Our Groups are the engine room of the collaborative, campaigning community that is the Transparency Task Force.
They are a consensus-building ‘coalition of the willing’ and each Group has at least one worthwhile campaign initiative underway.
Read on for further information including details of our next round of Zoom meetings.
Our Groups are free to join and at the very worst they are great for networking – click here to request to be added to any.
How the Groups started
The first Transparency Task Force meeting was held on 6th May 2015 at Senate House, London University. We discussed the need to reform the finance sector so that it served society better; and we explored the correlation between transparency, truthfulness and trustworthiness.
We referred to the famous Margaret Mead quote:
Our call for ethical people to “stand up, not stand by” landed well – people volunteered to get involved.
Since then, through word of mouth, through our symposia, through our coverage in the press including the Financial Times, Radio 4 and CNBC TV, through the Transparency Times and through many speaking slots at conferences in the UK and overseas, more and more people have heard about our aims and objectives and stepped forward to get involved.
The response to what the Transparency Task Force is all about has been profoundly positive because professionally-minded people align very naturally with what we call our ‘North Star’ question: “What’s best for the consumer?”
Our members have been organised and mobilised into our Groups.
About our membership
As of December 5th 2020 we have over 2,700 members around the world.
How to access a TTF Group Zoom meeting
Scroll down for full details for the next round of Zoom meetings; use this link https://zoom.us/j/2281276828 for each one.
If you are in the UK and you want to dial in, use one of the UK numbers shown below;
your Meeting ID is: 228 127 6828
One tap mobile
+441314601196,,2281276828# United Kingdom 442030512874,,2281276828#
Or use any of these options:
+44 131 460 1196 United Kingdom
+44 203 051 2874 United Kingdom
+44 203 481 5237 United Kingdom
+44 203 481 5240 United Kingdom
If you are outside the UK and you want to dial in, click on the “find your local number” link below;
your Meeting ID is also: 228 127 6828
Find your local number: https://zoom.us/u/acqGH9lkZC
If you have any issues with the process please contact us or call +44 (0) 7494 991 773.
Our Debt Group is for members that have an interest in helping debt to become less troublesome and burdensome to those in it.
It will appeal to individuals and organisations focused on helping people to cope with, get out of and stay out of debt.
We are particularly interested in:
- Mortgage Prisoners
- Buy Now Pay Later
Our Governance, Culture and Conduct Group is for a wide range of professionals and stakeholders who are keen to help keep the sector “on the straight and narrow.”
It is therefore relevent to people involved in:
- Risk Management
- Legal including litigation
- General Counsel; and so on
The Group will appeal especially to:
- Professionals that like the idea of working across an often-siloed part of the market that is absolutely essential to keeping the financial services operating correctly
- Those whose professional purpose is to guard against malpractice, malfeasance, misconduct and miss-selling; and/or deal with the outfall when it occurs
The Financial Stability Group was launched on 13th September 2017, at a Transparency Symposium held in London entitled
“It must never happen again!”
The event was all about the causes and consequences of the Global Financial Crisis and in particular the part that a lack of transparency played. The date of the event was chosen because it marked the 10-year anniversary, to the day, that Northern Rock collapsed.
The Financial Stability Group has been working together to establish what more can be done by Governments and Regulators around the World to build greater resilience into the financial ecosystem. This is important work because the overall conclusion from our 13th September 2017 event and similar symposia we have run since is that despite the fact that we were ‘10 years on’ from the Global Financial Crisis there are many risks that have still not been mitigated fully.
We want to shine a light on that, in a collaborative, constructive and consensus-building way.
Our Protecting the Wealth of the Vulnerable Elderly Group was initiated as a direct result of a presentation given at our first Financial Planning symposium, held in January 2020. One of the presenters, Seb Elwell, explained the big and growing problem of the risk of elderly people becoming victims of financial abuse and exploitation .
Part of the problem is the way that the UK’s Pension Freedom reforms has meant that many elderly people will have very large sums of money that could be accessed by a wide range of people; from family members that have been granted inappropriate levels of control over that capital who have succumbed to temptation; all the way through to outright criminals that wouldn’t hesitate to find ways to trick the elderly into parting with their money.
Seb explained how the problem can be likened to the “Fire Triangle” (oxygen, fuel and heat); because the combination of Accessible Wealth + Vulnerability + poor Supervision = Risk; and it’s that risk we want to mitigate.
