About

This is the blog of Janette Rutterford, Research Professor, True Potential Centre for the Public Understanding of Finance, based at the Open University Business School.  My interests are finance, investment and savings, including financial products, financial education, the companies which offer the products, and the savers and investors themselves.

My first book aimed to explain how to invest in the stock market, and ran to a third edition.  My second was an edited volume on corporate finance, which turned out to be popular with lawyers trying to understand the archane world of finance. My most recent text on corporate finance, a book of case studies, is called Financial Strategy: Adding Shareholder Value.

But, one day, I gave a talk to a series of fund managers around the world on how the way in which shares were valued had changed over time, from dividend yield to discounted cash flow in my life time.  And so I discovered the world of investment history.  Individual investors, people like you and me, dominated the stock market until as late as the 1970s.  i determined to find out who these people had been, what they bought, how they interacted with the companies in which they invested, and how they managed investment risk.

And I’m still working on the topic.  How could I not, when I – and others – discovered that by the 1930s, women dominated men in certain types of investment, in particular brand names such as Lipton’s Tea, Boots Chemists, and safe railway securities.  That, before World War I, the world was their oyster, they bought Turkish, Argentinian, Chinese, Russian, African, Australian enterprises and governments- the list goes on.  There was no currency risk, or so it seemed, as Britain was on the gold standard.  That authors such as the Bronte sisters, Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins, George Eliot, Virginia Woolf had their own investment portfolios and this  awareness of the possibilities and risks of investment coloured their writings.

For those of you who want to a bit more about this, read my podcast on the history of investors.  For those who want to read any of my research articles, find me on the Researchgate website.  For those who prefer books, there are so far two edited texts: Women and Their Money 1700-1950: Essays on Women and Finance, and Men, Women, and Money: Perspectives on Gender, Wealth, and Investment 1850-1930.

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