Toni Williams


This Article explores the capacity of the G20’s model of financial consumer protection to reconfigure relationships between financial firms and consumers, focusing in particular on the market conduct of financial firms. Although this Article does not focus directly on Adolf A. Berle’s work, it does engage with some of his enduring concerns about economic relations between corporations, regulators, and individuals; the socialcontext of those economic relations; and the role of law and legal regulation in shaping market relations. More specifically, this Article considers new international regulatory principles related to corporate social responsibility— a recurring theme of Berle’s work11—in the somewhat novel context of consumer-finance markets. Part II describes the dominant paradigm of consumer-finance regulation before the crash and then outlines two important aspects of contemporary consumer-finance marketsthat bear on the relationships between firms and consumers— the increasing importance of household financing in the revenue streams of many global banks and the inequalities in the distribution of consumer debt. Part III outlines the elements of the G20 model and critically analyzes its understanding of consumer protection in retail-finance marketsand its potential to realize that protection. Part IV concludes.