Groups

Introduction

Our Groups are the engine room of the collaborative, campaigning community that is the Transparency Task Force.

If you already know that you want to join one or more of our Groups click here to let us know. 

Otherwise, read on to get further information

Our Groups are not just ‘talking-shops’ or a ‘whinge-fests’ – they are pragmatically undertaking work that can make a difference.

They are a consensus-building ‘coalition of the willing’, working together to be ‘part of the solution’. We are proud of our collective efforts to make a difference; especially given how little resource we have to work with. 

Each Group has at least one campaign worthwhile project underway, designed to harness the transformational power of transparency to drive the much-needed change that the consumer deserves and the reputation of the Financial Services sector needs.

Given how much needs sorting in Financial Services we’re obviously going to be busy for a long and we’re always on the lookout for good people that want to get involved.

So if you would ‘rather stand up than stand by’ and would like to know more about how you can get included and do your bit please get in touch.

You can scroll to the bottom of this page to:

  • Download a spreadsheet showing who is involved with each of our Special Interest Groups
  • View all the details you need for the next round of quarterly Zoom meetings

How the Groups started

The first Transparency Task Force meeting was held on 6th May 2015 at Senate House, London University. The meeting was about the need for the financial services industry to rebuild trust in the sector; and about the correlation between transparency, truthfulness and trustworthiness. The message delivered was 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.We referred to the famous Margaret Mead quote: 

 

Our call for right-minded 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 and Radio 4, through publication of 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?”

Volunteers have been organized and mobilized into our Groups; with each one being made up people with subject-matter expertise and interest in a particular field.

We started off with a handful of teams but we now have 12.

In total our Special Interest Groups have over 1,600 people involved; mostly in the UK but across 16 countries altogether.

Our Groups’ members are a ‘coalition of the willing’, working together to be ‘part of the solution’. 

Each team is focused on at least one campaign objective.

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, 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.

Here’s a brief overview about each of our Groups:

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 suits individuals that like the idea of working collaboratively with like-minded people to help improve the way the sector operates.

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.

The Group is interested in topics such as:

  • Improving the transparency on costs and charges
  • Improving the transparency on performance disclosure
  • Improving the transparency on risk disclosures 
  • Developing a Global Transparency Index; whereby an Index is produced to highlight pro-transparency best practice around the world. It will allow countries to benchmark themselves against others in terms of how transparent their financial services ecosystems are. The Global Transparency Index is designed to be an invaluable resource for Governments and Regulators. Our initial focus is to be the UK, USA, Canada, Australia and the Netherlands. We hope the Index will accelerate the rate at which the Financial Services industry around the world moves to a more transparent state; and therefore, a fairer and more efficient state, enabling better outcomes for millions of people globally, whilst creating the right conditions for a competitive, vibrant and flourishing investment sector

We believe that the right kind of reforms can encourage a more competitive and efficient market and thereby generate better net results to savers and investors.

This group has already had some great successes:

  • Ground-breaking research on costs & charges that made it all the way to the front page of the Financial Times
  • A very special meeting held at the House of Commons in September 2016 that was Co-Chaired by Tom Tugendhat MBE MP. The event was the first ‘Transparency Strategy Summit’ in the World, and dealt with the question: “What can we collectively do to help protect the UK’s pension savers from hidden costs and charges?” 

This Group continues to campaign for pro-consumer reform and has been highly engaged with the relevant UK Regulators and Government Departments, particularly the Financial Conduct Authority, The Competition & Markets Authority, The Pensions Regulator, The Financial Reporting Council, the Department for Work and Pensions and the Work and Pensions Select Committee. 

Our efforts played an important part in the Work and Pensions Select Committee opening an enquiry into costs and transparency in pensions and investments.

This Group is for you if you are part of a financial services Trade Body, Professional Association, Standards Board and so on. 

The Group’s purpose is to encourage pan-sector collaboration and to explore how trustworthiness and confidence in the sector can be restored. 

This Group has great potential to help to improve outcomes for consumers by raising the bar in terms of the standards of ethics, professionalism, conduct and integrity. 

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

 

The Pensions Group will be looking to shine a light on many issues that are relevant to driving good outcomes for pension savers.

The scope of the Group will be very extensive – we will be looking into 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:

  • Error rates in AE
  • Scheme selection issues in AE
  • 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?

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

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.

Our Authentic Communications Group is for individuals that like the idea of working collaboratively to help improve the standard of communications throughout financial services

Our Banks and Building Societies Group has been campaigning for the Banks to treat their business and retail customers 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 the SIG is 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, why 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. 

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 (thereby embracing transparency as a force for good); others seem not to. 

This Group is for those in the financial planning profession that want to 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. 

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 
  • 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 those that have suffered.

