Institutional Investor's Lackluster Power List

by: Tom Brown

I've just read through Institutional Investor's "Power 75" ($) -- the magazine's list of the 75 most powerful people in finance--and am unimpressed in the extreme.

Guess what? Ben Bernanke comes in first! He's then followed by a long list of a) CEOs of big banks, b) heads of sovereign funds from Asia and the Middle East, and c) a smattering of central bankers from around the world. Which is to say, II's list is totally predictable, and not too much different than what might be be put together by your garden-variety economics undergraduate.

I do have some quibbles, though. First, whose idea was it to put Prince Alawaleed at number 50? Apart from the (largely passive) investment he made in Citicorp back in the early 1990s, the guy has basically had nothing to do with the banking and financial services business. He shouldn't be on the list at all.

And Warren Buffett's only 16th, behind (among others) Christopher Hohn and Craig Donohoe? Crazy. Jamie Dimon comes in ninth, which I do buy.

One bright spot: Ken Lewis, who runs the biggest bank in the country by market cap, is stuck in the middle of the pack at 30th, just behind the head of Allianz. About right, I'd say.