What is the Transparency Task Force all about?
The Transparency Task Force is unique. We seek to operate in a collaborative, collegiate and consensus-building way; focusing on solutions not blame. We seek to effect the change the financial services sector needs and the consumer deserves.
Within the Transparency Task Force we fully understand that “sunlight is the best disinfectant” and we have first-hand experience of succesfully harnessing the transformational power of transparency to help fix what’s wrong.
Here’s an overview of what we are about and what we have been doing:
- Since May 2015 we have worked very hard to build a collaborative, campaigning community dedicated to driving up the levels of transparency in financial services. Our community is made up of people who are motivated to work together, collaboratively, to help improve the way the finance sector works for the benefit of its own reputation and the millions of people it serves.
- We believe there is a strong correlation between transparency, truthfulness and trustworthiness; so if we want the finance industry to regain trustworthiness we all need to act in a consistently transparent manner. Our community believes that high levels of transparency are a pre-requisite for fairer, safer more stable and more efficient financial markets being able to drive better outcomes and better value for money for consumers. The people involved in our community share the view that the financial services sector is profoundly important to the wellbeing of society; but also that there is a great deal wrong with it that needs to change
- We have organised and mobilised over 800 people into 22 Special Interest Groups; with each Special Interest Group having a clearly defined finance reform objective. For example, we have Special Interest Groups on Asset Management, Pensions, Banking, Foreign Exchange and so on. For more information about our Special Interest Groups see here: https://www.transparencytaskforce.org/teams-of-volunteers/
- We are developing a global network of good people who are well placed to help advance the finance reform agenda. These people are the Transparency Task Force Ambassadors; you can see who they are here: https://www.transparencytaskforce.org/ttf-ambassadors/
- We have created a highly credible Advisory Board, Chaired by John Howard, former Chair of the Financial Conduct Authority’s Financial Services Consumer Panel. John also presented the BBC’s consumer programme, “You and Yours” for over fourteen years. For details of who else is on our Advisory Board, see here:https://www.transparencytaskforce.org/about-1/advisory-board/
- We frequently run symposia; each one carefully designed to galvanise support for finance reform. Most of these symposia have had direct involvement from the financial regulators and each one has built momentum for the cause from one to the next
- We have been regularly featured in the trade press; and we have been mentioned in the national newspapers including an important piece that covered some of our research which appeared on the front page of the Financial Times. We have been on BBC Radio 4 three times; the most recent being in a special programme entitled The Transparency Detectives. You can listen to it here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09nxznc
- We have responded to numerous regulatory consultations and published several White Papers. We have an excellent working relationship with the UK regulators
- We have published the Transparency Times every month since May 2016. It carries articles from people wanting to share their insights and experiences and it now goes to well over 10,000 people each month
- We award Transparency Trophies to champions of campaigning and finance reform at each of our events
The Transparency Task Force View
At the Transparency Task Force, we believe that:
- The innocent vast majority are paying a heavy reputational price for the poor conduct of the “mischievous minority” in the financial services sector
- Whilst we are not be to blame for the situation it is in our collective interest to try to solve it
- Everybody involved in the sector has a moral, ethical and professional duty to help rebuild trust and confidence
- If the key stakeholders work together in an organised and coordinated manner, serious, systematic and systemic improvements can be made
- Margaret Mead was right when she famously stated that “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has”
- Whilst we do not know how successful our attempts to make a difference will be; we do know that the only way we can truly fail is to not even try
We bring people together to build consensus and campaign to drive positive, progressive and purposeful finance reform
In many ways, a key success factor for the overall project is whether we can bring key stakeholders together. We believe we can do that very well, and one reason for that is we already have a good working relationship with a very extensive network of key people.
As Founding Chair of the Transparency Task Force, Andy Agathangelou has an extensive contact base of key stakeholders such as:
- Our Ambassadors around the world, see here: https://www.transparencytaskforce.org/ttf-ambassadors/
- Our Special Interest Groups, see here: https://www.transparencytaskforce.org/teams-of-volunteers/
- Our Advisory Board, see here: https://www.transparencytaskforce.org/about-1/advisory-board/
- The 10,000+ people that receive the Transparency Times, see here: https://www.transparencytaskforce.org/transparency-times/
But in addition, the other roles he holds now or has held in the past also help to provide a large, natural network of interested parties, enabling the bringing together of many people including the key stakeholders who can drive positive, progressive and purposeful finance reform.
The other relevent roles are:
- He was the Founding Chair of Friends of the Association of Member Nominated Trustees. The AMNT provides a unique community for pension scheme trustees who have a very important part to pay in the governance and stewardship of pension schemes
- He conceived, helped create and lead Friends of Automatic Enrolment, becoming its Founding Chair.This group helped ensure the successful implementation of the Government’s policy on pensions automatic enrolment by bringing togethor all stakeholders including the Pensions Regulator, technology bodies, pension companies, asset managers, payroll bodies and so on. It was instrumental to the development and successful launch of PAPDIS, the Pensions and Payroll Data Interface Standard
- He is the Chair of the Interoperability Steering Groupwhose membership includes senior representatives from The Financial Conduct Authority, The Pensions Regulator, The Department for Work and Pensions, The Digital Cabinet Office, The Competition & Markets Authority, the Tax Incentivised Savings Association, The Pensions Administration Standards Association and many more. The Interoperability Steering Group is working collaboratively to drive up the levels of interoperability of data throughout the financial services sector, which will lower the cost base of the sector and thereby improve outcomes. We are looking at the UK initially but with an eye on what improvements can be made internationally too
- He is also a Governor of the UK’s Pensions Policy Institute, which is the independent research and educational, organisation with a charitable objective to inform the policy debate on pensions and retirement income provision.
- Fellow, of the RSA, the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce. Its purpose is to enrich society through ideas and action. The RSA believe that all human beings have creative capacities that, when understood and supported, can be mobilised to deliver a 21st century enlightenment. The RSA has 29,000 Fellows around the world, sharing powerful ideas, carrying out cutting-edge research, building networks, and creating opportunities for people to collaborate, helping to create fulfilling lives and a flourishing society.
Who should be included in this initiative?
Anybody that identifies with the mission to help fix what’s wrong in financial services and who wants to “stand up rather than stand by” should do all they possibly cant to participate and put their weight behind this initiative.
We make this bold statement because we are absolutely convinced that all stakeholders need to work together “to create the whole-system solution to the whole-system problem” that has been identified.
It is therefore very important to have representation from as wide a cross-section of stakeholders at each of our meetings as we possibly can; and we are particularly interested in having representation and input from:
- Financial Regulators
- Central Bankers
- Trade Bodies
- Professional Associations
- Retail and Institutional Investors
- Industry Observers, Commentators, the Media in general
- Academics and Researchers
- Campaign and Civil Society Groups
- Fiduciaries, Trustees, Fiduciary Managers
- Members of Trades Unions, Departments of Labor and similar organisations
- Bankers (particularly central bankers) and representatives of Banking organisations, associations and federations
- Risk Management Professionals
- Compliance Professionals
- Legal Professionals
- Technologists and Fintech organisations
- Pension Professionals
- Asset Managers
- Financial Planners
- Investment Consultants
Let’s not under-estimate the potential for like-minded people to drive transformational change so please do whatever you must to get involved in this truly pioneering project – just rearrange your schedule if you have to, because your input and response to what we’re going to be covering might make the difference that makes all the difference.
If it is physically impossible for you to take part, at the very least make sure your organisation is represented – you are welcome to forward a link to this information to your colleagues and contacts.