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
  • Be a representative collective voice for those that have been harmed
  • Harness the vital support of the media

We seek to attract 5 types of members into this Group:

  1. Those who have been harmed by any kind of financial malpractice, misconduct, malfeasance or miss-selling
  2. Those who run representative groups of people who have been harmed. This Group can help to bring such Groups together, on the basis that we can achieve more together
  3. Those who may be in a position to help those who have been harmed. The help received may be on a voluntary or commercial basis and we understand that this Group to be of interest to lawyers, litigators, litigation funders and so on. We want to attract anybody that has professional capability and resource that is willing to either offer their services on a pro-bono basis or on genuinely preferential terms
  4. Those in the media who may be willing and able to help raise awareness of the issues this Group will be campaigning on
  5. Politicians, policymakers and regulators who support the Groups overall aims and objectives

Our aims are:

  • To campaign for the interests of those that have suffered harm – we want them to get due redress, compensation and justice; and we want their cases and their experience to help drive positive, progressive and purposeful reform
  • To seek to influence and lobby for regulatory and legal change, including, for example:
  1. That police forces are able to recoup their costs incurred when they succesfully prosecute financial crime; the present situation is a systemic weakness that desperately needs sorting
  2. That HMRC treat victims of pension scams fairly and proportionately
  3. That the UK introduces a US-style class-action mechanism that enables efficient judicial process for victims of financial malpractice

We shall focus initially on UK matters but given the truly international reach of the Transparency Task Force it can, in due course and when the time is right, be able to support victims of financial malpractice outside the UK. The world needs a global body to help scam victims, and this could be the beginnings of such an entity

We believe the Malpractice, Malfeasance, Misconduct and Mis-selling Group has the potential to become a significant force for good; but we are also mindful of the fact that for it to realise its full potential it will require resource. 

Being blunt, the more resource we have the more we can do – without resource we are seriously constrained; that’s the harsh reality of the situation and we are already running ‘flat out’ with very restrictive resource constraints

The Group will also be working hard to help whistleblowers. 

Individuals that blow the whistle as a result of becoming aware of malpractice, malfeasance, misconduct and mis-selling within the financial services sector provide a valuable service to society.

By reporting malpractice, they help to accelerate the rate at which the organisations, regulators and the judiciary can put things right and deal with offenders appropriately.

However, blowing the whistle can be challenging and fraught with all kinds of problems and risks. 

The sort of questions that might go through the mind of somebody that is considering whether to report something include:

  • What if I’m wrong and I’m just misinterpreting what is happening?
  • What if it all gets very messy and I have to appear as a witness in court?
  • How will the perpetrators respond to what I have done? – will they “come after me” in some way?
  • What will this do to my career prospects where I work?
  • What will my work colleagues, friends and family think of what I have done?
  • If I leave the firm, what will this do to my job prospects?
  • Will I come to regret it?
  • Should I just side-step all the grief by not reporting and hope somebody else does?
  • Do I have a moral, professional, or legal responsibility to report?
  • Could this all backfire for me somehow?
  • What if the press were to get involved?
  • Others seem comfortable and able to turn a blind eye about what is going on. Am I just over-reacting to what I have learned?
  • There is so much uncertainty – would I come to regret it?
  • Should I just play safe and ignore what I know?
  • What if it gets seriously serious?
  • Would I be placing myself and my family in some kind of danger?
  • How confident am I that “the system” will protect me for doing what I believe to be the right thing?

It is widely accepted that being a whistle-blower brings challenges; and sometimes those challenges can be mountainous. 

We hope that the work of our Malpractice, Malfeasance, Misconduct and Mis-selling Group may be able to make a difference by:

  • Shining a bright light on the issues impacting whistleblowers
  • Promoting whistleblowing as a good thing to do; because it is
  • Providing moral, social, and technical support to whistleblowers
  • To facilitate the sharing of knowledge, insights and experience amongst whistleblowers
  • To constructively challenge the way “the system” deals with whistleblowers with a view to identifying potential improvements to the rules and regulations that surround it
  • Carrying out meaningful research and analysis; and then presenting that information to regulators and other key stakeholders
  • Helping to accelerate the journey towards defining and disseminating whistleblowing best practice; such that society as a whole can benefit from the valuable service whistleblowers provide.

This Group is about the world’s capital markets becoming a ‘force for good’. To explain the name of the SIG: 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’s lead campaign is what we call “Mandatory Fact-Finding,” an idea that financial advisers should establish whether their clients have any values-based preferences (for example, to not invest in a manner that worsens climate change) before recommending a suitable investment fund.

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 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.

The Group produced a White Paper entitled “Ideas to help reduce the chance of another Global Financial Crisis” which we presented at the House of Commons on 7th February 2018. The meeting went very well; so much so that it initiated the beginnings of an All Party Parliamentary Group on Financial Stability; we are very proud of that – over 15 Parliamentarians expressed interest in being involved involved in developing fledgling policy initiatives for subsequent evaluation by organisations such as The Bank of England, The Financial Conduct Authority, The Financial Reporting Council and so on.

