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Papal critique

Pope Francis lashes out at financial industry

Pope Francis

Pope Francis took aim earlier this month at the financial industry, claiming its activities since the financial crisis of 2008-2009 have been "like a return to the heights of myopic egoism."

Among other criticisms, the Vatican bulletin issued May 17 focused on credit default swaps that it said "permit gambling at the risk of the bankruptcy of a third party, even to those who haven't taken any such risk of credit earlier."

It also blasted "the morally questionable activities of financial advisers in the management of savings," citing movements of investments that are intended to increase revenues for financial intermediaries, a bias in recommending savings methods for clients that benefit the provider and not the investor, and "a malicious negligence on the part of financial advisers regarding the protection of related interests to the portfolio of their clients."

The bulletin drew criticism from Clifford Asness, managing and founding principal of AQR Capital Management LLC, Greenwich, Conn., who said in a Tweet following the bulletin's release, "I'm very close to getting into a Twitter fight with the Pope. The business side of my firm would probably discourage this." A spokesman at AQR would not comment.