Are the Financial Regulators Fit for Purpose?

Register for the event

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When

Thursday, January 28th from 6:00pm until 8:00pm, UK time

Where

Online symposium via Zoom.

Format

There'll be a great line-up of speakers plus ample scope for discussion and debate

Why you should attend

In the UK, for example, there really is cause for concern – the 2 recently published independent reports, by Dame Gloster (regarding the LCF bondholders scandal) and by Raj Parker (regarding the Connaught scandal) both point conclusively to extensive regulatory failure issues at the Financial Conduct Authority. 

Beyond that, there have been many other instances where investors have been harmed including, perhaps best known, the Woodford saga. All of this has left people wondering whether the FCA has got a grip on things; and it follows that similar questions need to be asked about what’s happening in other countries. Australia is of particular interest, because of the well-documented revelations of regulatory failure there. Subject-matter expert Dr. Andy Schmulow points to regulatory capture being part of the problem; and his input into a recent TTF regulatory consultation submission helps to explain why: 

“The capture of regulators by the industries they regulate is a recognised phenomenon world-wide. It affects all regulators of all industries. This is a problem, because capture prevents a regulator from serving the public interest. A notable recent example is the evidence of the capture of the FAA in the US by Boeing, leading to the precipitous certification of the Boeing 737 Max, which came to light in the aftermath of two catastrophic crashes.

Ultimately capture of a regulator does not serve the industry by which it has been captured either. Boeing’s losses from having to stall production and sales of the 737 Max, and the liability of Boeing to airlines that had to ground their 737 Max fleet, and the damage to Boeing’s reputation and sales of other Boeing aircraft, is many multiples greater than would have been the cost to Boeing of a credible certification process.

While regulators of all industries (health care, telecommunications, passenger aircraft, oil and gas etc.) are susceptible to capture, evidence from around the world indicates that regulators of the financial system are more susceptible to capture than regulators of any other industry. Financial regulators fall first, and they fall furthest.

Capture takes many forms across a spectrum. From outright bribery (as was the case in Indonesia before the Asian Crisis, and the collapse of the Indonesian banking sector) all the way to the other end of the spectrum: subtle and insidious forms of capture almost impossible to observe. For example, ideological capture. An example of ideological capture is where staff in a regulator believe that what is good for the banks is good for the country.”​

Naturally, this symposium is not simply about criticising for the sake of it – that doesn’t achieve anything. The purpose of this symposium is to provide stakeholders with an opportunity to share their thoughts on what the underlying issues that lead to regulatory failure are; and even more importantly to focus on what potential improvements can be made. We therefore want candid yet constructive dialogue on what should be done to fix what’s broken, if indeed anything is broken and does need fixing. 

The TTF believes that “progress begins with realism” so we most definitely want the truth to be brought to the surface and we are of very comfortable “speaking truth to power”; but please note that as always we’ll be asking attendees to be courteous and constructive, regardless of how strongly they feel about the issues and how angry they may be about what has happened to them.

This event is particularly important and particularly timely; especially as Parliamentarians in the UK are calling for a discussion about what it would take to make the FCA fit for purpose; see here.

We’ve got a first class line-up of speakers and as always, we’ll be asking attendees to be courteous and constructive, regardless of how strongly they feel about the issues. 

Here's the programme and timings so far...

6pm GMT

Welcome to the symposium, introductions and initial exploration of the main issues; plus “Why we must rebuild trustworthiness and confidence in financial services; and how we can do it” by 

Andy Agathangelou, Founder, Transparency Task Force;  Governor, Pensions Policy Institute; Chair, Secretariat Committee, APPG on Pension Scams; Chair, Secretariat Committee, APPG on Personal Banking and Fairer Financial Services

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6:15pm GMT

Presentation #1, for 20 minutes + 10 minutes Q&A/Discussion by

Mark Bishop, Leader, Connaught Action Group

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6:45pm GMT

Presentation #2, for 10 minutes + 5 minutes Q&A/Discussion by

Mark Wright, Director, BankConfidential

Steve Middleton, Chief Adviser, BankConfidential

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7:00pm GMT

Short leg-stretch and comfort break, for 5 minutes

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7:05pm GMT

Presentation #3, for 10 minutes + 5 minutes Q&A by

John Banerjee, Emerging Markets & FX Trader

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7:20pm GMT

Presentation #4, for 10 minutes + 5 minutes Q&A by

Ken Kivenko, President, Kenmar Associates

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7:35pm GMT

The “Just a minute”-round 

Inspired by the BBC Radio 4 programme, we have asked a selection of our attendees to spend just a minute sharing their thoughts on what has been covered during the symposium. But unlike the Radio 4 programme our speakers won’t be penalised for hesitation, repetition or deviation!

Speakers:
Anthony Stansfeld, Police & Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley
Ian Ashleigh, Compliance Officer, Whitefoord LLP
Ian Neale, Director, Aries Insight
Nigel Bradshaw, Treasurer, Volt Bank
Georgina Halford-Hall, CEO, WhistleblowersUK
Professor Nigel Harper, Moody’s Analytics Awarding Body Board Member,
Moody’s Group Retail Banking Academy International
Piotr Konwicki, Senior Lecturer, University of Hertfordshire
John Dashfield, Owner, Dashfield Coaching and Development

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7:40pm GMT

Group discussion & debate, 15 minutes

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7:55pm GMT

Final conclusions; and suggested next steps and close to the formal proceedings.

However, for those that want it…

8pm GMT until 8:30pm GMT

….informal, unstructured networking and informal conversation; a “fireside chat” amongst friends as it were

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*The programme will continuously evolve so is subject to change.

