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Many thanks to IG Group for hosting this Symposium
"TIME FOR TRANSPARENCY - PENSIONS DISCLOSURE; SCAMS & SCANDALS"
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When and where is the event?
From 9:00AM to 5:00PM on Wednesday 15th November at:
Cannon Bridge House,
25 Dowgate Hill,
London EC4R 2YA.
This is conveniently located in the heart of the City of London, very close to Cannon Street Station and Underground.
Note: Whilst the formal proceedings are scheduled to end at around 5:00PM, delegates can enjoy further networking and drinks courtesy of IG Group until 7:00PM
What is the purpose of the event?
The overall purpose of this Transparency Symposium is to help ensure delegates have the information, insight and understanding they need to confidently make well-informed decisions on how best to deal with some important developments in the market.
We will also be taking the opportunity to share opinion, experience and perspectives with policymakers and regulators as they undertake various consultations and industry engagement activity.
More specifically, the Symposium will be covering two sets of white-hot transparency topics:
In the morning we will focus on pension scheme trustees' duties around value for money and in particular how trustees ought to disclose cost information to scheme members; and also what information they ought to be providing members in relation to the scheme's underlying investment holdings - particularly holdings that would interest members with an eye on ESG.
This part of the day has been inspired by the raft of existing regulatory activity in this space and the potential for new consultation that the Pensions Minister has recently indicated may happen between now and the end of the year.
One thing’s for sure - the responsibilities being placed on trustees and the standards of competence and capability being expected of them are rising all the time.
The speakers’ presentations and the "GREAT BIG open debate!" for the morning part of the Symposium will cover key questions such as:
- What might any new regulatory requirements for trustees to disclose information to scheme members look like?
- What's going to happen to the Charge Cap?
- How can costs and asset holdings information be presented in a clear, meaningful and intelligible way to scheme members?
- What would trustees hope that scheme members do with the information they are provided?
- How might better disclosure of costs and asset holdings to scheme members impact market dynamics? - will it lead to a more efficient, open and competitive market that delivers better value for money and outcomes; and better awareness of the impact of investing? - or might it just create a whole new layer of operational cost, bureaucracy and red tape that schemes need to work through?
- What would best practice for information disclosure look like?
- To what extent can the inherent communications challenge be solved by the creative use of technology?
- Is there merit in thinking about different 'flavours of comms’ for different audiences? For example, should costs disclosure be presented differently to Generation X and Generation Y members? – how might the regulatory framework accommodate such an approach?
- What’s the scope for gamification to drive up understanding and engagement?
- Is there reliable data on how much has been transferred into scam arrangements by pension providers at an industry level? If so, is that data available at a pension provider level?
- With regard to scams that involve the transfer out of a DB pension scheme, does the desire to reduce scheme funding deficits influence behaviour and decision-making at the point of transfer? Are there ever awkward conflicts of interest at play?
- Do trustees have all the powers they need to not transfer into a scheme that seems suspicious?
- Would additional disclosure responsibilities open up greater risk of litigation against trustees by scheme members in the future?
- How might trustees deal with the scenario whereby their scheme appears to be relatively expensive?
- What should trustees do if scheme members are unhappy and uncomfortable with, for example, the profile of asset holdings in relation to ESG issues?
- Is there merit in finding a way to better share market intelligence amongst those that are motivated to help prevent scams? Perhaps there are lessons that can be learned from the way that the Authorities deal with intelligence on criminals more generally?
- What is the very latest position on relevant DWP Consultations? - Guy Opperman MP, Pensions and Finance Inclusion Minister has recently commented there'll be "a very busy period of time up to Christmas" and there is strong speculation that the DWP will also consult "very shortly" on charge caps and transparency in defined contribution schemes and that there might be a separate consultation on disclosure of costs and charges to DC members to be published "in due course".
