John Millar Headshot

Research Topic

How the asset management industry lost legitimacy

Research Summary

My research focuses on the field of asset management. I am interested in the ways in which the field has changed over time, analysing these changes through the core Bourdieusian concepts of field, capital and habitus. My research explores how these concepts can help to explain the loss of legitimacy which asset managers currently face in the eyes of regulators and other societal stakeholders. The concept of cultural capital provides a particularly useful perspective to describe the changing nature of elites in the asset management sector at different stages in its history; this can help to shed light on the perceived shortcomings of the sector with regard to its stewardship of investee companies and its lack of inclusivity. In so doing I hope to bring a new perspective to the problematic of organisational legitimacy, a staple of institutional theory.  

Research Area

Research Taxonomy


Before starting my doctoral research I worked for 24 years as an investment professional. My areas of specialisation were Japanese and Asian equities. In the course of my career I met over 3,000 Japanese companies—this instilled in me a passion to understand how organisations can function more effectively, to the benefit of the greatest number of stakeholders. My field of research is the asset management sector; scrutiny of the sector has intensified in recent years.