The financial services sector is profoundly important to the wellbeing of society. It is a sector that has to be trusted to function correctly, yet it often behaves in a manner that leads to distrust. In fact, according to the Edelman Trust Barometer, financial services is the least trusted sector of all. That’s a systemic problem to be solved, given the harsh reality that the financial services sector relies on being trusted.

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:

  • Governance 
  • Regulation
  • Compliance
  • Risk Management
  • Legal including litigation
  • Audit
  • Custodianship
  • Stewardship
  • Culture
  • Conduct
  • Virtues-Based Leadership
  • 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

We anticipate that by working collaboratively the Group’s members can become more inclusive, proactive and purposeful; thinking about the “bigger picture” more than they ordinarily would.

We are looking to find ways to help pre-empt the kind of systemic market failings that prevent consumers getting good outcomes and cause extensive reputational damage.

This TTF Group is for people interested in the vital role that leadership can play in helping to reform the financial services sector. We are focused on issues such as values-based and virtues-based leaders.

About our General Introduction Group

Our General Introduction Group is for individuals that are quite new to the Transparency Task Force and don’t yet know which of the topic-specific Groups or geographic-specific Chapters to join. This Group does not have any specific focus or campaign objective; it exists as a “holding position”.

We have 4 Zoom meetings per quarter for our General Introduction Group; you can choose to attend any. As you would expect they are very general and introductory in nature. We hope you find them welcoming.

They last for 45 minutes and are held on a Monday at the times shown below. The times shown are UK times but these meetings can be joined by anybody from any part of the world. 

  • From 05:00 to 05:45 UK time
  • From 07:00 to 07:45 UK time
  • From 14:00 to 14:45 UK time
  • From 16:00 to 16:45 UK time

For full details about when the next round of General Introduction Group meetings are, scroll down towards the bottom f this web page.

Thank you. 
About our Group members

If you would like to download the spreadsheet to see our members, please contact us to request the password.

Please note that any government employees, officials or regulators included in the spreadsheet that can be downloaded below are involved in an observing-only capacity.

How to access a Group Zoom meeting
Scroll down to see the dates and times of each of our next round of quarterly Zoom meetings. 

We use Zoom for our Group meetings. The access details for each one of the meetings are shown in the table below; the access details are the same for each one. 

To access a meeting it is best to click on to the Zoom link; but you could dial-in. 

………………………………………………………….

To access by Zoom

Click on the Zoom link below: 

https://zoom.us/j/2281276828

………………………………………………………….

 

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# 

+United Kingdom

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.

 

Thank you!

When to access a Group Zoom meeting

Dates and times are shown clearly below.

All times shown are UK times, but all of these meetings can be joined by anybody from anywhere in the world.

General Introduction Group, Session #1

Monday, July 6th

05:00 to 05:45 UK time

https://zoom.us/j/2281276828

 

General Introduction Group, Session #2

Monday, July 6th

12:00 to 12:45 UK time

https://zoom.us/j/2281276828

 

General Introduction Group, Session #3

Monday, July 6th

14:00 to 14:45 UK time

https://zoom.us/j/2281276828

 

General Introduction Group, Session #4

Monday, July 6th

16:00 to 16:45 UK time

https://zoom.us/j/2281276828

Governance, Culture and Conduct

Tuesday, July 7th

12:00 to 12:45 UK time

https://zoom.us/j/2281276828

Financial Stability

Tuesday, July 7th

14:00 to 14:45 UK time

https://zoom.us/j/2281276828

Trade Bodies & Professional Associations

Tuesday, July 7th

16:00 to 16:45 UK time

https://zoom.us/j/2281276828

Authentic Communications

Wednesday, July 8th

12:00 to 12:45 UK time

https://zoom.us/j/2281276828

Fintech, Interoperability and Open Finance

Wednesday, July 8th

14:00 to 14:45 UK time

https://zoom.us/j/2281276828

Financial Planning

Wednesday, July 8th

16:00 to 16:45 UK time

https://zoom.us/j/2281276828

Malpractice, Malfeasance, Misconduct and Mis-selling

Thursday, July 9th

12:00 to 12:45 UK time

https://zoom.us/j/2281276828

Pensions

Thursday, July 9th

14:00 to 14:45 UK time

https://zoom.us/j/2281276828

PISCES

Thursday, July 9th

16:00 to 16:45 UK time

https://zoom.us/j/2281276828

Leadership

Thursday, July 9th

18:00 to 18:45 UK time

https://zoom.us/j/2281276828

Banks and Building Societies

Friday, July 10th

12:00 to 12:45 UK time

https://zoom.us/j/2281276828

Foreign Exchange and Payments

Friday, July 10th

14:00 to 14:45 UK time

https://zoom.us/j/2281276828

Investments

Friday, July 10th

16:00 to 16:45 UK time

https://zoom.us/j/2281276828