In the afternoon we will focus on the truly terrible problem of scams and scandals impacting the pensions and other investment markets; including scams relating to what is actually gambling but dressed up to be investing. This is a subject that has attracted a great deal of attention in recent months from regulators, politicians, campaigners and the media at large; very understandably, given the harsh reality that some people have been robbed of their life savings and pension funds.
There will be several subject-matter experts speaking including senior individuals from the regulatory world and the world of pensions.
Without a doubt, scams and scandals (whether pensions-related or not) totally undermine confidence in the system and that makes this a priority topic for anybody wanting to help rebuild trust and confidence in the pensions and investments sector.
The speakers’ presentations and "The GREAT BIG open debate!" that follows will cover key questions such as:
- How do you differentiate between a scam and a bad investment from a legal perspective?
- How do you differentiate between gambling and investing from a legal perspective?
- Surely 'prevention is better than cure; so what more can be done to prevent people being scammed in the first place?
- What's the very latest on the Government's Project Bloom initiative?
- What's the very latest on The Pension Regulator’s Operation Scorpion?
- What more can be done to support those that have been scammed? – they are often left in a shocking emotional and financial state, with long-lasting life-changing damage. But what part of ‘the system’ is responsible for supporting them in a civilized, caring and constructive way?
- How 'joined-up' are the relevant regulatory authorities, enforcement agencies and government departments in dealing with the issues?
- Victims are sometimes made to feel as though 'the system' believes it is only their stupidity and naivety that allowed the scam to occur. Is that what 'the system' actually thinks? If so, what needs to happen to ensure 'the system' properly understands what is really going on?
- What might be the best way to massively publicise the shocking real-life cases that some people have endured?
- There is a perception that alleged scammers are often free to just phoenix and reinvent themselves and thereby carry on 'trading'. Is that perception a reality and if it is how can that be allowed to happen? Surely there's more that can be done?
- Who/what is responsible for protecting the public from scammers? Or is part of the problem that nobody is?
- Do more powers need to be given to those responsible for this area?
- What more can politicians do? Is there the political will to better protect the public? Is this one area where a cross-party approach would serve the public better? Which politicians are properly on-side with this issue?
- Why might an industry-wide awareness campaign, sponsored by pension providers make complete sense, particularly for the pension providers themselves?
- How can industry better harness the power of the media to publicise the problem?
- Is there reason to think that professional bodies are missing the opportunity to use their powers to withdraw the Statements of Professional Standing from those that do not deserve to continue to be granted professional status? Would that be a more effective approach than closing down businesses that can phoenix back into life again? Perhaps better management of Statements of Professional Standing by the professional bodies working in conjunction with regulators is an under-utilized remedy? The General Medical Council can strike off a doctor and the Law Society can disbar a solicitor. Do the FS professional bodies do the same, and if not what can't they? Or is it more a case of won't rather than can't?
- Some completely ethically-minded IFAs have suffered as a consequence of inadvertently being caught up in the activity of scammers; some have literally lost their businesses as a consequence. They have, in effect become victims of the crooks as well; they have been the 'duped fall guys'. Has the treatment of them by the regulatory system always been as fair and just as possible? Could there be a way to better handle such situations?
- Should the pension providers, relive trade bodies and professional associations do more? Are they being proactive enough? If not, why not?
- What’s the best approach when the crooks are deemed to operate from overseas?
- How much of an opportunity has pension freedoms been to the criminals? – what do the stats tell us?
- Are there shortcomings in the way trustees operate? Can they do a better job of checking whether an arrangement being transferred into is bona fide?
- What's the latest on the 'cold-calling ban'?
- What role does litigation have in the overall scheme of things? What is the best way to use existing laws? Should litigation be necessary at all? Does the need for victims having to resort to expensive and risky litigation show the regulatory system is failing the consumer?
- To what extent has 'Poor Policy Process Risk' made a bad situation worse?
- Are we learning the important lessons available from the way airlines operate 'Air Crash Investigations'?