This TTF Group will be developing a range of ideas, policy initiatives, regulatory reform proposals, legislative reform proposals and market conduct best practice initiatives to help better protect the elderly and their money. Those ideas will be centred around, but not confined to the ideas such as: incorporating better safeguarding into Lasting Power of Attorneys, optimising the use of Deputies, reforming the way the Court of Protection works, and so on.
This Group’s cause is both noble and necessary; and we’re pleased to report that an impressive list of “dream team” stakeholders have already stepped up to become “part of the solution.”
Please do get in touch if you would like to be included – all help wanted and appreciated, however small.
Download a table of stakeholders already engaged with our “Bringing the Violation Tracker to the UK” project
Download a PDF of the Endorsements for Violation Tracker UK from RSA Fellows
- This TTF Group has a very specific purpose – to help countries outside the USA have access to a country-specific version of the awesome US database that covers regulatory violations including violations by financial services organisations, including banks.
Some 20 years of “blood, sweat and tears” has gone into developing Violation Tracker as a first class resource in the USA and the TTF is helping to accelerate its international expansion.
What exactly is Violation Tracker?
It’s a database that shows which organisations have broken the rules; which rules they have broken and how much they have been prosecuted for their violations.
You can therefore think of Violation Tracker as a:
- “Transparency Machine” or as an
- “MRI Scanner for corporate malpractice, malfeasance, misconduct and mis-selling” or as a
- Governance experts
- Regulators and regulatory experts
- Pension funds and pensions professionals including scheme trustees
- Asset managers; particularly those with a strong ESG orientation
- Climate change & sustainability activists and campaigners – it provides superb “campaign capital”
- Thought leaders and academics
- Politicians and policymakers
- Trades Unions
- Lawyers and litigators
- Media Professionals, particularly investigative journalists
This TTF Group’s cause is both noble and necessary; and we’re pleased to report that an impressive list of “dream team” stakeholders have already stepped up to work together to help make become Violation Tracker UK a reality; see this press release.
Please do get in touch if you would like to be included – all help wanted and appreciated, however small.
If you’re not yet familiar with Violation tracker, see here.
The TTF provides the Secretariat for the APPG on Pension Scams.
The Secretariat operates through a Secretariat Committee.
A separate website has been developed for the APPG on Pension Scams. You can access it here.
Our Authentic Communications Group is for individuals that like the idea of working collaboratively to help improve the standard of communications throughout financial services.
Transparency generates data that has the potential to be useful. Whether it is useful or not depends on how well the data is turned into clear and intelligible information; and that’s the job of communications and communications professionals.
Financial Technology is a natural ally of transparency and all that the TTF is looking to achieve, because:
- Fintech makes possible the systematic production and reporting of data that consumers need to make well-informed decisions about financial matters
- Fintech can drive down the sector’s cost base through enhancing and harnessing interoperability; thereby enabling consumers to get better value for money from the financial products and services they use
- Fintech can drive interoperability across the industry as a whole, providing the consumer with a more “joined up” user experience as well as far superior data security
TTF’s Fintech, Interoperability and Open Finance Group is therefore for individuals representing organisations that have technologies available that positively align with the TTF’s overall aims and objectives to help drive better outcomes for consumers.
Financial Planning, when done well, is hugely valuable but there is a great deal of variance in the levels of quality, transparency and professionalism in the sector. It is clear that whilst some financial planners operate to the very highest ethical standards, embracing transparency as a force for good; others seem not to.
This Group is for those in the financial planning profession that want to help drive greater professionalism into the sector.
The present campaign objective is to explore how to improve the quality of safeguarding within Lasting Powers of Attorney; an area we know to be highly problematic and at risk of widespread malpractice.
The TTF provides the Secretariat for the APPG on Personal Banking & Fairer Financial Services.
The Secretariat operates through a Secretariat Committee.
A separate website has been developed for the APPG on Personal Banking & Fairer Financial Services; you can access it here.
This TTF Group is inspired by the belief that:
… as mentioned by Christine Lagarde back in 2012.
We are very keen to help ensure that the female perspective is given every opportunity to be proactively promoted. The purpose of the Group is to provide a forum in which ladies can share their thoughts about what is needed to influence the workings of the financial services sector so that it can do a better job of serving society.
