About the Transparency Task Force

IN THE INTERESTS OF TRANSPARENCY...

 

First of all, here's a quick Q&A to cover some important points:

 

Q. What is the Transparency Task Force?

 

A. It is a Limited Company; Transparency Task Force Ltd, that is wholly owned and controlled by Andy Agathangelou, its Founder. 

 

For Companies House information, see here: https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/09698368

 

The Transparency Task Force operates as a not-for profit with the sole purpose of driving positive, progressive and purposeful finance reform. 

 

Q. How does the Transparency Task Force operate?

 

A.The Transparency Task Force operates through our 22 Special Interest Groups, see here: https://www.transparencytaskforce.org/teams-of-volunteers/…all of which operate in a democratic and consensus-based way. We do not have a top-down command and control structure; we have a bottom-up, respond-to-input structure i.e. we put our energies into what our members want to focus on.

 

We also have a wonderful network of supportive Ambassadors, many of whom are also involved with our Special Interest Groups; see here: https://www.transparencytaskforce.org/ttf-ambassadors/

 

Q. How do the finances of the Transparency Task Force work?

 

A. Badly! TheTransparency Task Force can operate on just £100,000 per annumwe run a very tight ship. Considering the Transparency Task Force is a community of over 650 aligned individuals and we are an increasingly potent force for good, we believe we represent incredibly good value for money.  

 

£100,000 per annum covers all of the following:

  • Salary for Andy Agathangelou, Founder; full time
  • Salary for Tina Kenyon, Head of Operations, part time
  • Salary for Briony Crook, Head of Outreach, part time
  • All costs of running our office at 113A London Road, Waterlooville
  • All travel including international; all overnight accommodation
  • All event costs such as our Transparency Trophies (venues are given free)
  • All other operating costs such as accounting, subscriptions, IT, software etc.

We can generate roughly £50,000 through ticket sales at our events (where we have a donation-type model so nobody is unable to attend if they cannot afford the Standard Ticket Price).

 

That leaves a shortfall of roughly £50,000 that we need to raise through donations. 

 

We have received £28,000 so far in 2019 (as at 1st October 2019) 

 

  • £5,000 from Triodos Bank
  • £5,000 from Hermes Investment Management 
  • £10,000 from Orbis Investments
  • £2000 from Paul Bates Barrister
  • £2000/month x 3 months E2 Associates Ltd t/aFlat Mountain

…so we have got a long way to go. If you or organisations/people you know might want to donate please get in touch, we are desperate for financial support. 

 

We received roughly £25,000 of donations in total during 2018.

 

Please note the Founder has already used his life savings (other than his pension fund) to get the Transparency Task Force to where it is now. 

 

If you wish to have a fully breakdown of all donations received to date, just ask.

 

If you wish to know anything else about the finances of the Transparency Task Force, just ask; as explained here: https://www.transparencytaskforce.org/reporting/finances/

 

Q. I have more questions; how do I get answers?

 

A. If you wish to know anything about the Transparency Task Force, please get in touch through andy.agathangelou@transparencytaskforce.org

 

You are welcome to publish any question you put to us and the answer you receive, in any way you wish; including social media. 

 

We are happy to be investigated in any reasonable way and we have a policy of full disclosure and full transparency in all that we do. If ever you suspect that we might be falling short of those policies please let us know straight away and we’ll put things right  straight away.  

 

OTHER INFORMATION

 

We believe the financial services sector is profoundly important to the wellbeing of society, economic stability and political stability.

 

We are huge fans the sector and what it does, when it is behaving properly.

 

However, there is ample reason for concern about the "mischievous minority" whose malpractice, misconduct, malfeasance and miss-selling leads to bad publicity in the newspapers and on the TV.

 

Poor behaviour by a few people and organisations results in a tarnished reputation for the industry as a whole.

 

The self-inflicted reputational damage the industry has been suffering manifests in many ways – a lack of engagement, a lack of trust and much lower levels of saving, investing and insurance protection than there should be.

 

For example, in the UK we have the lowest level of savings since 1963. This is systemic and structural problem that needs fixing, especially as it leads to poor outcomes for consumers. 

 

The Transparency Task Force is all about "doing our bit" to drive the change we want to see by focusing on encouraging the sector to behave in a more transparent, truthful and trustworthy way, for the benefit of all.

 

Since 6th May 2015 and with very little financial backing we have been building an international community of like-minded people who are working together to encourage positive change.

 

It is crystal clear to us that there is much wrong in financial services that desperately needs fixing, so bit by bit, one person at a time, we have been establishing a collaborative, campaigning community that is working together to make a difference.

