WhenThursday, March 18th from 6:00pm to 8:00pm UK time
WhereOnline symposium via Zoom.
FormatThere'll be a great line-up of speakers plus ample scope for discussion and debate.
Why you should attend
Our symposium will focus on the rather alarming story of how the Financial Conduct Authority has been shown to have failed to protect consumers from harm, even though they were given sufficient information to take decisive action against Blackmore Bond. The net result is that around £47M of investors’ money has been lost, much of which could have been saved had the FCA acted appropriately when they were told precisely what was going on by a whistleblower.
Here’s some of the coverage from a great write-up by Amy Austin at FT Adviser:
Conservative MP Peter Gibson is calling for an independent report into the Blackmore Bond scandal to investigate exactly what went wrong while criticising the regulator as not being “fit for purpose”.
Gibson, who chairs the all-party parliamentary group on Personal Banking and Fairer Financial Services, said the Blackmore Bond scandal provided further “irrefutable evidence” that the Financial Conduct Authority is failing to regulate effectively.
[Note that the TTF is the Secretariat to the APPG]
Blackmore Bond raised millions of pounds from investors to fund property developments between 2016 and 2018, but the company fell into administration in April last year owing £46m to investors after several months of rocky waters in which it failed to pay interest due to bondholders.
Gibson said an independent report by Dame Gloster – who recently published her review into the FCA’s regulation of London Capital & Finance (LCF) – or someone “equally as robust” should be the next step.
He also said parliament should be prepared to scrutinise more closely the work the FCA is doing saying it is currently “not functioning as parliament wishes”….
Gibson said: “Parliament has given the Financial Conduct Authority clear statutory objectives which include protecting consumers from harm but there is mounting evidence that the regulator is consistently failing to deliver.
“It is obvious that the FCA is not for purpose. The real issue now is whether parliament can get it to perform satisfactorily through transformational reform; or whether its issues are so deep-rooted that a more brutal approach is necessary.”
There’s also been superb coverage in Saturday’s Telegraph, with these being perhaps the most powerful points:
“We are seeing a clear pattern of behaviour from the FCA. It shies away from regulatory scrutiny and consistently puts savers at risk.” – Sarah Olney MP.
Kevin Hollinrake MP, a member of the APPG on Personal Banking and Fairer Financial Services said there had been a succession of failures at the Regulator: “Multiple, significant, credible concerns had been raised with the regulator well before the firm’s failure….It is time for a thorough and fully independent review.”
Furthermore, Labour’s Cat Smith, Shadow Cabinet Office Minister said she had “written to the Treasury urging an investigation into negligence on part of the FCA.”
…and in the House of Lords, Baroness Bennett of the Greens and Lib Dem Lord Sharkey have both backed calls for a review.
In our opinion, Thursday’s meeting is important in that the whistleblower at the heart of the story, Paul Carlier, will be “revealing all” in terms of who at the FCA was told what; and when. Paul’s account is significant because unlike the recent LC&F investment scam revelations, it will not be possible for the senior leadership at the FCA to credibly suggest they did not know what was going on. Therefore, some believe the consequences of this case may be significant.
Will it be “the straw that broke the camel’s back?”
We are hoping our symposium will galvanise support for the reform that is so desperately needed.
At the very least we should all be calling for a thorough independent enquiry, ideally by Dame Gloster who’s report on the LC&F Bondholder’s scandal did a great job of shining a big bright light on the seriousness of the failings at the FCA.
The good news is that many knowledgeable members of the House of Lords have been proposing positive amendments to the Financial Services Bill working its way through Parliament right now. Their proposals relate to the underlying causes of the regulatory failure that has led to the problems that we keep seeing time after time.
We’re expecting lots of interest in this event, given how topical the subject is, including from Parliamentarians from all parts of the House, and key journalists and campaigners too.
You won’t want to miss this one!
Here's the programme and timings so far...
Welcome to the symposium, introductions and initial exploration of the main issues; by
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
Presentation #1, for 5 minutes including Q&A/discussion by
Kevin Hollinrake MP
Co-chair of the APPG on Fair Business Banking; MP for Thirsk and Malton
Presentation #2, for 5 minutes including Q&A/discussion by
Co-chair of the APPG on Whistleblowing;
LD Lords Treasury Spokesperson, House of Lords
Presentation #3, for 30 minutes + 15 minutes Q&A/Discussion by
FX, Financial Markets & Banking Consultant
Short leg-stretch and comfort break, for 5 minutes
Presentation #4, for 5 minutes + 5 minutes Q&A/Discussion by
Leader, Connaught Action Group
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!
Consultant Solicitor, Keystone Law
Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle
Green Party Peer
Author, Journalist, Broadcaster
Director, Tentacle Limited
Senior Counsel, Paul Bates Barrister
Shujata Luptajan & Charlie Griffiths
Open discussion & debate, 25 minutes
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”
*The programme will continuously evolve so is subject to change.