There have been many amazing women who have positively influenced the way the financial services sector functions.
In particular, Iceland’s Halla Tómasdóttir has been an inspiration for the formation of this Group. If you aren’t yet familiar with Halla, her work or her values, here’s a great place to start – watch this!
Of course, all females are welcome to join and lead the Group.
Many scam victims have been battling for years to try to get the justice they deserve. In some cases, they have lost everything.
There have even been some that have paid the ultimate price for the activities of dishonest people that have tricked them out of their life savings and pension funds i.e. they have taken their own lives.
We are doing a huge amount of work in this space, actively looking for ways to help the public to be better protected from being scammed in the first place; and to provide them with more and better support if they have become a scam victim.
We believe this Group is needed because:
- There has been widespread malpractice, malfeasance, misconduct and miss-selling by people in and connected to the financial services sector
- There has also been a huge increase in the amount of scamming, fraud and financial crime taking place
- Those harmed often find it very difficult to get redress and justice
- The lack of an effective class/group action system in the UK represents a significant barrier to justice
- The lack of a support framework for victims makes a very bad situation even worse
We believe there is substantial value in bringing together those who have suffered and those that may be able to help.
A large, collective effort is needed to:
- Create an effective campaign approach to drive the much-needed reform of the system
- Constructively and confidently challenge “the establishment” including the regulators when it is appropriate to do so, with the intention of driving reform where needed
- Create the critical mass required to make the professional input needed from specialists including legal professionals, more economic and more efficient
- Enable the efficient and valuable sharing of intelligence and insight
- Ensure there is sufficient political support to drive through the many regulatory changes that are needed
- Be a representative collective voice for those that have been harmed
- Harness the vital support of the media.
We believe that financial services whistleblowers provide a very positive benefit to society but we also believe that the authorities often fail to protect them.
Our whistleblowing group is focused on what can be done to better protect whistleblowers and ensuring that all stakeholders, especially the financial regulators, deal with whistleblowers in a supportive and protective manner.
We will also be doing what we can to help whistleblowers who have suffered as a consequence of reporting any kind of malpractice, malfeasance, misconduct or mis-selling in the financial services sector.
Furthermore, this group will draw attention to the contributions made by particular whistleblowers by awarding a “Whistleblower’s Trophy” from time to time.
Finally, we shall also be researching the experience that whistleblowers have had when interacting with the Financial Conduct Authority and other organisations.
The Pensions Group is shining a light on many issues that are relevant to driving good outcomes for pension savers.
The scope of the Group is very extensive – we consider issues relating to Auto Enrolment, DC Pensions, DB Pensions, CDC; accumulation and decumulation.
In general terms our focus will be on what reforms are needed to maximise the value for money that pension savers get. The Group’s specific campaign objectives will be decided by its members, as with all our groups, but here are some of the possibilities:
- Value for money
- The Net Pay/Relief at Source scandal
- Regulatory arbitrage between GPPs and MasterTrusts
- CDC; how can we help build the momentum?
- DB liabilities – do they need recalibrating?
- Scheme governance – is it as good as it should be?
- Scheme consolidation – would members be better off?
This Group is about the world’s capital markets becoming a ‘force for good’. To explain its name:
The P is for Purpose; I is for Impact Investing; S is for Sustainability; C is for Climate Change; E is for Environment, Social and Governance; and S is for Socially Responsible Investing.
There is tremendous scope for the way the financial services sector influences what happens in our world and this Group is all about striving to make that happen.
Our PISCES Group will be of great interest to:
- Asset managers; particularly those with a strong ESG orientation
- Climate change & sustainability activists, campaigners and academics
- Civil Society Groups
- Those with an interest in Responsible Investing
- Politicians and policymakers
- Trades Unions
- Media Professionals
This TTF Group is for people interested in the vital role that leadership can play in helping to reform the financial services sector.
This Group is focused on increasing understanding about what makes values-based and virtues-based leaders “tick” and how to help spread their positive influence around the sector.
We are creating the International League of Ethical Financial Services Leaders to be a network of leaders within the financial services sector that have earned a great reputation for leading with a “principles before profit” mindset. These individuals are key to helping reform the financial services because they have first-hand experience of achieving great commercial success without compromising their integrity.
We have produced some general videos about this Group’s work; see here.