The day as a whole will provide delegates with a first class opportunity to take on board the significance of the regulatory changes happening in the key areas covered that are and will continue to affect pensions and investments; and as always we’ll be exploring how the transformational power of transparency can drive much-needed improvements in the way the market works, for the benefit of all.
For many this will be another not-to-be missed event:
There is no question that the pensions and investments industry is profoundly important to the economy and society as a whole and that it needs to be trusted to truly flourish and fulfil its potential.
Better disclosure of costs, and the way they are communicated to members will help. So too will better disclosure of asset holdings, particularly for the growing proportion of the market that are concerned about climate change. As for scams & scandals it is obvious that more needs doing; parts of ‘the system’ seem virtually dysfunctional - or is that just an unfair and inaccurate perception? But if the system is broken, what can we do to work together to help fix it?
More generally, we will be exploring topics such as:
- Why regulation alone cannot be the answer to the problems in financial services
- The damage caused by asymmetries of information
- Why transparency, in and of itself, is a condition necessary, but not sufficient for markets to operate in a healthy, competitive and client-centric way
- Why 'parading the problem' works
- The correlation between transparency, truthfulness and trustworthiness
- The enormous challenge ahead for retirement planning right around the world; and what steps could be taken to alleviate it.
- Why it is so crucial that greater transparency is brought into ESG-related matters
One way or another, don't miss this event, or at the very least make sure your organisation is represented at it.
What is the format?
For each of the morning and afternoon sessions there will be:
There will also be a lunch and networking break and after the 'formal proceedings' end at around 5:00PM there will be drinks (courtesy of IG Group) and further networking.
Transparency Symposia are known for being highly inclusive and participative; we also tend to have constructively challenging and sometimes edgy content - we see merit in encouraging the market to go 'further and faster' towards greater transparency.
Who should attend?
This event will appeal to a broad range of people including:
- Pension Scheme Trustees
- Pension Managers
- Asset Managers
- Pension Providers
- Senior Execs in Financial Services Distribition
- Investment Consultants
- Thought Leaders
- Retail and Institutional Investors
- Industry Observers, Commentators, the Media in general
- Academics and Researchers
- Senior Financial Services Marketing Execs
- Financial Planners
- Social Justice campaigners and Civil Society Groups
- Politicians and their research colleagues
- Advocacy Groups
- Risk Management Professionals
- Compliance Professionals
- Legal Professionals
- Pension Professionals
- Fiduciary Managers
- All enlightened and progressive market participants
- Media professionals that want to cover the event
- and many more....
Here's the programme:
9:00AM Registration, refreshments and networking
9:30AM Welcome and setting the scene
Transparency Task Force
Andy will be Chairing the Symposium. His overall objective is to galvanise support for the idea that greater transparency can drive positive, transformational change for the benefit of all.
Andy formed the Transparency Task Force following a meeting he led at Senate House, University of London on 6th May 2015. The meeting was the about the trust deficit that is impacting financial services and how harnessing the transformational power of transparency can drive the change that is needed.
That meeting set off a chain of events that led directly to the creation of our collaborative, campaigning community which is built on the idea that 'Sunlight is the Best Disinfectant'.
Since 6th May 2015 he has recruited, organised and mobilised over 250 volunteers around the world into 12 Teams:
- The Banking Team
- The Foreign Exchange Team
- The Market Integrity Team
- The Costs & Charges Team
- The Scams & Scandals Team
- Team PAM (Progressive Asset Managers)
- Team PISCES (Purpose; Impact Investing; Sustainability; Corporate Social Responsibility; Environment, Social & Governance; Socially-Responsible Investing)
- The Financial Stability Team
- Team APAC
- Team EMEA
- Team Americas
- Team GTI (Global Transparency Index)
Our 12 Teams are the 'engine room' of the Transparency Task Force's work. Each Team is focused on a particular set of opacity-related challenges whereby subject-matter experts work together on a completely voluntary basis to develop and implement strategies to overcome those challenges.
