Abstract: Recent literature has argued that financial experts act as predators as soon as given a chance. Bernard Madoff is one example among many whereby a financial expert has occupied the top level of a financial web and has devised a plan to take advantage of his clients for his own benefit, causing them financial harm, by surprise. The model currently in use in the area of financial predation, named the Mesly model, states that perceived predation influences trust and cooperation between a financial predator and his clients. This multidisciplinary paper examines the neurobiological mechanisms supporting such model. Indeed, finding the neurobiological basis for the model of financial predation may allow regulators to better understand how financial predators work, hence the possibility to devise better safeguard measures to protect naive investors.
Key words: perceived predation; Mesly model; financial predators, neurobiological.
Financial predators are part of our everyday life, perhaps without most people realizing it. Yet, white-collar crime has been discussed for many years (Szwajkowski, 1985) and a number of financial crises have occurred over the last decades (Rajan, 2010). Some authors have noticed that many of these crises are caused by factors such as lack of risk assessment on the part of financial institutions (Hellwig, 2009), but it can also be argued that customers who suffered from the 2008 housing collapse have unconsciously trapped themselves in what became known as predatory mortgages.
*Dr. Olivier Mesly has made financial predation his main theme of research and has found applications for his theory in other sectors, such as in legal battles involving separation of assets and child alimony as well as social unrest.