We are also creating video interviews of values-based leaders; who are also playing their part in helping to write the Manifesto of the International League of Ethical Financial Services Leaders. That Manifesto is a very exciting work in progress.
Our Regulators Watch Group is for those that want to scrutinise the activity and effectiveness of financial regulators, be they in the UK or elsewhere.
The Transparency Task Force is a “critical friend” to financial services regulators. We see our value in helping to ensure financial regulators are aware of what more they could be doing to help protect the interests of consumers. We have always enjoyed a heathy working relationship with regulators; we see ourselves as being on their side, always thinking about what more they can do to become as effective as possible.
If ever we feel there is a need to be critical, we will be critical; but in a constructive way. In particular, when we identify what we see as shortcomings we will always seek to offer pragmatic solutions as well. We sincerely hope that our “critical friend” positioning with regulators will be welcomed by any and all regulators that are keen to receive constructive, well-intended feedback.
This group is therefore designed to appeal to individuals and organisations that have an interest in the effectiveness of financial regulators and want to play a part in constructively scrutinising their work. We are particularly interested in those that want to work with us to provide constructive, well-intended and evidence-based input that is designed to help protect the interest of consumers.
The group is likely to be especially useful to those that lead campaign groups that represent the interests of those that have been harmed by the financial services sector.
Our Investments Group is about encouraging the world’s investment industry to behave in a more progressive and pro-consumer way; to be more determined to put their clients’ interests first, wherever possible.
The Group’s purpose is to
- Help encourage reform of the investment sector so that consumers get a better experience and better outcomes
- Facilitate collaboration between investment industry stakeholders to encourage pro-consumer reform
The Group was initiated in response to the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority’s Asset Management Market Study which was justifiably critical of the way parts of the investment industry have been operating.
This Group has members in many parts of the sector including:
- Asset Management
- Private Equity
- Hedge Funds
- Investment Consulting
- Fiduciary Management; and so on.
We have already had some great successes including some ground-breaking research on costs & charges that made it all the way to the front page of the Financial Times.
Furthermore, our efforts played an important part in the Work and Pensions Select Committee opening an enquiry into costs and transparency in pensions and investments.
The Foreign Exchange market is full of opacity that adversely affects consumers and institutional investors. Our FX Group published a constructive critique of the Global FX Code in July 2017, explaining why the Code doesn’t go far enough to make costs in FX sufficiently transparent. The White Paper drew acknowledgement and response from the Competition & Markets Authority and the Economic Secretary at HM Treasury. The Group continues to shine a light on the reforms needed to help create a fair, transparent, competitive and efficient FX market that delivers value for money to the individuals and institutions that use it.
Similarly, the Payments Sector is a remarkably important part of the financial ecosystem and it is in desperate need of reform to help ensure the consumer is being treated fairly.
Our members interested in Payments will:
- Help ensure consumers are not being adversely effected by hidden costs being applied to themselves or the retailers they make purchases through
- Highlight the importance of payments as a financial services product in its own right, as well as payments being a critical UK and global economic infrastructure
- Inform stakeholders of the major changes in the payments market, especially the replacement of cash with digital payment methods
- Share knowledge on major market and regulatory developments, such as Open Banking and the Revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2)
- Respond to strategic regulatory and policy initiatives, such as the UK future of cash review and EU payment card regulation review
Our Banks and Building Societies Group campaigns for business and retail customers to be treated in a more transparent way; for example, by changing the way Banks describe their ‘free if in credit’ current accounts and how charges are applied.
The highlight so far has been the publication of a well-received White Paper on our reform proposals, presented at special meeting held at the House of Commons in June 2017 and Chaired by Lord Cromwell. The event and White Paper was covered by The Times. Very good progress has been made on the opacity of costs and charges front; and we are now looking at what more can be done for Banks to properly support those that have been scammed.
One of the Group’s members, Heather Buchanan, is Director of Policy & Strategy at the All Party Parliamentary Group on Financial Stability; which the team actively supports.
Another member is Richard Emery, who is a seasoned campaigner for banking reform in relation to matters such as Push-Payment Fraud.
The Group has recently welcomed members from Building Societies as well. We are interested in the potential benefits of mutuals and cooperative organisational structures when it comes to governance, culture and risk.
There are many academics around the world that have an interest in the workings of the world’s financial ecosystem.