Andy is also:
DC Policy Lead,
Investment, Governance and Charges,
Department for Work and Pensions
"DWP’s DC transparency plans - giving and publishing DC cost, charge and investment information; and the next steps"
David will be explaining DWP’s plans for publication of DC pension charge and transaction cost information, and reporting costs, charges and investments to members. The background, the purpose, the benefits and the next steps.
David has worked in DWP since 2003, in a variety of roles, including communications research, web accessibility and usability, overseas healthcare and disability benefits policy.
The morning session of
"The GREAT BIG open debate!"
These debates are the most important part of the day.
It's where all attendees plus our panelists will have ample opportunity to reflect on the issues covered and to discuss and debate the key questions.
Whilst of course there will be a range of different views, we shall ultimately seek to build consensus on how to go about driving progress in a constructive, collegiate, collaborative and civilised way; guided by our "North Star' question:
"What's best for the consumer?"
Here are the panellists so far:
Head of Policy,
Founder of sriServices and Fund EcoMarket
Julia has worked in financial services since 1989, specialising in sustainable, responsible and ethical investment (SRI) since the mid 90’s.
A passionate advocate for this area her work now divides into two main areas; ‘SRI consultancy, advisory and collaboration’ – serving on various advisory panels - and running her own web based business.
Her work includes the unique, fund manager sponsored SRI fund hub - Fund EcoMarket and adviser support site sriServices.
Both sites are free to use as they aim to help unlock the potential of the sustainable responsible and ethical fund market by raising awareness of this area.
Her work was shortlisted in the prestigious Corporation of London ‘Sustainable City Awards’ (Sustainable Finance category) awards in both 2015 & 2016 and Highly Commended in the 2015.
She has also recently been interviewed for Citywire’s ‘Adviser Knowhow’ series and on Asset TV’s ‘SRI Masterclass’.
Previous work includes being responsible for the Friends Provident SRI proposition for 12 years – and serving as a director of ‘not for profit’ UKSIF for 7 years.
Julia is also Squad Leader of TTF's Team PISCES' Mandatory Fact-Finding squad, which is about campaigning for Mandatory Fact-Finding, such that professional advisers (such as IFA's for the Retail Market and Investment Consultants for the Institutional Market) should be required to establish if the products and solutions they recommend are truly suited to their client's values-based preferences (i.e. they properly take into account views regarding Impact Investing, Socially-Responsible Investing, investing Sustainably and so on).
Founder of Pension PlayPen;
Director at First Actuarial
Henry is a blogger at henry.tapper.com, the Founder of Pension PlayPen (a fintech promoting confidence in workplace pensions) and a Director at First Actuarial.
He has campaigned for greater transparency in the pensions industry for many years and is very well known for his belief that there is a tremendous need to restore public trust in the pensions and investment industry, such that savers at large and ultimately the industry itself prosper in the long-term.
In particular, Pension PlayPen has long campaigned for greater transparency on what happens to the pension contributions created by auto-enrolment.
Henry sees social media as a key means to get messages out to the public. When he's not at work he is on a boat in the summer and supporting Yeovil Town if it’s not.
Other panelists being added for the morning session
The Transparency Trophy is a top-quality transparent star, awarded to a winner at each of our Transparency Symposia.
Winners get to keep their Transparency Trophy.
The star-shape is significant.
People can navigate across seas using the stars so the star shape has been chosen to symbolise the idea that the winners are helping to navigate the industry towards a more transparent, competitive and enlightened state.
