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Many thanks to Aon Hewitt for hosting this Symposium
"TIME FOR TRANSPARENCY - PENSIONS, INVESTMENTS AND THE IMPACT OF MiFID II"
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When and where is the event?
From 9:00AM to 5:00PM on Thursday 23rd November,
at the beautiful Hotel Des Indes, Lange Voorhout 54-56, The Hague, 2514 EG, Netherlands.
Note: The presentations and GREAT BIG open debate end at 5:00PM but delegates can enjoy networking and drinks courtesy of Aon Hewitt until 7:00PM
What is the purpose of the event?
In general terms we are going to be looking at how harnessing the transformational power of transparency will improve the workings of the pensions and investments markets; with particular focus on what the impact of MiFID II is going to be in the short, medium and long-term.
We will also be considering what part a lack of transparency of risks played in causing the Global Financial Crisis; and whether enough has been done to mitigate the risk of another GFC.
But first, please consider this question:
Wouldn't it be great for everybody if the financial services industry was better trusted?
Wouldn't that lead to, for example, citizens around the world saving and investing more; and making much better provision for their financial security in retirement?
We think it would.
Does it surprise you to know that the banking and financial services sector isn't highly trusted? - research routinely shows that people tend not to trust banking and financial services, particularly since the Global Financial Crisis which has made things much worse.
Doesn't it therefore make sense for the entire sector to work collaboratively to fix 'the trust deficit'?
We think so.
The Transparency Task Force believe that it is in the interest of every financial services organisation and every financial services professional to work at proactively protecting our sector’s reputation so that we can start to regain the trust that has been lost.
We recognise that the pensions and investments industry is profoundly important to the world economy and society as a whole. We also know that these are sectors that have been hit hard by the distrust in the market – for example, in the UK we are experiencing the lowest level of savings since 1963, and that’s as big a problem for heads of distribution in pensions and investment as it is for policymakers.
Distrust costs financial services a fortune in lost revenues so there’s a very real bottom-line benefit to getting this right.
So it doesn’t really matter whether your primary motivation for wanting to improve reputation and trustworthiness is the chance for greater commercial gain, or because you have a very strong sense of social justice; it adds up to the same thing – do what you can, with other like-minded people to help fix what’s wrong - and that starts with having a forum that enables and encourages discussion and debate on these issues in a constructive, solution-orientated way; and that's what this meeting is all about.
Of course, we cannot make the public trust us. We need to earn back the trust that has been lost; and to do that we need to behave in a consistently trustworthy way.
Whilst transparency isn’t a ‘magic wand’ it is crystal clear that greater transparency will help enormously, because transparency engenders trustworthiness.
Our “Time for Transparency - Pensions and Investments” symposium is a thought-leadership event designed to galvanise support for the idea that the financial services sector can do more to regain trustworthiness through the transformational power of transparency, for the benefit of all parties including commercial entities keen to drive profitable revenue growth.
We see it all very simply – there is no way that the market can perform to its true potential without being trusted; and there is no way that trust can be engendered without transparency.
With greater transparency we will create a fairer and more efficient market in which the organisations that should flourish and take market share get the chance to do so - unhindered by the fog, mist, shadows and opacity that act as a brake on market development.
Furthermore, we need to consider the fact that MIFID II is now 'just around the corner'. Because MiFID II sets new rules for the structure of markets and the trading of financial instruments; and because it prescribes conduct of business standards for the provision of investment products and services, we can hope and expect that MIFID II is going to deliver significant positive change to the levels of transparency in the workings of the European securities markets.
A central theme of the MiFID II reforms is increased transparency. Whilst MiFID I focused on opening up markets to greater competition, MiFID II seeks to shine greater light on business practices, and bring more trading activities on to transparent organised trading venues.
In doing so, MiFID II seeks to directly address some of the shortcomings revealed by the financial crisis, such as opacity in derivatives and other over-the-counter markets.
It is crystal clear that regulatory forces across Europe are harnessing the transformational power of transparency to improve the way the sector works.
Greater transparency can and will improve things for all right-minded market participants, agents and observers, including:
One way or another, don't miss it, or at the very least make sure your organisation is represented.
Please read on for further details:
What is the particular focus?
The event will look at a broad range of transparency-related themes but it will have a particular focus on the European pensions and investments market.
We will be considering the far-reaching consequences of not only MiFID II but also the Financial Conduct Authority's Market Study in the UK and other regulatory and market developments across Europe.