Many such academics have a great deal to offer in terms of their insight, understanding and research on topics that matter a great deal to the TTF community.
The purpose of our Academics Group is to create a forum whereby academics around the world that have an active interest in the financial services sector can informally discuss their work, interests and academic aspirations with a view to developing consensus around what the major issues are and what could be done about them.
Ultimately, as with all the TTF groups, we are striving to bring together honest, ethical people that have a desire to help drive the positive, progressive and purposeful reform that is so desperately needed.
All academics are welcome regardless of where they are in the world, their perspective or their seniority.
We have encountered many individuals who have retired from the financial services sector who, when they reflect on their time in it are keen to improve the way it works. They want to “put something back.”
This TTF Group is for retired financial services professionals that want to volunteer to help the TTF in its mission to promote ongoing reform of the financial sector, so that it serves society better.
All retired financial services professionals are welcome, regardless of where they are in the world.
Please do step forward and volunteer – we need all the help we can get.
This TTF Group is for those that are enthusiastic about the potential for professional pledges, oaths & affirmations to positively influence conduct in the Financial Sector.
The group will be working together to develop pledges, oaths and affirmations that can be used around the world, developed through blending known international best practice and all the very latest thought leadership in this increasingly important space.
Data Standards in Financial Services
Friday, April 23rd
2:00PM to 2:45PM UK time
Watch the Exploring how to Deliver Data Standards in the Financial Services Sector” – a special TTF event with the Bank of England and FCA
This TTF Group is for those interested in helping to drive improvements in data infrastructure and regulatory reporting throughout the financial services sector through the optimisation of interoperability and data standards.
TTF’s interest in this topic is that better regulatory reporting will lead to greater transparency, lower operating costs for the sector, better data security, better consumer outcomes and so on.
There are enormous benefits to be had through developing more and better data standards within the financial services sector; but the barriers to progress are significant.
There are technical challenges to be overcome and there is obviously the need for all stakeholders to adopt a highly collaborative mindset for there to be any real hope of significant progress. Fortunately, we have assembled a highly talented, highly motivated and highly collaborative group, with tremendous subject-matter expertise
Participants come from around the world and have a wide range of perspectives; but they are united in the desire to help drive transformational change in the use of data standards for the financial services sector, particularly in the regulatory reporting space.
This TTF Group is for those interested in the potential for Complementary Currencies to help solve fiscal and societal problems.
Frequently asked questions
No – you can be involved as much or as little as you want
We are always seeking to build consensus around our North Star Question which is “What is best for the consumer?”
No – we welcome and want a wide range of views; you’ll be free to “say it as you see it”
We have quarterly Zoom meetings that last just 45 minutes, so it’s not too onerous at all. Furthermore, there is no need for you to make every meeting, just those that are convenient for you.
See the table at the bottom of this web page where you will find full details about timings of each of the Zoom meetings and the access details you need.
Each of the Groups has one or more campaign objective. If you want to be involved in helping to drive a particular campaign forward you can; but there is no compulsion to do so.
Yes you can. We would hope that as time went by you would want to participate in our activity but there is no compulsion for you to do so
Generally speaking we follow these steps; always building consensus through frank and open discussion as we go and always seeking to work together in a constructive, cooperative and collaborative manner:
- Step 1: We identify a part of the financial services sector that we believe could function in a better way for the consumer
Step 2: We reach out to people with subject-matter expertise in that particular part of the market who might be keen to work collaboratively with others to help improve the way that part of the market functions
Step 3: We organise and mobilise the volunteers into a solution-orientated Group
Step 4: We facilitate the development of the Group’s objectives and a pragmatic campaign strategy to achieve those objectives
Step 5: We liaise with relevent members of the press, regulators, parliamentarians, government officials, leading academics, thought leaders and so on to create supportive engagement, analysis and insight
Step 6: We implement the campaign strategy, which is normally a combination of activities such as research, producing White Papers, running Thought Leadership events, responding to consultations, holding meetings with key decision-makers and influencers, raising awareness through the press and so on
Step 7: We continue to facilitate the ongoing development of the Group’s work
Yes, you may
Yes, please do. The TTF has grown by word of mouth so we would appreciate you doing whatever you can to let people you know have a chance to get involved. Please forward them a link to this web page so they can read about what we are doing and decide for themselves if they want to be included.