Here are the previous winners:
- February 2016: Tomas Wijffels, Senior Policy Advisor, Pensioen Federatie
- April 2016: Rachel Haworth, Senior Policy Officer, ShareAction
- June 2016: Jackie Beard, Director of Manager Research for EMEA, Morningstar
- September 2016: Gina & Alan Miller, the Founders of the True & Fair Campaign
- October 2016: Robin Powell, Principal, Evidence-Based Investor
- November 2016: Daniel Godfrey, former Chief Executive of the Investment Association and now Co-Founder of The People’s Trust
- December 2016: Ralph Frank, Co-Head of Defined Contribution, Cardano
- February 2017: Con Keating, Head of Research, Brighton Rock Group
- May 2017: David Pitt-Watson, Executive Fellow, London Business School
- July 2017: Mike Barrett, Consulting Director, the Lang Cat
- September 13th 2017: Steve Conley, Founder, The Values-Based Adviser
- September 28th 2017; George Kinder, Founder, The Kinder Institute
Who'll win the Transparency Trophy on 15th November?
11:40AM Lunch and networking
Head of Intelligence,
The Pensions Regulator
Mike is head of intelligence at The Pensions Regulator. Prior to this Mike was the manager for the triage team within TPR’s risk department which is responsible for identifying thematic, event driven and systemic risks to pension schemes and providing an intelligence picture.
Mike has been with the regulator and its predecessor OPRA for 15 years. Mike has also worked as a case manager in enforcement and as an intelligence analyst in triage.
Margaret Snowdon, OBE, MA (Hons), FMPI, FPAS
Margaret is a Pensions Professional and experienced Non-Executive Director, focused on good outcomes and high quality services that don’t cost the earth.
She is a Non-Executive Director of the Pensions Regulator and an Independent Member of the Phoenix Group IGC. She is also an Independent Non-Executive Director of Xafinity plc. She advises Trustee and Corporate clients on operational strategy through her own business, Margaret Snowdon Consulting. She previously held Partner and Director level positions with leading employee benefit and financial services companies.
She is Chairman of the Pensions Administration Standards Association and also Chair of the Monitoring Board on Incentive Exercises and chairs the Pension Liberation Industry Group that developed the Combating Pension Scams Code of Good Practice.
She is a Governor and member of the Council of the Pensions Policy Institute and is a Fellow and former Vice President of the PMI as well as Fellow and past Chairman of The Pensions Advisory Service.
Margaret is an independent member of the Steering Group for the HM Treasury Pensions Dashboard project.
Margaret was appointed an OBE in 2010 and has, uniquely, for seven years running been named as one of the Top 50 Influential People in Pensions and was awarded for her outstanding contribution to the pensions industry by the PMI in 2012.
In 2013 she was listed as one of the Top 100 Women in Finance in Europe, in 2014 was named Pensions Personality of the Year and in 2017 was voted “Industry Champion”.
Senior Trustee Representative
Dalriada Trustees Ltd
Sean has worked in pensions since 1988 and had roles in two major benefit consultancies in both administration management and consultancy roles, before joining Dalriada in 2003.
Sean has a broad range of skills and experience suited to many areas of pension scheme management, but has particular strengths in technical administration aspects.
Sean leads the team dealing with a number of schemes where Dalriada has been appointed by The Pensions Regulator or by the Court where schemes have been operated in an irregular manner including
schemes suspected of operating to facilitate pensions liberation or which were set up as scams.
Sean is probably the leading practitioner in the industry in the specialist role of managing such schemes for the benefit of their members.
He will share some of Dalriada’s experience of dealing with these schemes including some of the difficult legal issues (including tax), the problems of asset recovery but most importantly the plight of our scheme members.
Sean will be sharing his speaking slot with:
Pinsent Masons LLP
Ben is a litigator who specialises in Pensions disputes, acting in a range of cases including professional negligence claims, regulatory disputes involving the Pensions Regulator, as well as situations where independent trustees have been appointed to schemes by the Regulator.
This includes extensive experience of schemes where pension liberation/scams have been suspected, resulting in asset recovery claims as well as involvement in some of the leading cases in this area. Ben acted in the Royal London/Hughes appeal from the Pensions Ombudsman concerning the statutory right to a transfer.
Ben is also a member of the industry group that produced the Code of Good Practice in March 2015.
The Pensions Advisory Service
Michelle Cracknell was appointed Chief Executive of the Pensions Advisory Service in October 2013.