Also, has enough been done to provide adequate transparency in the financial ecosystems around the world to prevent another Global Financial Crisis?
...and of course we will be contemplating what may, or may not happen as a consequence of Brexit.
What will the format be?
We will be hearing from a first class line-up of speakers (see below) who will be looking at the issues from a range of perspectives - regulatory, market participant, and campaigner.
There will also be extensive opportunities for questions and discussion, particularly during our "GREAT BIG open debate" which will be a helpful opportunity for all attendees to reflect on and discuss the key themes covered by the speakers; and to also focus on the likely impact of MIFID II.
The Symposium is therefore going to be a balanced blend of thought leadership delivered through the presentations of our speakers; and a valuable forum to discuss the ever-changing market dynamic being affected by regulatory inputs, particularly MiFID II.
This means all delegates will have good opportunity to share their views, insights and experiences as well as listen to those of others.
Please note that after the main event finishes at 5:00PM there will be further networking and drinks until 7:00PM courtesy of Aon Hewitt.
What sort of topics will be covered?
Our speakers and the GREAT BIG open debate will be covering a wide range of thought-provoking topics such as:
- MiFID II; what will be the likely consequences?
- MiFID II; what will it all mean in practical terms?
- MiFID II; what is still left to be done? - Will there be a MIFID III?
- How might BREXIT change things?
- The Trust Deficit and why it must be treated as a top priority
- Transparency as a powerful driver for transformational change
- The part that opacity played in the Global Financial Crisis
- Should more be done to mitigate the risks of another GFC?
- The commercial value of values
- The significance of the Information Matrix
- What else can the Regulators do to improve competition?
- Does Financial Services need a 'Cultural Transfusion'?
- Why regulation alone cannot be the answer
- The damage caused by asymmetries of information
- Why transparency, in and of itself, is a condition necessary, but not sufficient.
- 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 the world needs a Global Transparency Index and what's being done to create one
- Why opacity is the necessary condition for a financial crisis to occur; and what's being done to reduce the chance of another one
- Why it is so crucial that greater transparency is brought into matters relating to ESG
What's the programme?
9:00AM Registration, refreshments and networking
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:
Welcome to the event, from Aon Hewitt
Pascal is CEO of Aon Hewitt and also Member of the Board of Aon Nederland BV.
He is also a Board Member at United Pensions. He has been at Aon Hewitt for 9 years and prior to that he was Manager at the VVA Groep. Pascal was also a platoon leader in the Royal Dutch Army with the Luchtmobiele Brigade (Airborne Brigade).
Founder and Managing Director of the Institutional Benchmarking Institute (IBI); Strategy Director,
"Transparency and the Media"
As a result of a review performed by the Dutch Authority for Financial Markets in 2011, it appeared that Pension Funds were not disclosing all their costs. Costs do have a significant influence on retirement outcomes and costs between similar sized funds varied widely. Boards of trustees are responsible for the costs and therefore should receive all relevant information and be able to act upon the information.
As a reaction to the 2011 review the Federation of the Dutch Pension Funds (an umbrella organization) published three booklets describing how to calculate costs and recommended which key figures to disclose.
Part one (published November 2011) contains recommendations on administrative costs and describes the pension administration costs and the asset management costs.
Part two (published in March 2012) describes in detail the cost drivers and cost categories of costs of asset managers. In 2013 a third version was published with several updates.
The Federation decided to include transaction costs. By publishing the two booklets, the Federation avoided formal legislation. In fact, the Dutch Central Bank adopted the cost definitions as described by the Federation.
Due to possible discounts of future pensions within the Dutch (best practice ?) system, incidents in asset management, the reputation of Dutch Pension funds was lacking. Since April 2012 a lot of knowledge sessions have been given to Board Members of Pension Funds, consultancy firms but also the Dutch press in order to avoid wrong articles and messages to the Dutch public.
It is very difficult to compare costs between Pension Funds because of differences in asset allocation and implementation style. Cost of asset management is complex and should be disclosed in the right context.
What are the challenges in disclosing the costs ? Supervisors such as the Dutch Central Bank, auditors, Dutch Federation of Asset Managers all agreed upon the content of the booklets. The Dutch Central Bank used the content as a guidance for their reporting framework for pension funds and it is still the basis for cost transparency.
