The Case for Investment Advising as a Virtue-Based Practice
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Contemporary virtue ethics was revolutionized by Alasdair MacIntyre’s reconfiguration using practices as the starting point for understanding virtues. However, MacIntyre has very pointedly excluded the professions of the financial world from the reformulation. He does not count these professions as practices, and further charges that virtue would actually hinder or even rule out one’s pursuit of these professions. This paper addresses three tasks, in regard to the financial profession of investment advising. First, the paper lays out MacIntyre’s soon-to-be-published charges against the investment world, as specified to this profession. Second, it sets forth the role function of investment advising and shows that it does possess internal goods—the crucial aspect of practices disputed by MacIntyre in this case—including goods of production and goods of performance. Third, it demonstrates that this function, and the goods tied to it, cannot be achieved apart from the virtuous pursuit of the profession, thereby showing that MacIntyre’s charges are mistaken. Investment advising is shown to be a virtue-based practice, and the groundwork is laid for showing that other financial professions are so, as well.
KeywordsAgent Fiduciary Internal goods Investment advising MacIntyre, Alasdair Positive liberty Practice Role function
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