Michelle started her career as a pensions adviser for Advisory & Brokerage Services Ltd, where she worked for 20 years becoming a director and qualifying as an Actuary in 1997.
In 2007, she joined Skandia as the Strategy Director and continued her interest in investment platforms and pensions when she left to work as a consultant. She is a regular commentator on pension matters in the media.
Since taking over, the Pensions Advisory Service has grown from looking after 60,000 customers to now looking after 200,000 customers. Throughout her career, her key desire has been to make pensions more accessible to people.
Senior Enforcement and Recovery Consultant,
Carlton Huxley Ltd.
"Why Prevention of fraud is better than cure, and what can be done if you do fall victim to a scam"
Bill was a Metropolitan police sergeant for 20 years until he was medically retired as a result of serious injuries sustained on duty. Whilst serving in the police he was employed in the roles of tracking money, people and contraband goods (primarily firearms and drugs). He also worked in internal investigations primarily related to financial irregularities and public sector corruption.
For the last eight years Bill and the team at Carlton Huxley have been involved in investigating a wide range of complex, financial crimes in the UK, USA, Dubai, Bulgaria, Israel, Ireland and Norway ranging in losses of £25,000 to £2.2 billion.
Carlton Huxley’s primary role is the prevention of loss by intelligence gathering and due diligence which allows the client to make informed business decisions, so why is it people don’t use the service and prefer to save £100 and then loose thousands of pounds unnecessarily and then find that if they really want to stand a chance of recovery they will have to pay thousands not hundreds to get their money back?
Having lost their money, what are the real options for getting it back? Bill believes that Action Fraud is inundated so people are turning to firms like Carlton Huxley, but what does this means in terms of cost and time and what can be done to help those who have more often than not been left in a position without the means to pay?
How can people be encouraged to do more due diligence and how can fraud investigation be funded without resorting to litigation funding?
3:00PM Refreshments and networking
"Air Crash Investigations"
There is only one thing to say about pension liberation fraud: it is wicked. Dishonest, fraudulent and nothing that any true professional financial adviser would ever consider getting involved in.
The victims lose their income in retirement and end up with crippling tax liabilities. Pension trustees in the UK have got to wise up and help stamp this scourge out - because currently they are still handing over innocent victims' pensions without due diligence.
There needs to be education at all levels - HMRC, the Pensions Regulator, pension providers, police authorities in all jurisdictions where British expats settle and are being regularly targetted. The problem, of course, is that the perpetrators are making a great deal of money out of it and have got used to the fact that rather than bothering with proper, sound financial advice, they can make easy money out of pension liberation fraud.
The sooner some high-profile convictions are secured, the faster this horribly damaging fraud can be stopped.
The afternoon session of
"The GREAT BIG open debate!"
& Solicitor FS Legal Solicitors LLP
Michael has been involved in assisting individuals and companies regulated by the FCA at the highest level. Michael specialises in large group actions and recovering sums on behalf of investors who otherwise would have faced financial ruin. Michael has appeared on Radio 4 and in the national media to discuss his concerns with regard to the pension industry and in particular the problems with the SIPP industry when considering the impact it has had on individuals private finances.
Michael as a consultant Solicitor accepts instruction from a variety of sources and has worked with those regulated by the FCA to ensure that compliance and best practice is at the forefront of their business.
In his spare time, Michael as a former northerner watches Manchester United from afar, having given up his season ticket on entry to the south.
Senior Policy Adviser,
Campaign for Fair Finance
Laurence is currently involved with various not for profit organisations in an honorary role as trustee, treasurer and member of investment committee and as a Senior Advisor at Campaign for Fair Finance.
Laurence is formerly Trustee director of a major UK hybrid pension fund and currently a trustee of a DC scheme.
He is a Chartered Accountant with 30+ years experience in banking and energy industries, with substantial risk and commercial experience.