Eric Veldpaus (1963) has been at the epicentre of cost transparency throughout his career. Before his current position at IBI he was strategist at APG where his focus was on all aspects of cost and cost transparency including relations with auditors and the Dutch Central Bank. Prior to APG, he held senior positions at ABP, Robeco and PWC. Eric is author of several prominent publications on cost transparency, including the ‘Recommendations on Administrative Costs’ (Aanbevelingen uitvoeringskosten)’ published by the Federation of the Dutch Pension Funds; he is also a lecturer at Nyenrode Business University in the Netherlands. At APG he was member of the Global Advisory Committee of CEM.
In 2013 he founded the independent Institutional Benchmarking Institute together with partners Nyenrode and Novarca to further his ambitions in the field of cost reporting.
Eric holds a CA degree.
Also, Eric is a valued member of the TTF's Team EMEA, Team GTI and Team PISCES.
Manager, Fund Management,
What are we paying … for?
As transparency of costs moves center stage, pension funds, asset managers and service providers have made extra efforts to adhere to transparency requirements, whether they are mandatory or self-imposed.
Which challenges have we faced and what is to be learned from the drive for more transparency?
How can we use the improved insights to better understand what we are paying for?
Frits will zoom in on the implementation challenges for asset managers and pension funds. He will also focus on special areas as transaction costs and alternatives.
Frits started his career at EY as an auditor in the fields of Asset Management, Insurance and Pensions. In 2009 he joined the PGGM Accounting, Reporting and Control department and served both as manager Accounting and as manager Control. In these roles he held responsibility for external reporting and regulatory reporting for Pension Fund clients and PGGM Investment Funds.
He has contributed in setting up industry wide standards on cost reporting for Dutch Pension Funds. Currently he is manager in the Product & Fund Management department, with a focus on pricing of Asset Management products and supporting the Investment Management Board on PGGM Investment Funds matters.
Frits is a member of the Federation of the Dutch Pension funds Committee on Accounting and Administrative Costs.
11:00AM Refreshments and networking
Senior Policy Advisor,
The Dutch pension funds have good experience with transparancy and self regulation. Under threat of new legislation, the pension funds wrote their Recommendations Administrative costs to become more transparent about cost levels.
This was six years ago. Nowadays, people and politics in the Netherlands have new thoughts regarding investment strategy of pension funds. We see a tendency to expect pension funds to take ESG criteria into account. Carbon footprint becomes an issue and we would like to include labor conditions when selecting new investment opportunities.
Transparancy, standadisation and clear definitions are tools to change the behavior of pension fund trustees. Pension funds carry out a legal task in ensuring pensioners a reasonable retirement income. Pension fund members have ideas on how the assets are invested. Transparancy & standadisation might help the sector to adapt more and more to the wishes of the members.
Tomas Wijffels MSc. (1971) has worked as policy advisor for seven years at the Federation of the Dutch Pension funds. Main topics of interest are the recommendations on administrative costs and the current discussion about the future of second pillar pensions in the Netherlands.
Tomas is board member of the Dutch pension tracking service, www.mijnpensioenoverzicht. This tracking service for 1st and 2nd pillar pensions is built and maintained by a foundation of which all Dutch pension funds and insurance companies contribute to.
Before working for the Federation, Tomas was board member of the company pension fund of TNO, the Dutch Institute for Applied Sciences, where he worked as a consultant in the field of cultural heritage.
Also, Tomas is a valued member of TTF's Team EMEA.
Partner and Head of the Netherlands,
Peter will explore whether institutional investors get and understand what they are paying for.
On what areas do investors need transparency and how much of it, in order to make effective decisions in the context of their mandate – delivering a decent and sustainable pension for their scheme’s participants?
Peter Kolthof has worked in the pension industry for most of his career. In two decades he has built extensive knowledge, insight and experience in the areas of asset and risk management, covering the full breadth of the investment organisation (front, mid, back office, support services, manager selection), processes (from strategy to implementation) and asset categories.
Before joining Avida Peter was at Shell Asset Management Company, where his last role was Head of Equities. In that role he was also involved in the consolidation of Shell Pension Funds’ assets. Peter was then CFO/COO of an investment boutique for a few years. Lately, as a consultant to Pension Funds he has focused on the areas of asset and risk management.
Peter is an econometrician and tax lawyer by training, completed by executive education programs at the Harvard Business School and Nyenrode Business School. Today he is a lecturer at Nyenrode Business School.
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
- November 15th 2017; Angie Brooks, Pension Life
Who'll win the Transparency Trophy on 23rd November?
