Alumni Lecture 2020: Absent Management in Banking; How Banks Fail And Cause Financial Crisis

Hosted by the Department of Economic History

Alumni Theatre, New Academic Building, LSE, United Kingdom


Christian Dinesen

Christian Dinesen

Dinesen Associates


Dr Olivier Accominotti

Dr Olivier Accominotti

Associate Professor, Department of Economic History, LSE

To what extent have banks become both mismanaged and unmanaged, and what role has the absence of management played in financial crises?

In his forthcoming book, Absent Management in Banking; How banks fail and cause financial crisis, (Palgrave) Christian Dinesen takes a historical approach to these questions. Starting with the Medici in the 15th century, Dinesen traces the difficulties of managing banks throughout history, then turns his attention to the phenomenal growth in size and complexity of the industry in the 20th and 21st centuries.  Incentives, including the much derided bankers’ bonuses, play a central role in the history of banks.  Yet bankers remain bankers even as they become managers, an approach Dinesen argues, which explains their inability to manage complex situations.  Drawing on multiple examples, including the collapse of Barings and the Lehman Brothers, Dinesen presents his case for how absent management in banking has caused crises, depressions and recessions in the past, and will continue to do so in the future.

Christian Dinesen

Christian Dinesen is a director and founder of the independent management consultancy Dinesen Associates Ltd. He has over 30 years’ experience of insurance and capital markets and a wide network at the most senior level of European insurance. Previously Christian was Managing Director, European Insurance Credit Analyst, and Head of International Credit Research for Bank of American Merrill Lynch for ten years. Before that he headed Standard & Poor’s European insurance practice. Christian has been a partner of a management consultancy and manager of Texaco’s European insurance company, having started as a Lloyd’s reinsurance broker. Christian holds an MSc in Economic History from London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and a BA in Modern History, Economic History and Politics from Royal Holloway College, University of London. He is married, Danish, British and lives in London when he is not fly fishing.

Chair: Olivier Accominotti, Associate Professor in Economic History, LSE

Dr Accominotti's research interests are in the history of money and finance, especially the international propagation of financial crises, the determinants of global capital flows, the political economy of exchange rate policies and the effect of political institutions on countries’ access to capital markets.