This event has now taken place.

If you wish to download the slides scroll to the bottom of the page. 

Many thanks to

for hosting:

"Time for Transparency in Financial Planning"

and to our sponsors:


When and where is the symposium?


Thursday 16th January:


We start with registration and lunch at 12:00; the meeting proper starts at 13:00 and we wrap up the session at 17:00; and then we have drinks, nibbles and networking through to 18:00. 


Dimensional Fund Advisors,

20 Triton Street,  
London NW1 3BF

If you already know you want to attend


Click on the button below to secure your place and note that there are 4 ticket options: Standard, For TTF Fellows, Discounted and Press Pass. The notes you get to will explain the ticket options.


Queries to


Thank you!

What can you expect at the symposium?


The overall purpose of this particular event is to shine a bright light onto the importance of having greater transparency in the retail financial advisory market; and to explore what more can be done to improve market conduct and consumer outcomes.


We already know that the financial services sector as a whole has a significant reputation problem - the key takeaway for us from the Edelman Trust Barometer is 


“…at 57 percent trust among the general population, financial services remains the least-trusted sector measured by the Trust Barometer.”


…and that’s obviously a major issue for a sector that has to be trusted to function succesfully. If you take trust out of financial services, there really isn’t very much left. 


Our symposium is going to create an opportunity for a range of stakeholders interested in the financial advice space to discuss and debate issues around topics such as:

  • Financial Planning v Financial Advice v Guidance
    • Do clients really understand the difference?
    • What needs to happen for the FCA to properly differentiate their approach to holistic financial planning and old-style product sales?
    • Is there a tendency for what starts as an advisory process to sometimes lead to execution-only transactions? If so, what’s driving it?
  • What’s the best way for advisers to charge for the work they do?
    • Do all the methods used drive good advice and good client outcomes?
    • Are all charging models in line with the principles behind RDR?
    • Is it possible to operate hybrid fee-based and contingent charging models in an ethical way? 
    • Are contingent charges just contingent commissions in disguise?
    • Do current models still favour initial / transactional advice / product sales rather than ongoing advice?
  • Are there particular issues related to vertically integrated firms?
    • Do vertically integrated firms disclose the various services they offer fairly, including what conflicts of interest may exist and how these are managed?
    • Vertically integrated firms often use ‘bundled’ charges which may be easier for clients to understand, but which arguably are less transparent in terms of itemising each charge/cost. Is ‘bundled charging’ an issue?
    • Does vertical integration deliver lower charges to clients and more efficient services, or higher margins to providers and poorer outcomes?
  • Client communications
    • Can they be legal and compliant, yet totally ineffective? 
    • How relevant is the quote from George Bernard Shaw that “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place”
    • Do client disclosures sometimes seem more focused on protecting product providers and advisers rather than communicating with clients?
    • What do advisers actually say to clients in practice? How does this compare to the regulatory disclosure documentation?
    • It can often seem that the Regulator works on the basis that disclosure = transparency; but is it? 
  • Reflections on the regulatory position:
    • Are all market participants playing to the same regulatory rules?
    • Two years on from MiFID II, has it actually helped?
    • RDR – what were its initial objectives; has it delivered on them?
    • Has the FCA got it right in terms of the way it handles regulated and unregulated business and businesses?
    • How is SM&CR going to impact the financial advice market?
    • What would we want the regulators to do differently?
  • Conflicts of interest in the sector - do any remain, despite decades of regulatory intervention?
  • Vulnerable clients; how should they be dealt with?
  • Good corporate governance – are all the opportunities to positively influence corporate behaviour being taken? – are votes being used to good effect?
  • Is financial planning a profession yet? – if not, what still needs to be done?
  • DFM propositions – is there sufficient transparency?
  • Cashflow modelling – is it core to financial planning or is it overengineering advice?
  • Goals-based financial planning and associated tools – what are the benefits and the myths?
  • Evidence-Based investing – is it the way forward?
  • How should the mass market be catered for? – will Robo be sufficient?
  • Personal debt is at worryingly high levels – is there a solution?

Here's the programme, so far*



Registration, lunch and networking



Welcome to the symposium and setting the scene by

 - Tim Brown, VP, Head of UK Institutional, Dimensional Fund Advisors

 - and Andy Agathangelou, Founder, Transparency Task Force; Governor, Pensions Policy Institute; former Founding Chair, Friends of Automatic Enrolment; former Founding Chair, Association of Member Nominated Trustees.



Presentation #1

 - James Whittington, Vice President and Portfolio Manager, Dimensional Fund Advisors.



Presentation #2

 - Daniel Elkington, Chartered Financial Planner, MT Financial Management.



Presentation #3

- Robin Powell, Editor, The Evidence-Based Investor; Executive Director, Regis Media; Executive Director, Ember Television; former Producer, Sensible Investing TV, former reporter, Sky News.




Presentation #3

 - Seb Elwell, Director, Switchfoot Wealth; Director, Technology for Attorneys.



Presentation of the Transparency Trophy; a special trophy is awarded to a champion of transparency and finance reform at each of our symposia around the world



Refreshments and further networking



Team photo, with the Transparency Trophy and its winner



Power Panel leading into Open Discussion & Debate on:


“What's it going to get take to get transparency in financial planning?"




 - Kay Ingram, Director of Public Policy, LEBC; member of the Policy and Communications Panel, Equity Release Council.


- Robert Lockie, Branch Principal, Bloomsbury Financial Planning; former Technical Manager, Fraser Smith.


 - Adrian Tupper, Owner, MoneyQuestioner; former Director and Head of R&D, Euromoney Indices.


 - Ian Ashleigh MICA, Director, Compliance Matters UK; former Director, UK Advisory Solutions, former Compliance Manager, AES International.


 - Andy Brown, Founder & Director, Octo Members Group; former Investment Director, Treasury & Investment Office, M&G Prudential.



Key conclusions and close to the formal proceedings

Andy Agathangelou, Founder, Transparency Task Force; Governor, Pensions Policy Institute; former Founding Chair, Friends of Automatic Enrolment; former Founding Chair, Association of Member Nominated Trustees.



Drinks, nibbles and networking



Final close

*The programme will continuously evolve so is subject to change

To secure your place:

Click on the button below to secure your place and note that there are 4 ticket options: Standard, For TTF Fellows, Discounted and Press Pass. The notes you get to will explain the ticket options.


Queries to


Thank you!

Further information about the TTF


You can click on the button below to read about the 150+ Transparency Task Force Ambassadors. The list includes world class academics and highly respected thought leaders from right around the world. 

You can click on the button below to read about the Transparency Task Force Advisory Board, which is Chaired by the former Chair of the Financial Conduct Authority's Financial Services Consumer Panel.

If you want to read testimonials...


If you haven't been to one of our events before you can use the link below to read some testimonials:

To secure your place:

Click on the button below to secure your place and note that there are 4 ticket options: Standard, For TTF Fellows, Discounted and Press Pass. The notes you get to will explain the ticket options.


Queries to


Thank you!

Slides used at 16th January 2020 symposium
TS London January 16th 2020 Financial Pl[...]
Adobe Acrobat document [3.1 MB]

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:

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