(Former Lazard International Chairman Ken Costa listens during a Future of Finance Initiative conference in Horsham, southern England, December 8, 2009. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth)

A former top London banker, weighing into a protest movement in Britain against abuses and excesses of modern capitalism, said on Sunday the market economy had lost “its moral foundations with disastrous consequences.”

Ken Costa, a former chairman of UBS Europe and Lazard International, spoke out after being appointed by Bishop of London Richard Chartres to lead an initiative aimed at “reconnecting the financial with the ethical.”

Britain has become preoccupied with the ethics of elite financiers since a group of protesters, unhappy at the excesses of modern capitalism and its huge inequalities in wealth, pitched tents outside St Paul’s Cathedral in London last month.

The controversy brought to a head by the St Paul’s protest has elicited comments from Prime Minister David Cameron and the head of the Church of England, the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, raising questions about regulation, including a financial transaction tax.