About the Transparency Task Force

I have worked in financial services for over 30 years and I believe the financial services sector is profoundly important for the wellbeing of society and the world economy – I am a huge fan of the sector and what it does, when it is behaving properly.

 

However, over a long period of time I had been getting increasingly concerned by malpractice in the sector that ends up with 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; and it's a shame to admit it but there is some malpractice that is industry-wide. 

 

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 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. 

 

I decided to try to ‘do my little bit’ by focusing on encouraging the sector to behave in a more trustworthy way in the belief that greater transparency can lead to greater trustworthiness. 

 

Since my very first Transparency Task Force meeting on 6th May 2015 at Senate House, London University and without any backing I have been building an international community of like-minded people who are working together to encourage positive behavioural change in the market.

 

Since starting all this it has become crystal clear to me that there is much wrong in financial services that desperately needs fixing so bit by bit, one person at a time, I have been establishing a collaborative, campaigning community that is working together to drive behavioural change for the benefit of all including market participants that want to serve the market professionally and ethically. 

 

Here are the sorts of issues we face:

  • 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.

 

In the UK, even right-of-centre politicians have been expressing a need for the interests of the consumer to be put ahead of the needs of the City; for the sake of the consumer and the long-term interests of the City.

 

Furthermore, consensus has been forming that ‘transparency’ is far more than just a powerful watchword; it was a 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 finacial services, right around the world. 

 

There are now over 250 people involved and they are organised and mobilised into teams.

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