 

Here are the sorts of issues we are working hard to tackle:

  • The Trust Deficit
  • The Engagement Deficit
  • The Understanding Deficit
  • Conflicts of interest
  • Regulatory capture
  • Hidden costs
  • Hidden risks
  • Opportunistic opacity
  • Opportunistic obfuscation
  • Opportunistic complexity
  • Vested interests
  • Short-termism
  • Scalping
  • Inadequate client-centricity
  • Skewed incentives
  • Asymmetries of information
  • Scams and scandals
  • Gouging
  • Rent extraction
  • Malpractice
  • Malfeasance
  • Egregious abuses 
  • Reputational damage
  • Contrived complexity; and so on.

 

Consensus has been forming that ‘transparency’ is far more than just a powerful watchword; it can be the zeitgeist that could drive the change that the consumer deserves and the reputation of the sector desperately needs.

 

The Transparency Task Force is the collaborative,  campaigning community dedicated to driving up the levels of transparency in financial services, right around the world. 

 

There are now over 800 people involved and they are organised and mobilised into Special Interest Groups.

TTF Accounts

If you would like to view our accounts for 2017/2018 they can be downloaded by clicking on the PDF icon below:

TTF Accounts 2017/2018
TTF Accounts 2017:18.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [357.4 KB]

The accounts for previous years will be added to this web page ASAP; if you wish to have sight of them before that happens please Email our Head of Operations and Fundraising, Tina Kenyon: tina.kenyon@transparencytaskforce.org 

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The Great Divide

You can read the speech by  Andrew G. Haldane, FAcSS (the Bank of England's Chief Economist and Executive Director of Monetary Analysis and Statistics) that he gave on 18th May 2016 at the New City Agenda Annual dinner.

 

The speech is entitled The Great Divide and it is a first class explanation of why the trust deficit really matters and why it makes sense to try to do something about it.

 

Please click on the green button to access it; if you're not convinced of its relevance to our initiative, here's part of it:

 

..."The most important and compelling message the Bank received at the Open Forum came in the first session. The Bank had conducted some polling of perceptions of the financial sector – for example, by asking people what one word best described the future of financial markets. Among the Bank’s usual contacts, including those in the financial sector, the most used word was “regulated”. Many of us will have heard that message from financial insiders concerned about the perils of over-zealous regulators.

 

For me, the more revealing responses came from the general public, from the customers, rather than the producers, of financial services. The word most used by them when describing financial markets was a rather different one: it was “corrupt”. Not far behind were words like “manipulated”, “self-serving”, “destructive” and “greedy”. I am sure many of you have heard those messages too. They are certainly ones I have encountered frequently on my visits around the country."...

 

Please click the green button  below to access the full speech. If you need to read another piece first, here it is:

 

..."At least until recently many economists like me, when faced with this evidence, might have shrugged our shoulders. Social capital had no real role in our models of economic growth, unlike physical capital and human capital. Trust did not butter our parsnips and nor did it enter our production functions.

 

Recently, however, that orthodoxy has changed and the importance of trust has become clearer.

 

Evidence has emerged, both micro and macro, to suggest trust may play a crucial role in value creation. At the micro level, there is now ample evidence the degree of trust or social capital within a company contributes positively to its value creation capacity. 

 

At the macro level, there is now a strong body of evidence, looking across a large range of countries and over long periods of time, that high levels of trust and co-operation are associated with higher economic growth.

 

Put differently, a lack of trust jeopardises one of finance’s key societal functions – higher growth.

 

Those social capital effects appear to be particularly potent when it comes to financial decisions. Evidence suggests that a lack of trust leads people to retreat from the stock market and banks and to move towards cash holdings and informal sources of credit, such as payday lenders and loan sharks. That jeopardises the second key benefit of finance to society – improved risk-sharing by households and companies.

 

So a lack of trust in finance potentially hobbles both economic growth and financial stability.

 

That lack of trust is the mirror-image of the perception gap between the financial sector and wider society, the Great Divide.

 

The Great Divide matters because it signals a pronounced and protracted erosion of social capital. It puts finance on notice for losing its social licence. And, unaddressed, that jeopardises future wealth and well-being."...

 

Please click on the green button to access the full speech. If you're not yet convinced you should, here's a final snippet:

 

..." As a survey in 2013 of financial professionals found, rather remarkably, that over half believed their competitors engaged in illegal or unethical behaviour.  A smaller, but still high, fraction of 24% believed their own company engaged in such practices. Similar percentages believed their industry did not fulfil its fiduciary function of putting clients’ interests first.

The significance of these findings is not the precise percentages, as striking as these are.

 

More fundamentally, it is because of what they reveal about finance’s perception of itself, the mirror it holds to the social identity of finance."...

 

Click onto the button below to access the full speech; you'll be glad you did, it's profoundly thought-provoking for anybody interested in the future of the financial services industry:

If you are not already on the right page and want to read about our major international project to help rebuild trustworthiness and confidence in financial services, click on the orange button below:

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