Mark Bishop
Leader, Connaught Action Group

Having entered the world of financial services consumer advocacy in 2012 as de facto leader of the Connaught Action Group and member of the liquidators’ committee of the Connaught Income Fund Series 1, Mark now works with the principals of other action groups and lobbies regulators and politicians to improve the regulatory environment.

Having worked as a journalist, media company executive, strategy consultant and corporate finance advisor, Mark holds an MBA from Cranfield University School of Management (where he is now a Visiting Fellow) and sits on the Advisory Board of the MBA programme at Sussex University, where he gained his first degree. He is also the author of a business book, The Future of Private Equity – Beyond the Mega Buy-Out.

Mark also advises the Transparency Task Force leadership team on strategy matters.

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Mark Wright
Director, Bank Confidential 

Mark Wright’s story is the archetypical example of what happens when you whistleblow without expert support, and how a bank will destroy your career, financial security and personal life if you speak up.

Mark worked for the NatWest/RBS group for 25 years working in various roles. He whistleblew that an RBS Director committed deliberate Market Abuse over the bank’s financial strength in 2008 when in-fact the RBS Group was insolvent obtaining covert loans of 10’s of billions from the Bank of England. 

At the time he whistleblew the share price crashed 90% over a 4 month period. This was career ending for Mark as he tried tirelessly to expose this wrongdoing to help obtain justice for staff and shareholders who lost their lives work, this is still being covered up to this day as recently reported in the media involving BankConfidentials lead Patron Sir Norman Lamb who accused the Financial Conduct Authority of defamation.

Mark went on to co-found BankConfidential with Steve Middleon, who acts as chief adviser. Together they work with whistleblowers who want to expose the most serious of bank malpractices as well as whistleblowers that come forward to assist in helping victims obtain redress. 

Since launching BankConfidential, a not for profit community interest company, they have exposed via the media signature forgery, file falsification, hidden credit lines. Most recently Mark gave a sworn witness statement that RBS fabricated court documents used in the case of Broomhead vs RBS to a £14 million claim

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Steve Middleton
Director, Bank Confidential

Steve Middleton is a financial adviser who spent 25 years specialising in the high net worth, corporate markets and commercial finance for property development. When the Financial crisis started in 2007 and Banks took aggressive stances against customers, he worked successfully to save many companies from administration and insolvency particularly with the RBS Global Restructuring Group (GRG) by combining knowledge of the Financial Service Authority’s (FSA) Rules along with unique complaints processes. In 2014 he repeatedly reported the malpractices of the Banks in relation to Interest Rate Hedging Products (IRHP) and the illicit use of undeclared credit lines to the FCA Executive, highlighting the fact that the FCA’s IRHP Review process design was not compliant with their own Rules and that this was costing SME’s in the UK Billions in financial redress.

Steve went on to work with law firms, Chambers and claims firms advising them on the application of the FCA’s Rules and statutory rights, helping SME’s recover tens of Millions in redress and was a founder member of the not for profit support organisation for small businesses the SME Alliance in 2014.

Realising the gap for technical support for whistle-blowers like Mark Wright and himself, he went on to work with Mark to set up BankConfidential, a not for profit support service for bank whistle-blowers. BankConfidential’s collaboration with whistle-blowers and journalists have led to numerous disclosure’s in the press including articles and programmes on the BBC, in the Times, Independent, Mail on Sunday, Thompson Reuters, Mail on Sunday Scotland etc. with expose’s such as signature forgery training at RBS, credit file fabrication in bank court disclosure, undisclosed credit lines leading to SME’s insolvency, financial reviews being rigged to withhold consumer redress, regulatory cover up of Market Abuse and how the intentional distressing of bank customers had led to illicit profits for the banks.

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John Banerjee
Emerging Markets and FX Trader

John Banerjee is the former Head of Emerging Markets Foreign Exchange Trading for the Royal Bank of Canada, Europe.  Having raised serious global compliance failings on an open basis to his business division heads, he was secretly internally investigated.  The investigation came up with no breaches of any policies, so he was fired on the pretext of ‘poor time keeping’.  He subsequently sued the bank as a litigant in person and became the first person to win a whistleblowing case against an international bank post the introduction of the FCA’s Senior Manager and Certification Regime.  Post his case hitting the front page of the FT, more than 100 whistleblowers from RBC came forward to WhistleBlowersUK and the FCA was forced into a major investigation of RBC Europe.

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Ken Kivenko
President, Kenmar Associates

Since 2001 Ken Kivenko has been president and CEO of Kenmar, a company providing consulting services to small and medium-sized enterprises regarding strategic planning and financing. The company also acts as an investor advocate assisting investors who have been wronged. Some of Ken’s acheivements at Kenmar include:

– Assisting companies in developing corporate governance procedures,

– Writing research papers on investing including investor psychology and portfolio risk management, and

– Assisting wronged investors successfully file complaints and damage claims.

Ken has been successfully investing for over 30 years in stocks , bonds, convertibles, and mutual funds. He has given papers at various conferences; subjects include corporate/fund governance, investing principles, inventory management, customer satisfaction, investment metrics and risk mitigation. As an investor advocate, he has written and widely distributed papers on investment issues and corporate governance. He is chairman of the Advisory Committee for the Small Investor Protection Association. He has made presentations and provided submissions to the OSC ,CSA, Joint Forum, IOSCO, IDA and The Wise Persons Committee.

Ken has a bachelor of science in engineering electronics and a diploma in management from McGill University. He also has a Canadian Securities Course Certificate from the Canadian Securities Institute.

He has previously held positions as president and CEO of NBS Technologies (1995 to 2000), Canadian Marconi Company (1994-1995), AlliedSignal Canada Inc. (1989-1994), and Bendix Avelex Inc. (1984-1989). Prior to this, he worked for Canadian Marconi Company (1966-1984), first as a senior quality engineer and later as vice-president.

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