jeffrey Gordon, Richard Paul Richman Professor of Law at Columbia Law School; and Dorothy Lund, Professor of Law at Columbia Law School.

The Big Four index funds–Vanguard, State Street, Fidelity, and BlackRock–control more than twenty percent of the votes of S&P 500 companies, a concentration of financial power that is unprecedented in America. Then there’s the rise of private equity funds, such as the Big Four of Apollo, Blackstone, Carlyle, and KKR, which have amassed $2.7 trillion of assets, and are eroding the legitimacy and accountability of American capitalism, not by controlling public companies, but by taking them over entirely and bringing them outside the scope of the regulatory system. The result is that a few powerful financial firms control a large and growing share of the American economy. They are only beginning to use their power to the fullest extent, and politics will be an inevitable part of the response. The panelists will explore what this concentration of power means and what should be done to maintain our country’s long tradition of limiting the economic and political power of the few.

This event is free to attend. A boxed dinner will be served prior to the panel from 6:15-7:00 pm. A Q&A and book signing will follow. The Problem of Twelve will be available for purchase at the event from Book Culture.

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Event Contact Information:
Courtney Knights


Sep 19 2023


7:00 pm - 8:30 pm


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Formats (virtual, in person, hybrid)



Columbia Law School
435 W. 116 St., New York, NY 10027


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