Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild is one of the richest women in Britain, with
£467 million ($673.6 million) to her name.
Arguably, most of her wealth is due to her marrying
into financial royalty when she said “I do” to British billionaire financier Sir Evelyn Robert Adrian de Rothschild — her third marriage. But now she is the CEO of E.L. Rothschild, a holding company, and is in a prime position to see comment on capitalism and the potential for philanthropy.
In fact, in an interview in “Wealth Report” (published by luxury property agents Knight Frank and high-net worth individual research firm Wealth-X) Lady de Rothschild was asked “how badly does capitalism really need fixing?” — and she said “very.”
“It’s a belief that capitalism should be a system for the creation of broad-based prosperity, and should instill trust in our institutions, and optimism for the future — that’s the way I think about it,” she said to The Wealth Report Editor Andrew Shirley, before responding to why capitalism needs fixing.
“Only 19% of Americans believe that their government, in most cases, will do the right thing. Trust in business is not that much higher.
“So, to the extent that business is not trusted by society, often with good reason, it is not good for capitalism. There is no excuse for that. A divided society against itself will not stand and it doesn’t matter if you’re in the top 1% or 0.001%. If the society around you is crumbling, you’re in a bad place.”
That “bad place” looks like it is already here.
In January, an Oxfam report showed that the 62 richest billionaires
own as much wealth as the poorer half of the entire world’s population.
It added that the wealth of the poorest 50% dropped by 41% between 2010 and 2015, despite an increase in the global population of 400 million. In the same period, the wealth of the richest 62 people increased by $500 billion to $1.76 trillion.
So what’s the solution? Well, there’s no one single answer but Lady de Rothschild said it’s the responsibility of large businesses, as much as the government, to make sure wealth is distributed more fairly.
“I believe the best result is for business and investors to be part of the solution,” she said to The Wealth Report Editor Andrew Shirley.
“We have a lot of work to do and I don’t think we can put the burden on government alone. The point of Inclusive Capitalism is to talk with the large asset owners, asset managers and corporate leaders of the world and give them ideas that will be part of the solution.”
“I believe our entrée is to the large asset owners, the sovereign wealth funds, the pension funds, the insurance companies and the people who manage their money — to simply convince them that an investment for the long term means attention to product, planet, people and profit. I’m not asking people to have a lower return.”