12:45PM Lunch and networking
Head of Wholesale and Investments Competition, The Financial Conduct Authority
"The FCA’s Asset Management Market Study, what we found and next steps…”
Robin Finer is the Head of Wholesale & Investments Competition, having joined the FCA in January 2014.
Prior to working at the FCA, Robin was a Director of Economic Analysis at the Competition Commission, where he worked on mergers, market investigations and regulatory inquiries across a wide range of sectors. He has also worked as a Project Director and economist at the Office of Fair Trading and in the Directorate General for Competition of the European Commission.
Robin is currently leading on the FCA’s Asset Management and Investment Platforms Market Studies.
Aleksandra Maczynska, Executive Director,
Aleksandra Maczynska has recently joined the Better Finance Brussels Team as Executive Director. Aleksandra is from Warsaw, Poland, where she was the Deputy Director of the International Relations and Communication Department of the Polish consumer and competition watchdog. Her responsibilities included external representation and managing professional networks such as the Consumer Policy Network (CPN), the International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network (ICPEN) and the European Competition Network (ECN).
She also has a vast experience in the management of international projects such as the EU funded capacity building projects. As a Fellow of the Robert Bosch Foundation Programme for the Young Executives from the Public Sector, Aleksandra worked at the Division for World Bank International Monetary Fund, Debt Issues and International Finance Structure at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Aleksandra has provided expert input to various EU Council’s Working Parties such as the Working Party on Financial Services and the Working Party on Competitiveness and Growth; as well as the European Commission’s Advisory Committees. Currently she is a member of the EC Financial Services User Group (FSUG).
Dr. Chris Sier,
Chair, The FCA's Institutional Cost Disclosure Working Group;
Visiting Professor, Leeds University;
Fintech Envoy, The Northern Powerhouse.
Chris is a highly respected campaigner for the need for greater transparency on costs and charges in pensions and investment and he has built an unrivalled reputation for driving change in the UK market, campaigning for change for over 10 years.
Chris has been instrumental to the tremendous pro-transparency progress made in the UK's Local Government Pensions Scheme market in recent years and he was absolutely critical to the creation of the Transparency Task Force; without Chris' input the TTF may not now exist.
It is also to his immense credit that he has now been given the very important position as Chair of the Financial Conduct Authority's Institutional Disclosure Working Group at a crucial time for the UK's asset management industry which is coming to terms with the seismic shift created by the FCA’s highly critical and equally progressive Asset Management Market Study.
Chris is Visiting Professor at Leeds University and Professor of Practice at Newcastle University Business School, Co-MD of FiNexus, a knowledge-transfer and research organization, and he advises the UK Government, Regulators and various trade bodies on pension fund Corporate Governance and Cost Transparency.
Chris also advises a range of stakeholders including the UK Government on innovation and fintech. Previously he was Managing Director of KAS Bank UK, an Asset Servicing and Pension Fund specialist, and Director of the Financial Services Knowledge Transfer Network, a research, innovation and knowledge transfer organisation for financial services, bridging industry, academia and government.
A popular and highly sought-after speaker in the UK and overseas, Chris’ breadth and depth of knowledge and insight on the topic of costs disclosure must put him at the very apex of subject-matter expertise.
He has also held various strategy management consulting roles, starting as Associate at AT Kearney, ending as partner in boutique firm specialising in advisory to the Buy-side. In the dim and distant past he was a police officer in Edinburgh.
3:00PM Refreshments and networking
The GREAT BIG open debate!
This is perhaps the most important part of the whole event!
It's where all attendees plus our panelists will have ample opportunity to reflect on the issues covered by our speakers and to cover related hot topics.
In particular, we will be discussing MiFID II:
- Will it successfully deliver a more transparent and evenly balanced marketplace?
- What will it mean to everyone engaged in the dealing and processing of financial instruments; business and operating models; systems; and data?
- How is it going to change consumer experience and outcomes?
- Will it drive a shift towards more structured trading and marketplaces as planned?
- How will MiFID II impact the reputation of the market?
- Who’ll be the winners and losers as a result of: lower cost market data; improved best execution; more explicit costs of trading and investing?
- How will market participants adapt to prescribed conduct of business standards for the provision of investment products and services?
- Will MiFID II address the shortcomings revealed by the financial crisis, such as opacity in derivatives and other over-the-counter markets?
- What will it mean to algorithmic and high-frequency trading; will the new era better govern the effects of such activities on financial markets?