Other panelists being added
5:00PM Key conclusions and close to the formal proceedings, but for those that want to stay on the debate can continue as we relax and enjoy further networking, drinks and nibbles, courtesy of IG Group through to
7:00PM Final close
How to secure your place
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If the Standard Price Ticket (£245) is genuinely beyond your budget, select the Reduced Price Ticket option and pay what you can afford; down to just £1 if genuinely necessary.
We are using this unusual pricing model for this event because we do not want cost to be a barrier to attendance and participation on such important topics.
You can pay through credit card or invoice.
For any queries please contact us through
Click on the PDF icon below to download the slides:
The Great Divide
You can read the speech by Andrew G. Haldane, FAcSS (the Bank of England's Chief Economist and Executive Director of Monetary Analysis and Statistics) that he gave on 18th May 2016 at the New City Agenda Annual dinner.
The speech is entitled The Great Divide and it is a first class explanation of why the trust deficit really matters and why it makes sense to try to do something about it.
Please click on the green button to access it; if you're not convinced of its relevance to our initiative, here's part of it:
..."The most important and compelling message the Bank received at the Open Forum came in the first session. The Bank had conducted some polling of perceptions of the financial sector – for example, by asking people what one word best described the future of financial markets. Among the Bank’s usual contacts, including those in the financial sector, the most used word was “regulated”. Many of us will have heard that message from financial insiders concerned about the perils of over-zealous regulators.
For me, the more revealing responses came from the general public, from the customers, rather than the producers, of financial services. The word most used by them when describing financial markets was a rather different one: it was “corrupt”. Not far behind were words like “manipulated”, “self-serving”, “destructive” and “greedy”. I am sure many of you have heard those messages too. They are certainly ones I have encountered frequently on my visits around the country."...
Please click the green button below to access the full speech. If you need to read another piece first, here it is:
..."At least until recently many economists like me, when faced with this evidence, might have shrugged our shoulders. Social capital had no real role in our models of economic growth, unlike physical capital and human capital. Trust did not butter our parsnips and nor did it enter our production functions.
Recently, however, that orthodoxy has changed and the importance of trust has become clearer.
Evidence has emerged, both micro and macro, to suggest trust may play a crucial role in value creation. At the micro level, there is now ample evidence the degree of trust or social capital within a company contributes positively to its value creation capacity.
At the macro level, there is now a strong body of evidence, looking across a large range of countries and over long periods of time, that high levels of trust and co-operation are associated with higher economic growth.
Put differently, a lack of trust jeopardises one of finance’s key societal functions – higher growth.
Those social capital effects appear to be particularly potent when it comes to financial decisions. Evidence suggests that a lack of trust leads people to retreat from the stock market and banks and to move towards cash holdings and informal sources of credit, such as payday lenders and loan sharks. That jeopardises the second key benefit of finance to society – improved risk-sharing by households and companies.
So a lack of trust in finance potentially hobbles both economic growth and financial stability.
That lack of trust is the mirror-image of the perception gap between the financial sector and wider society, the Great Divide.
The Great Divide matters because it signals a pronounced and protracted erosion of social capital. It puts finance on notice for losing its social licence. And, unaddressed, that jeopardises future wealth and well-being."...
Please click on the green button to access the full speech. If you're not yet convinced you should, here's a final snippet:
..." As a survey in 2013 of financial professionals found, rather remarkably, that over half believed their competitors engaged in illegal or unethical behaviour. A smaller, but still high, fraction of 24% believed their own company engaged in such practices. Similar percentages believed their industry did not fulfil its fiduciary function of putting clients’ interests first.
The significance of these findings is not the precise percentages, as striking as these are.
More fundamentally, it is because of what they reveal about finance’s perception of itself, the mirror it holds to the social identity of finance."...
Click onto the button below to access the full speech; you'll be glad you did, it's profoundly thought-provoking for anybody interested in the future of the financial services industry:
If you are not already on the right page and want to read about our major international project to help rebuild trustworthiness and confidence in financial services, click on the orange button below: