Jesse Downing

Speech Topics

Investing—the commitment of resources to achieve a return—is one of the most fundamental of human activities and one that affects us all, as individuals, families, companies, and nations, and it has done so throughout history. But until the sixteenth-century, investing was a privilege exclusively of the elite classes. The story behind the democratization of investment is bound up with some of history’s most epic events. It is also a tale rich with lessons for professional and everyday investors who hope to make wiser choices in their own time.

In this entertaining and informative talk, Jesse Downing, author of Investment: A History (Columbia Business School Publishing, 2016), offer a sophisticated yet accessible account of the opportunities and challenges facing the modern investor, within an historical context. They look at the rise of funded retirement; the evolution of investment vehicles and techniques; investment misdeeds and regulatory reform; government economic policy gains; the development of investment theory; and the emergence of new investment structures. By helping us understand this history and its legacy of risk, Reamer and Downing hope to provide audiences with a deeper understanding of investment and make them more aware of its impact on ourselves and society as a whole.


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Jesse Downing is a graduate of Harvard College, where he studied economics and mathematics. He is the co-author of Investment: A History, with fellow BrightSight Group speaker, Norton Reamer, and currently works at an investment management firm in Boston.

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