- Similarly, will the attempts to strengthen investor protection standards designed to tackle conflicts of interest in the provision of financial advice work in practice? If not, why not?
- What’s the latest on ESMA and the European Commission’s development of technical standards to implement the legislation?
- and how is Brexit going to impact the workings of the financial markets across Europe?
So, there is no shortage of big issues to deliberate on and discuss!
Confirmed panelists so far:
Marlon is responsible for the development and implementation of the delegated investment proposition in the Netherlands.
Marlon has 18 years of experience and a track record in institutional investment, business development, risk management and governance.
He has deep knowledge of the European institutional investment sector working across different markets and various asset classes.
He has worked at Hermes Investment Management, the in-house asset manager of the BT Pension Scheme, the Abraaj Group – in emerging markets private equity, Pensions Infrastructure Platform and completed numerous consulting assignments with his own firm.
Marlon has been active at Eumedion, the Dutch Institutional Governance and Sustainability Forum, and he has been an adviser to several industry initiatives around private market investment and sustainability.
Currently he is also a member of Aon Hewitt’s Global Sustainability Group.
Gert J. Dijkstra
Senior Managing Director,
APG Asset Management.
Gert Dijkstra is responsible for, amongst other things, Global Networks and Peers and for investing in the Netherlands.
Formerly he was Chief of Strategy & Communications and member of the Board at APG Asset Management from January 2010 until March 2017.
He joined ABP in 2000 and subsequently APG Asset Management in 2008. At APG Asset Management he held several positions such as Manager of the Business Development, Legal & Tax functions; and also Program Manager for the implementation of the new multi-client fund structure.
Prior to joining APG Asset Management, he worked as a management consultant at VODW, Amsterdam Consulting Group and TG Corporate Strategy & Finance.
Gert studied Business Management at the University of Groningen and followed several management courses at INSEAD and the Harvard Business School.
Partner and Member of the Management Board,
XTP AG is an independent consultant that combines empirical capital market research and long-standing practical experience in institutional asset management for supporting investors in safeguarding their interests and ensuring efficient implementation of their investments.
Prior to joining XTP, Michael has spent his career working for Deutsche Bank, with almost 20 years in various functions in the asset management division, his last roles included responsibility for the institutional business in Germany and the global key account management.
Reaearch & Development,
Head of DTP – Strategy, Transtrend
Iwein Borm is responsible for the strategy of the Diversified Trend Program at Transtrend.
Since joining Transtrend in 2008, he has worked mostly on improving the trading strategies, portfolio construction and expanding the universe of tradable markets.
He combines intricate knowledge and understanding of all layers of the ‘black box’ with an ability to explain the why and how in simple terms and put these in a broader context.
In previous presentations and panel discussions, he has shared his views on a wide range of topics such as risk management, diversification, liquidity, market structure and the shortcomings of conventional approaches in these areas.
Other speakers and panellists being added
5:00PM End to the 'formal' proceedings, then...
Networking and drinks to follow
Immediately after the Symposium delegates can enjoy further networking; and Aon Hewitt have very kindly agreed to take care of the cost of drinks.
7:00PM Final close.
Who should be sure to attend?
This event will appeal to a very broad range of people including:
- Pension Scheme Trustees
- Asset Managers
- Investment Consultants
- Retail and Institutional Investors
- Industry Observers, Commentators, the Media in general
- Academics and Researchers
- Financial Planners
- Campaign and Civil Society Groups
- Politicians and their research colleagues
- Advocacy Groups
- Bankers and representatives of Banking organisations
- Risk Management Professionals
- Compliance Professionals
- Legal Professionals
- Pension Professionals
- Fiduciary Managers
- All enlightened and progressive market participants
- Actuaries; and many more....
Be sure to secure your place today
There is limited availability and all places must be booked in advance - please use the link below to do that but first here is an explanation about the pricing:
If the Standard Price Ticket (200 Euros) is genuinely beyond your budget, select the Reduced Price Ticket option and pay what you can afford; down to just 1 Euro 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, so if 200 Euros is a problem, don’t worry you can genuinely select to pay any amount you want down to literally just 1 Euro – please be reasonable depending on your affordability but it is for you to judge what is reasonable.
If you have any questions on this get in touch through firstname.lastname@example.org
or call on +44 (0)7501 460308 or just go ahead and book your place.
You can pay through PayPal, credit card or invoice.
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: