Exposing The Financial
Core of the Transnational Capitalist Class
By Peter Phillips and Brady Osborne
Clearing House -
Foundation/Project Censored has just finish a year long study on
the people on the boards of directors of the top ten asset
management firms and the top ten most centralized corporations
in the world. With overlaps there is a total of thirteen firms
in our study: Barclays PLC, BlackRock Inc., Capital Group
Companies Inc., FMR Corporation: Fidelity Worldwide Investment,
AXA Group, State Street Corporation, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Legal
& General Group PLC (LGIMA), Vanguard Group Inc., UBS AG, Bank
of America/Merrill Lynch, Credit Suisse Group AG, and Allianz SE
(Owners of PIMCO) PIMCO-Pacific Investment Management Co. The
boards of directors of these firms, totaling 161 individuals.
They are the financial core of the world’s Transnational
Capitalist Class. Collectively, these 161 people manage $23.91
trillion in funds impacting nearly every country in the world.
The institutional arrangements within the money management
systems of global capital relentlessly seek ways to achieve
maximum return on investment, and the structural conditions for
manipulations—legal or not—are always open (Libor scandal).
These institutions have become “too big to fail,” their scope
and interconnections pressure government regulators to shy away
from criminal investigations, much less prosecutions. The result
is a semi-protected class of people with increasingly vast
amounts of money, seeking unlimited growth and returns, with
little concern for consequences of their economic pursuits on
other people, societies, cultures, and environments.
One hundred thirty-six of the 161 core members (84 percent) are
male. Eighty-eight percent are whites of European descent (just
nineteen are people of color). Fifty-two percent hold graduate
degrees—including thirty-seven MBAs, fourteen JDs, twenty-one
PhDs, and twelve MA/MS degrees. Almost all have attended private
colleges, with close to half attending the same ten
universities: Harvard University (25), Oxford University (11),
Stanford University (8), Cambridge University (8), University of
Chicago (8), University of Cologne (6), Columbia University (5),
Cornell University (4), the Wharton School of the University of
Pennsylvania (3), and University of California–Berkeley (3).
Forty-nine are or were CEOs, eight are or were CFOs; six had
prior experience at Morgan Stanley, six at Goldman Sachs, four
at Lehman Brothers, four at Swiss Re, seven at Barclays, four at
Salomon Brothers, and four at Merrill Lynch.
People from twenty-two nations make up the central financial
core of the Transnational Corporate Class. Seventy-three (45
percent) are from the US; twenty-seven (16 percent) Britain;
fourteen France; twelve Germany; eleven Switzerland; four
Singapore; three each from Austria, Belgium, and India; two each
from Australia and South Africa; and one each from Brazil,
Vietnam, Hong Kong/China, Qatar, the Netherlands, Zambia,
Taiwan, Kuwait, Mexico, and Colombia. They mostly live in or
near a number of the world’s great cities: New York, Chicago,
London, Paris, and Munich.
Members of the financial core take active parts in global policy
groups and government. Five of the thirteen corporations have
directors as advisors or former employees of the International
Monetary Fund. Six of the thirteen firms have directors who have
worked at or served as advisors to the World Bank. Five of the
thirteen firms hold corporate membership in the Council on
Foreign Relations in the US. Seven of the firms sent nineteen
directors to attend the World Economic Forum in February 2013.
Seven of the directors have served or currently serve on a
Federal Reserve board, both regionally and nationally in the US.
Six of the financial core serve on the Business Roundtable in
the US. Several directors have had direct experience with the
financial ministries of European Union countries and the G20.
Almost all of the 161 individuals serve in some advisory
capacity for various regulatory organizations, finance
ministries, universities, and national or international
Estimates are that the total world’s wealth is close to $200
trillion, with the US and European elites holding approximately
63 percent of that total; meanwhile, the poorest half of the
global population together possesses less than 2 percent of
global wealth. The World Bank reports that, 1.29 billion people
were living in extreme poverty, on less than $1.25 a day, and
1.2 billion more were living on less than $2.00 a day.
Thirty-five thousand people, mostly young children, die every
day from malnutrition. While millions suffer, a transnational
financial elite seeks returns on trillions of dollars that
speculate on the rising costs of food, commodities, land, and
other life sustaining items for the primary purpose of financial
gain. They do this in cooperation with each other in a global
system of transnational corporate power and control and as such
constitute the financial core of an international corporate
Western governments and international policy bodies serve the
interests of this financial core of the Transnational Corporate
Class. Wars are initiated to protect their interests.
International treaties, and policy agreements are arranged to
promote their success. Power elites serve to promote the free
flow of global capital for investment anywhere that returns are
Identifying the people with such power and influence is an
important part of democratic movements seeking to protect our
commons so that all humans might share and prosper.
The full, detailed list is online at:
and in Censored 2014 from Seven Stories Press.
Peter Phillips is professor of sociology at Sonoma State
University and president of Media Freedom Foundation/Project
Brady Osborne is a senior level research associate at Sonoma
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