The Transparency Task Force is the collaborative, campaigning community, dedicated to driving up the levels of transparency in financial services, right around the world.
We believe that higher levels of transparency are a pre-requisite for fairer, safer, more stable and more efficient markets being able to deliver better value for money and better outcomes to consumers.
Furthermore, because of the correlation between transparency, truthfulness and trustworthiness, we expect our work will help to repair the self-inflicted reputational damage the Financial Services sector has been suffering for decades.
The Transparency Task Force is unique in being made up of a truly pan-industry cross-section of individuals, trade bodies, thought leaders, academics, professional associations and so on; united by the desire to improve the way the Financial Services industry behaves through the power of transparency. As such we are well-placed to establish consensus that does not merely reflect the wishes of one particular ‘tribe’ or another.
'Sunlight is the Best Disinfectant'
That beautifully simple phrase sums up what the Transparency Task Force is all about. We believe that financial services market behaviour is improved when it is visible; and conversely, that behaviour that is allowed to hapen ‘in the shadows’ is often at the expense of the consumer.
This is because, rather notoriously, the Financial Services sector is pre-disposed to be opportunistic with obfuscation and opacity; it has profited from things being kept hidden from the consumer; sometimes deliberately, sometimes not - things like the true costs of investing, the true performance of products and the true risks of some products to the consumer. Asymmetries of information are a major concern, because they stop the market working competitively and because they prevent the consumer being able to make well-informed decisions.
Our Strategy for Driving Change
The Transparency Task Force seeks to operate in a collaborative, collegiate and consensus-building way; focusing on solutions not blame. We seek to effect the change that the industry needs and the consumer deserves. Our strategy for driving change is to bring together two types of people:
#1, Those with a sense of ‘passion & purpose’ about what needs to be done – such as ethically-minded financial services professionals, enlightened market participants, thought leaders, pro-consumer campaigners and leading academics who are involved in our community; and
#2, Those with the ‘power & position’ to make change happen – such as the regulators, politicians, financial services leaders, trade bodies and professional associations.
What are the Transparency Task Force Teams?
We believe that those of us who truly care about the importance of the Financial Services sector and the people it serves can, and should, work together to help put things right. Our call to all right-minded professionals is ‘Let’s stand up, not stand by’; and let’s take heart from the famous Margaret Mead quote: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has".
The response to our clarion call for people to work together to fix the many things that are wrong with financial services has been profoundly positive; so much so that in just a couple of years we have developed nine teams of volunteers, each team focused on a particular set of transparency-related issues and desired outcomes:
Over 250 people are already involved in our work through our Teams.
To learn more about each of our Teams and who is involved with them see the navigation pane on the left hand side.
How do we communicate and engage?
We have two main channels for communication and engagement:
Our Transparency Symposia are thought leadership events designed to galvanise support for the idea that there ought to be greater transparency in financial services. They are a great way to define and share best practice and are characterised by engaging presentations, panel sessions and debates. Furthermore, they are an excellent way for people to learn about the work of the Transparency Task Force; many of the volunteers in our 9 Teams were motivated to get involved as a consequence of attending a Transparency Symposium.
We have expert speakers and industry commentators; plus, enlightened market participants, Regulators, Parliamentarians and so on becoming actively involved in discussing and debating the key issues. We always have a great deal of interest from the media and we have had tremendous coverage; not just amongst the financial services trade magazines - our work has even been written about in most of the main national newspapers and we have even appeared on the front page of the Financial Times!
The Transparency Times
We have been publishing an own online magazine, the Transparency Times, since May 2016. It now goes out to over 6,000 people and is available completely free of charge. It carries thought leadership articles that support the idea that greater transparency is needed in the financial services industry.
Contributors have included academics, politicians, market participants, Regulators and so on.
The button below takes you to the previous editions, including the very latest one: