"How can we accelerate the rebuilding of trust and confidence in financial services?"

                     Introduction

 

It is no exaggeration to suggest that the financial services industry was built on the premise that it could be trusted; in fact, the term ‘credit’ is derived from the Latin ‘credere’, literally meaning ‘belief in.’

 

However, according to the annual Edelman Trust Barometer, the banking and financial services sector is routinely rated as the least trusted of all sectors, as shown in the slide below. That’s a serious and systemic problem for a sector that needs to be trusted to function succesfully.

See this link: 

https://www.edelman.com/sites/g/files/aatuss191/files/2019-04/2019_Edelman_Trust_Barometer_Financial_Services_Report_1.pdf

 

Trust and confidence in financial services on the part of all stakeholders including politicians, policymakers, regulators, industry and consumer bodies, businesses small and large, and of course consumers themselves, is integral to the prevention of future systemic crises as well as the safe, stable and efficient “business as usual” workings of the financial system on a day-to-day basis.

 

Therefore, trust is not just the first line of defence in bolstering the resilience of our financial system; it is the very oxygen on which its survival and viability depends.

 

Furthermore, trust in regulators and policymakers under whose watch the Global Financial Crisis occurred has been severely damaged, despite the best efforts of these public servants to control financial institutions and ramp up consumer protection in recent years. A recent survey conducted by PwC found that 57% of respondents believed that reforms to regulation implemented since the Global Financial Crisis were not enough to guarantee that history would not repeat itself.[1]

 

Overall, the evidence points to a dangerous disconnect between a sector that depends on trust to function correctly and a sector that behaves in a manner that consistently leads to distrust.

 

The Transparency Task Force recognises that there is a need for a financial services industry that is transparent, truthful and trustworthy and can be relied upon to deliver fiduciary responsibility for all stakeholders.

 

We believe it is vital that the lessons of the past are learned and the action necessary to help prevent our collective past becoming our collective future is taken without any further delay – treatment of the trust deficit is long overdue, and the problem will certainly not solve itself.

 

Despite this, there does not appear to be any masterplan in place to tackle the problem; and that is a troubling void that we believe needs to be filled. In the absence of any other organisation rising to the challenge we have embarked on a major international project to provide what is missing and help drive the change that is needed.

 

It is clear that having the right mission-led people with a profound sense of purpose involved is a prerequisite to having any chance of making a worthwhile difference; and there also needs to be a carefully crafted plan that we can all work to.

 

[1] Stylianides, G. ‘Stand out for the right reasons- How financial services lost its mojo- and how it can get it back.’ PwC. Available at: https://www.pwc.co.uk/assets/pdf/fsrr-consumer-survey-final.pdf. (25 August 2018).

Our White Paper and

Supporting Videos

 

We are very grateful tofor working with us so supportively to produce the special White Paper on 

 

"How can we accelerate the rebuilding of trust and confidence in financial services?" 

 

...which can be downloaded here: 

The White Paper on "How can we accelerate the rebuilding of trust and confidence in financial services"
TTF WHITE PAPER V5 DIGITAL.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [6.6 MB]

...and also for producing these videos, filmed at our London 16th May symposium, kindly hosted by Newgate Communications. 

 

Thank you also to all the participants for providing great input through the video interviews.

 

Video 1: https://youtu.be/Ky0Qg9IpjCA

 

Video 2: https://youtu.be/Is7N5DqjfXM

 

We are also very grateful to 

for producing this video that so succinctly explains this issue we are dealing with.

 

Video link: www.mdemo.ch/tfs

                  Project Outline

 

We can think of the trust deficit as a festering sore on the face of financial services; and it’s a sore that hasn’t been treated.

 

The purpose of our project is to treat that sore.

 

Our project will be built around the creation of a book; but the book will be much more than just a book. It will be the methodology through which we design, develop and apply the treatment that is necessary.

 

The book will be refreshed each year and will operate as a complete and ever-evolving framework for finance reform through which we can collectively drive the change that is needed.

 

The title of the book will be:

 

"Why we need to accelerate the rebuilding of trust and confidence in financial services; and how we can do it"

 

The list below shows the chapters in the book to outline the overall structure; and further down we provide a more detailed explanation:

 

Chapter 1 - Thanks and recognition to all project participants

 

Chapter 2 - Critical Success Factors

 

Chapter 3 - About the Transparency Task Force strategy for driving change

 

Chapter 4 - The Problem Statement

 

Chapter 5 - The Vision Statement

 

Chapters 6 to 17 - The Finance Development Goals and the Formal Recommendations for Change

 

Chapter 18 - Conclusions and Next Steps

 

Now for some detail on each of the chapters:

Chapter 1 - Thanks and recognition to all project participants

 

We believe it necessary to have a highly inclusive and consensus-based approach to developing and implementing the solution. Anything else would not achieve the buy-in necessary and therefore would not represent a sustainable solution. It follows that we will need to have many people and organisations involved and these participants will be required to participate on a voluntary basis.

 

It is therefore wholly appropriate that we show appreciation for the contributions by all involved and properly attribute their highly valuable and much-appreciated input. This in itself will encourage the participation of others; and that’s a vital thing to do for a book that will be refreshed each year and seek input from an ever-increasing community of participants.

 

We will be fully recognising all support given whether that be by way of written content, operational support, project management support, technical input, sponsorship, guidance and so on.

We will ensure that the book will be seen to be a team effort because that’s exactly what the whole initiative is.

Chapter 2 - Critical Success Factors

 

This chapter will set out what we see to be the critical success factors necessary to create a sustainable solution, namely:

 

  • Inclusivity is key; because it is the entire sector that needs to change so all aspects of it should be involved in determining what needs to change and how that change should happen. It follows that market participants, politicians, regulators, relevant government departments, think-tanks, campaign groups, trade bodies, professional associations, members of the public and so on should all be invited to participate in the development and implementation of the solution;

 

  • The approach taken should be collaborative, co-operative, collegiate and consensus-based; because it makes sense for all involved to feel comfortable working together in a constructive and non-partisan way. Only a solution that has a broad base of support is likely to succeed in a sustained manner. All participants are on the same side; and against the trust deficit and the causes of the trust deficit; so, it should feel that way;

 

  • Remedies must be future-gazing; we need to look forward. Whilst we know we can learn from the past and we know the failings of the past will guide how we move forward, the “time to mourn” is over. It is all about the future now and we must look into the future with a sense of possibility, positivity and promise;

 

  • The focus should definitely include the pensions and investments sector; because according to the Office of National Statistics, the UK is experiencing the lowest savings ratio since records began way back in 1963 and surely the trust deficit and the disengagement it creates must be a part of the problem. Furthermore, it is known that pension policymakers and financial regulators around the world are particularly concerned with what can be done to help avoid mass pensioner poverty in the future. Rebuilding trust is clearly part of that solution so the “pension crisis” and “the savings gap” are the most obvious burning platforms to be resolved;

 

  • A steady pace to reform will be crucial; because whilst everybody would like the trust deficit to be solved quickly it would be wholly unrealistic to expect that to happen. The problem is too big and too complex for a quick fix. This is going to be a marathon, not a sprint so it is vital that we build a framework for finance reform that has longevity and adaptability hard-wired in to the design;

 

  • We must accept that the challenge is complex, multi-faceted and has many root causes; we will need to develop “a whole-system solution” because we are dealing with “a whole-system problem.”

Chapter 3 - About the Transparency Task Force strategy for driving change

 

This chapter will explain that our work goes far beyond just describing the problem and considering how it can be solved; it actually moves onto initiating and managing change.

 

This approach requires a strategy for driving change; and the Transparency Task Force has had an effective strategy for driving change that we have been using to very good effect since we began to operate in May 2015.

 

The Transparency Task Force strategy for driving change is all about bringing together the thinking of two very important groups:

 

 - #1, those with a sense of passion & purpose about what needs to change; such as the members of the Transparency Task Force Special Interest Groups and the Transparency Task Force Ambassadors

 

- #2, those with the power & position to make change happen; such as the politicians, policymakers, regulators, leaders of key trade bodies and professional associations, leaders of key commercial organisations and so on.

The book and the project as a whole are an embodiment of that strategy for driving change.

 

To attract and engage with the people necessary for our strategy for driving change to work we are doing 3 things:

 

1. Drawing on the vast existing network of Transparency Task Force members; including the 725 members of our 22 Special Interest Groups and our 117 Ambassadors. This network has been carefully built over the last 4 years and continues to grow quickly.

 

To see the members of our 22 SIGS you can download the spreadsheet available on this page: 

 

https://www.transparencytaskforce.org/teams-of-volunteers/

 

To see the Transparency Task Force Ambassadors, see this page:

 

https://www.transparencytaskforce.org/ttf-ambassadors/

 

2. Running special meetings around the world;

 

These special meetings are already underway, and they are proving to be highly successful. As well as strengthening the relationships we have with our existing members around the world who participate in the meetings we are also actively meeting new people and recruiting new members including individuals that will make excellent subject-matter experts and thereby play a key role in providing thought-leadership content for the book as explained later; and also, members of the Scientific Committee as explained later.

 

The special meetings are taking place in the major financial centres around the world. The slide below shows the programme of meetings for 2019; a similar programme will be created for 2020 and each year thereafter - the project will continue to evolve and build momentum year after year; this will be a marathon not a sprint. 

The 2019 Programme

Boston on 12th March

completed successfully and kindly hosted by:

 

 

 

See this page where you can see the list of speakers and download the slides used:

http://www.transparencytaskforce.org/previous-events/boston-12th-march-2019/

New York on 14th March

completed successfully and kindly hosted by:

See this page where you can see the list of speakers and download the slides used:

http://www.transparencytaskforce.org/previous-events/new-york-14th-march-2019/

London on 16th May

completed successfully and kindly hosted by:

See this page where you can see the list of speakers and download the slides used:

http://www.transparencytaskforce.org/previous-events/london-16th-may-2019/

 

Dublin on 29th May

completed successfully and kindly hosted by:

 

See this page where you can see the list of speakers and download the slides used:

http://www.transparencytaskforce.org/previous-events/dublin-29th-may-2019/

 

Amsterdam 6th June

completed successfully and kindly hosted by:

See this page where you can see the list of speakers and download the slides used:

http://www.transparencytaskforce.org/previous-events/amsterdam-6th-june-2019/

Zurich 18th June

completed successfully and kindly hosted by:

See this page where you can see the list of speakers and download the slides used:

http://www.transparencytaskforce.org/previous-events/zurich-18th-june-2019/

Brussels on 20th June

completed successfully and kindly hosted by:

See this page where you can see the list of speakers and download the slides used:

http://www.transparencytaskforce.org/previous-events/brussels-20th-june-2019/

 

Washington D.C. on 10th September

 

HOST WANTED

New York on 11th September

kindly hosted by:

Boston on 12th September

kindly hosted by:

Hong Kong on 10th October

kindly hosted by:

Sydney on 15th October

kindly hosted by:

Melbourne on 17th October

kindly hosted by:

 

Singapore on 22nd October

 

HOST WANTED

We are very appreciative of the wonderful support provided by these organisations around the world who have very kindly agreed to host special symposia for us; without their generous support our project would not be possible.

Here are photographs from the meetings held thus far; we have managed to achieve very high levels of interest and engagement – people believe in what we are trying to do:

Boston 12th March

New York 14th March

London 16th May

Dublin 29th May

Amsterdam 6th June

Zurich 18th June

Brussels 20th June

Our special meetings are dedicated to the question:

 

 “How can we accelerate the rebuilding of trust and confidence in financial services?”

 

In effect, we are using that question to initiate and facilitate a global conversation about the Trust Deficit and what can be done about it. A great deal of thought has gone into crafting that question:

  • The question is very deliberately future-orientated; we must learn from the past but not live in it – the project is not about apportioning blame
  • The question is very deliberately solution-orientated; we avoid the temptation to just pose the question – we want real, workable answers
  • The question is very deliberately palatable to all stakeholders such as politicians, policymakers, academics, regulators, thought-leaders, subject-matter experts, progressive market participants, trade bodies, professional associations and so on
  • The question is very deliberately able to function as a gateway through which dialogue can move into the underlying causes of the trust deficit. This is extremely important because only by dealing with the underlying causes of the trust deficit can we hope to truly cure the problem as opposed to just treating the symptoms

 

As well as helping to attract new participants our meetings are already proving highly valuable as a means through which we can evolve and stress-test our thinking. At each meeting we articulate the latest iteration of our plan but far more importantly we attentively, actively and authentically listen to the open discussion and debate that we facilitate; encouraging consensus-building as we go. We are in effect helping to “crowd-source” the thought leadership that is needed.

 

We are truly delighted by the quality of the input already provided and how our solution-orientated collective consciousness is taking shape; our meetings are working very well.

 

3. Defining and reaching out to the 1,000 most influential people around the world that in effect govern the way the financial system works;

 

These individuals are the “power and position” group for whom the book has been especially written; they will be individually told that as the initiative advances. They are key actors in the change management process that we are driving; they hold the keys to the door through which the financial services industry needs to pass. Without their active engagement and support the change we want to see cannot happen.

 

The 1,000 will include politicians, policymakers, regulators, the leaders of the major trade bodies, the leaders of the professional associations and the leaders of the major commercial organisations be they banks, asset managers, insurers and so on.

 

The book is a clarion call for engagement to that group. We will be personally reaching out to each and every one of them to invite them into dialogue - this is happening already, and it is working.

 

The more of the 1,000 we succesfully engage with, the easier it will be to get engagement from others because there will be a “tipping point dynamic” whereby the more influential people that get involved the more compelling it will be for others to follow.

 

We do not need all 1,000 to get involved; we deem that if we get supportive engagement from 15% of the 1,000 we will be able to drive transformational change because we will be able to aggregate and multiply their individual and collective influence.

 

We believe that if we are able to mobilise just 15% of "those with the power and position" we can make a real and lasting difference. Note that our thinking around the "15%" has been inspired by the work of Gary Haugen of the International Justice Mission who observes informally that most public justice systems around the world follow a 15-70-15 principle. 

 

We are applying that principle in the belief that:

 

  • 15% of the 1,000 will be inherently apathetic towards the idea of system change, so they will not engage regardless of what we do

 

  • 15% of the 1,000 will be highly predisposed to engage; they are individuals that will help lead the charge. We will be seeking to engage with the 15% of the 1,000 that have latent potential to want to be part of the solution but may currently be passive in the context of driving finance reform (despite their power and position to do so). We do not believe they will need to be persuaded i.e. they will already have a predisposition to want to help; they just need to be shown how they can.

 

  • 70% are influenceable and will be responsive over time to what we and the "early adopter" 15% think and do. 

Over time therefore, we have the potential to mobilise 15% + 70% = 85%

 

If we manage to do that it will mean we have 150 powerful and well-positioned people around the world that can act as catalytic agents for change; thereby unlocking a treasure-chest of powerful potential goodwill through the 70%

 

As explained later, the individuals within the 1,000 will be updated year by year as part of a systematic approach to ensure we harness the full potential power of "those who have the power and position." 

 

The 1,000 will include leaders of organisations such as these in the UK:

 

Regulators/Government-Related -

  • The Financial Conduct Authority
  • The Pensions Regulator
  • The Department for Work and Pensions
  • The Competition & Markets Authority
  • The Bank of England
  • The Financial Reporting Council;

Professional Associations such as -

  • The Institute of Actuaries
  • The Pensions Management Institute
  • The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales
  • The Chartered Financial Analysts Institute
  • The Personal Finance Society

…and many more;

 

Trade Bodies such as -

  • The Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association
  • The Investment Association
  • The Tax Incentivised Savings Association
  • UK Finance

…and many more;

 

Civil Society Groups such as -

  • The Royal Society of Arts
  • The Friends Provident Foundation

…and many more;

 

The 1,000 will also include UK Parliamentarians with a known interest in the financial services sector such as:

  • Baroness Ros Altmann
  • Tom Tugendhat MBE MP
  • Frank Field MP
  • Lord Cromwell
  • Lord Lindsay
  • Lord Turner
  • Lord Lamont
  • Lord Lawson
  • Alistair Darling
  • Gordon Brown MP

…and many more;

 

The corresponding individuals/organisations in other countries around the world will be included; Getting to 1,000 is therefore not an unachievable figure because of the truly international nature of our project.

 

Furthermore, we will also be reaching out to leaders of major international organisations such as:

  • The IMF
  • The OECD
  • The World Bank
  • The Bretton Woods Committee
  • The United Nations Global Compact

…this process has already started, and we believe that having the active support of just one of these organisations will be immensely significant.

 

The names, job titles and organisations of the 1,000 will be listed in the Appendix; and please note that we will be seeking for at least 40% of the 1,000 to be female because we are determined to help ensure the female perspective is properly included.

 

The book and the project as a whole are an embodiment of the way in which we will bring together the thinking of the “passion and purpose” group and the “power and position” group. By doing so we are building an international community of all types of stakeholders willing and able to work on the trust deficit in a planned and coordinated manner.

Chapter 4 - The Problem Statement

 

The Problem Statement will give an Evidence-Based account of what the Trust Deficit is, its causes and consequences.

The characteristics of the financial services sector and the behaviour within it that leads to distrust include:

 

  • Hidden and excessive costs
  • Hidden and excessive risks
  • Opportunistic opacity
  • Opportunistic obfuscation
  • Short-termism
  • Insufficient client-centricity
  • Scams and scandals
  • Regulatory capture
  • Irresponsible reward systems
  • A ‘profit before principles’ mindset
  • A ‘money before morals’ mindset
  • Conflicts and misalignments of interest
  • Excessive lending and gearing
  • Disingenuous communications
  • Financial instability
  • Weak governance
  • A lack of market integrity
  • A lack of values-based leadership
  • Malpractice, malfeasance, misconduct and miss-selling

 

Clearly, there are many causes to the trust deficit and the causes are complex and interconnected. Dealing with any of the issues in isolation won’t work; we believe that only a whole-system solution can fix a whole-system problem; and the solution needs to be both systemic and systematic.

Chapter 5 - The Vision Statement

 

The Vision Statement is where we “Dare to dream” of what it would be like if there were to be a transparent, truthful and trustworthy financial services sector. In this chapter we will articulate a deliberately utopian view that will help us envision what it will mean for society if trust and confidence in financial services was fully restored; we think it would make a profoundly positive difference.

 

By showing the comparison and contrast between the Problem Statement in Chapter 4 and the Vision Statement in Chapter 5 will give the book and the project as a whole a natural sense of direction and momentum. 

Chapters 6 to 17 - The FDGs and the

Formal Recommendations for Change

 

The project as a whole is about creating a framework for finance reform; and at the heart of that framework for finance reform are the Finance Development Goals (FDGs).

 

Each of Chapters 6 to 17 will be dedicated to a Finance Development Goal and within each of those chapters there will also be Formal Recommendations for Change.

 

There are 12 Finance Development Goals (FDGs) and each one is focused on a root cause of the trust deficit. Each FDG is to be developed by the subject-matter experts from around the world that we are recruiting into the project; there will be a separate group of subject-matter experts for each FDG (and there will be some subject-matter experts involved in more than one FDG).

 

Here’s a list of the FDGs with an accompanying quotation to indicate the topic they cover:

 

BE TRANSPARENT

“Sunlight is the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman” - Justice Louis Brandeis

 

This FDG covers topics such as:

  • The need for transparency on costs & charges
  • The need for transparency on any risks the client may be exposed to
  • The need for transparency on performance metrics
  • The need for transparency on the agenda and motivations of actors
  • The need to harness the full potential of technology to drive greater transparency
  • The development of a Global Transparency Index
  • Why is transparency in and of itself necessary but not sufficient?
  • What are the limitations and potential pitfalls of having too much of "the wrong type of transparency”?
  • What are the potential pitfalls of unconstrained standardisation?

 

 BE EVIDENCE-BASED

“In God we trust, all others bring data.” - W Edwards Deming

 

 This FDG covers topics such as:

  • Decision-making being underpinned by relevent and reliable data
  • Benchmarks and indices being free of bias and distortion
  • Having metrics to measure, monitor and manage trust
  • Credit Rating Agencies being fit for purpose
  • Relevant thought leadership and academic research being properly considered

 

GOVERN WELL

“Good governance is the art of putting wise thought into prudent action in a way that advances the well-being of those governed.” - Diane Kalen-Sukra

 

This FDG covers topics such as: 

  • Compliance
  • Regulatory reform
  • Auditing effectively
  • Custodianship
  • Stewardship of capital; such that the world's capital markets can operate as a force for good
  • Encourage greater inclusion and diversity
  • Developing an “International Regulatory Master Plan”

 

CREATE A CLIENT-CENTRIC CULTURE

“Ethics is knowing the difference between what you have a right to do and what is right to do.” - Potter Stewart

 

 This FDG covers topics such as:

  • Ethics
  • Values
  • Professionalism 
  • “Principle Before Profit”
  • “Morals before money”
  • Fairness
  • The need for a cultural transfusion
  • Values-Based Leadership
  • Why we must deal with the "leader's dilemma" problem, to unlock the potential for major transformational change
  • The use of Moral Quotient
  • Diversity and Gender
  • Mandating for higher standards of conduct
  • The effective use of oaths, codes of conduct, standards boards and pledges 
  • Trade Bodies and Professional Associations to realise their potential role as cultural architects
  • Individual, Organisational and Market Integrity
  • Encourage diversity of ownership structures such as Mutuals, Coops and FairShare
  • Why it is so important that individuals think for themselves and don’t "follow the herd" despite the potential career risk consequences of doing so

 

 DESIGN PRODUCTS THAT DELIVER

“Good design is like a refrigerator—when it works, no one notices, but when it doesn’t, it sure stinks.” - Irene Au

 

This FDG covers topics such as:

  • Products to be engineered to a high standard
  • Products to be fit for purpose
  • Products to be free of fundamental flaws
  • Product Accreditation
  • Transparency Accreditation
  • Providing value for money 

 

COMMUNICATE AUTHENTICALLY

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” - George Bernard Shaw

 

This FDG covers topics such as:

  • Presenting data and information clearly and intelligibly
  • Encouraging greater consumer engagement
  • Seek to minimise the amplification of adverse publicity through active PR and Reputation Management
  • Asymmetries of information to be minimised
  • Use of Simple Benefit Statements
  • Communicating with integrity, credibility and authenticity

 

ACT WITH PURPOSEFULNESS

"When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary projects, all your thoughts break their bonds; your mind transcends limitations; your consciousness expands in every direction; and you find yourself in a great new and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be." - Patanjali

 

This FDG covers topics such as:

  • Impact Investing
  • Sustainability
  • Climate Change
  • ESG
  • Socially Responsible Investing
  • Social Finance
  • Social Stock Exchanges

 

INCENTIVISE RESPONSIBLY

“Show me the incentives and I’ll show you the outcome” - Charlie Munger, Berkshire Hathaway

 

 This FDG covers topics such as:

  • Responsible Reward
  • Fully account for human nature and “What’s in it for me?” mindsets
  • Manage out conflicts of interest where possible; fully disclose where not
  • Alignment of Interests; dealing with the “Principal-Agent Problem."
  • Use fee and payment structures that align interests wherever possible
  • Alignment of goals, returns and risks 
  • Adopt Fiduciary Duty, Duty of Care and Best Interests thinking

 

STABILISE THE ECOSYSTEM

“Remember when nurses, carers, teachers and students crashed the stock market, wiped out banks, took billions in bonuses and paid no tax? No, me neither.” - Fuad Alakbarov

 

This FDG covers topics such as:

  • Minimise the risk of systemic market failures that may lead to shocks to the system

 

RAISE AWARENESS THROUGH EDUCATION

“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”  - Benjamin Franklin

 

This FDG covers topics such as:

  • Financial literacy for consumers
  • Better education on industry dynamics for people in the sector

 

PROTECT CONSUMERS FROM HARM

“To not do what you can to protect someone, that's cowardly.” - Jodi Lynn Anderson

 

This FDG covers topics such as:

  • Minimise the risk of fraud and scams
  • Properly support and care for those that have been scammed
  • Be alert to policy failures that expose consumers to risk of harm e.g. pension freedoms
  • Financial Consumers' Bill of Rights
  • Use litigation to provide redress and proactively drive changes in market practice
  • Encourage and facilitate worry-free whistleblowing
  • Safeguard data integrity
  • Develop resilient and robust Cyber Security
  • Get the administration right - strive for operational and administrative excellence
  • Proactively seek to repair damage when it is done; problems will inevitably arise and mistakes will inevitably happen
  • Harness the full power of technology, innovation and interoperability to reduce operating friction and the sector's higher-than necessary costs, thereby protecting consumers from excessive friction costs that worsen outcomes e.g they corrode investement returns

 

MANAGE RISK

“Not taking risks one doesn't understand is often the best form of risk management"  - Raghuram G. Rajan

 

This FDG covers topics such as:

  • The need for transparency on any risks the client may be exposed to
  • The need for transparency on performance metrics
  • The need for transparency on the agenda and motivations of actors

................................

 

Each of these FDG Chapters will be a collection of thought-leadership essays written by relevent subject-matter experts.

Their essays will be a response to a tailored FDG-specific question. Here are some examples, showing that the stem of the question is the same for each FDG but the ending is adapted according to which FDG is being dealt with:

  • “How can we accelerate the rebuilding of trust and confidence in financial services through greater transparency?
  • “How can we accelerate the rebuilding of trust and confidence in financial services through creating a client-centric culture?
  • “How can we accelerate the rebuilding of trust and confidence in financial services through governing well?; and so on.

In addition, each of these FDG chapters will also have a set of Formal Recommendations written collaboratively by members of The Scientific Committee. The Formal Recommendations will be addressed to the Special 1,000 and they will be invited to respond to the recommendations i.e, they will be invited to report on their thoughts about the recommendations in the following year’s edition.

 

Through the reporting back process, we will be able to shine a bright light on who has done what in response to the formal recommendations made by the Scientific Committee; and thereby create a sense of transparency, responsibility and accountability amongst the 1,000. It is this process of engagement that will mean the Formal Recommendations are much more than just sterile suggestions; they will be fertile dialogue that will yield fruit in the form of change.

 

The ongoing interaction and engagement between those with “the passion and purpose for change” and those with the “power and position to make change possible” through the writing, reading and responding to the thought leadership essays by the subject-matter experts and the formal recommendations by the Scientific Committee will be the engine that drives the change that is needed.

 

The Scientific Committee will be carefully selected; it will be a “Dream Team” of highly respected individuals; and acting as a group they will be too credible to be ignored by the 1,000 we are seeking to engage with. The Scientific Committee will have technical and governance oversight of the book and the project as a whole.

 

They will be leaders amongst thought leaders.

Founding members of the Scientific Committee will include Dr. Anna Tilba, Associate Professor in Strategy and Governance at Durham University Business School; and Professor John Wilson, Pro-Vice Chancellor, Northumbria University.

Chapter 18: Conclusions and Next Steps

 

The Conclusions and Next Steps chapter will consolidate the overall message from the book which is that through the application of a systematic and comprehensive approach to driving change we can co-create a solution that “acts like a sat-nav for finance reform,” always asking:

  • Where are we now?
  • Where do we want to get to?
  • What is the best way to get there?

We will also build momentum for creating the following year’s edition because in this chapter we will explain the that:

  • Each year there will be an updated edition with a refreshed set of Formal Recommendations
  • The subject-matter experts already involved with the project are invited to submit new essays to express updates and advances in their thought leadership
  • New subject-matter experts are invited to submit thought leadership essays to increase the breadth and the depth of the experience and wisdom being fed into the project
  • The Special 1,000 are invited to respond to the Formal Recommendations they have been given; the readers of the book will thereby become the writers of the book over time i.e. an osmosis-like process will be encouraged to blend togethor the thinking of “those with a sense of passion and purpose for the change that is needed” and “those with the power and position to make change possible”
  • We want suggestions for new additions to the Special 1,000. The new additions will refresh the Special 1,000 each year; we will be selecting out those that do not wish to engage, and we will be replacing them with those that do. This way there will only ever be 1,000 in the Special 1,000 and year by year the 1,000 will become an increasingly engaged, participative and supportive group; they will move from being the targets of our collective effort to becoming active contributors to our collective effort.

A TRULY PIONEERING PROJECT

 

We intend that the book and the major international project that it is the heart of to be highly impactful; what we are doing could lead to long-lasting transformational change that would represent a major breakthrough for the financial services sector.

 

This will be the first ever serious attempt to initiate and facilitate a global conversation around how we can accelerate the rebuilding of trust and confidence in financial services.

 

This will be the first ever serious attempt to build a global network of dream-team subject matter experts for the purpose of aggregating their collective thought leadership to help deal with the trust deficit.

 

This will be the first ever serious attempt to drive positive, progressive and purposeful finance reform through the conception, development and application of the Finance Development Goals.

 

This will be the first ever serious attempt to create a Scientific Committee of leading academics around the world with unparalleled collective credibility; who will work collaboratively to create a framework for finance reform based on their Formal Recommendations.

 

This will be the first ever serious attempt to define and engage with the world’s 1,000 most influential people that, in effect, govern the way the financial system works. Over time, we hope and expect more and more of the 1,000 to become increasingly involved in this initiative – we will be systematically converting the 1,000 from being the target market for our collective creativity to becoming active participants in the change management process that we are driving.

EXPECTED OUTPUTS

The outputs that we expect to achieve by the end of 2020 are summarised here:

 

  • A detailed project plan for a well-organised initiative post the initial establishment phase

 

  • A global network of subject-matter experts that have opted in to be part of the project

 

  • A minimum of a further 12 internaitonal meetings specifically dedicated to the project

 

  • The listing of the 1,000 most influential people

 

  • Engagement and participation of 15% or more of the 1,000 most influential people

 

  • A global network of Scientific Committee members

 

  • Fully-developed Finance Development Goals

 

  • The first edition of the book

 

  • The beginnings of a transformational change process of immeasurable value, worldwide

 

  • The creation of an opportunity for many spinoff research and activities

CONCLUSION

 

It is crystal clear that:

  • The Trust Deficit in financial services is a serious and systemic problem that adversely effects the wellbeing of society, economic stability and political stability

 

  • Our initiative is the first serious attempt to do something about the Trust Deficit on a coordinated, international basis

 

  • Our approach is wholly inclusive and has the potential to create a motivated movement for change involving all the key stakeholders necessary including politicians, policymakers and regulators; right around the world

 

  • Our approach is purposeful and pragmatic; we are happy to consider any alterations to our approach that would enable us to improve our chances of success

NEXT STEPS

 

If you like the idea of becoming "part of the solution" and being included in this breakthrough initiative, please connect.

 

The way that we work is to establish the easiest and best way for people to become part of the global network of like-minded people that we are creating; we believe that teams work best when people get the chance to play to their strengths and contribute in whichever way they would like to.

 

So please reach out and let's see what's best for you:

 

andy.agathangelou@transparencytaskforce.org

 

Thank you!

The Science Committee

Our Scientific Committee have technical and governance oversight responsibility for "The book that is much more than just a book" and this pioneering project as a whole. 

 

Note, we have many more members in the Scientific Committee than those shown below; other photos and bios are being added.

 

By the time it is complete, The Scientific Committee will be a mighty reform engine with significant intellectual horsepower.

 

As individuals, each member of our Scientific Committee has thought leadership that is highly compelling; and collectively they are too credible for their Formal Recommendations to be ignored. 

 

We are extremely grateful to our Scientific Committee who will be providing priceless input to a breakthrough initiative of undeniable importance. 

Dr. Anna Tilba,

Associate Professor in Strategy and Governance, Durham University Business School

 

Dr. Anna Tilba is a researcher and a Lecturer in Strategy and Corporate Governance and a Director of Corporate Engagement at the Newcastle University Business School. She joined NUBS in 2012 from the University of Liverpool Management School where she obtained her PhD in corporate governance and where she was teaching Strategy both at undergraduate and postgraduate level.

 

Her research interests include pension fund investment, financial intermediation and networks, accountability, corporate governance and investor engagement.  Anna has an emerging record of publications in top tier academic journals. She also reviews papers for such scholarly journals as Corporate Governance: An International Review, Organization Studies, European Management Review, Business History and her papers appear at various international conferences. 

 

Anna has been a member of the Advisory Committee on Fiduciary Duties of Investment Intermediaries for the Law Commission. The Consultation Paper on Fiduciary Duties is commissioned by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and arises from the Kay Review of UK Equity Markets and Long-Term Decision-Making.

 

More recently, Anna has carried out research for the UK Financial Conduct Authority on the Effectiveness of the Oversight Committees as past of the FCA's Asset Management Market Study

 

Furthermore, Anna is a member of the Transparency Task Force’s Costs & Charges Team and the International Best Practice Team; and she frquently participates at TTF events. 

Prof. Andreas Hoepner,

Professor of Operational Risk, Banking and Finance,

University College Dublin

 

Professor Andreas G. F. Hoepner, Ph.D., is a Financial Data Scientist working towards the vision of a conflict-free capitalism. While the vision is unlikely fully achievable, Andreas’ view is that anyone can strive to make a regular contribution to reducing abusive conflicts of interests and thereby enhancing the fairness of our society and its financial system. Formally, Andreas is Full Professor of Operational Risk, Banking & Finance at the Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School and the Lochlann Quinn School of Business of University College Dublin (UCD) and serves on the schools’ management team as Vice Principal for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI).

 

Prof. Hoepner is also heading the ‘Practical Tools’ research group of the Mistra Financial Systems (MFS) research consortium (5 groups, total funding: SEK 58m ~ about US$ 7m), which supports asset owners with evidence-based tools for investment decision making. Since June 2018, Andreas is serving on the European Union’s Technical Expert Group on Sustainable Finance as one of three independent members (i.e. appointed in personal capacity instead of representing a legal entity), where his role specialises in developing low-carbon benchmarks. Before joining UCD in June 2017, Andreas was Associate Professor of Finance at the ICMA Centre of Henley Business School, where he remains a Visiting Professor of Finance teaching FCA staff on Ethics, Governance & Accountability.

 

He is also Visiting Professor in Financial Data Science at the University of Hamburg, serves as a board member of the Financial Data Science Association (having been its inaugural chair in 2015-16) and educates investment professional in financial data science as Scientific Co-Director of the Certificate in Financial Data Science of the German Investment Association (DVFA). He is currently serving on the Finance Green Ireland Committee (hosted by the Department of Finance of the Republic of Ireland) and on independent assessment committees for the Investment & Pensions Europe (IPE) Awards (Categories: Climate Change Risk, ESG, Smart Beta), the Investment Innovation Benchmark (www.iib.io), and the RI Awards. He sits on predominantly technical advisory boards for various organizations including Bank J. Safra Sarasin (with former PRI chair Engshuber), www.ClimateDisclosure100.info, the female-led fintech start-up Datamaran, the Deep Data Delivery Standards (www.DeepData.ai), the French Social Investment Forum (FIR), and the Future World Fund (with Lord Stern), Invesco (with emphasis on voting technology), Kempen (with emphasis on boutique SDG investing) and Proxy Insight.

 

Andreas received his PhD from St. Andrews in June 2010, where he was on faculty from 02/2009 to 09/2013. He is co-founder and chair of two socially motivated enterprises: ReFine Research Project which gives social reporting awards to pension funds and Sociovestix Labs (SVL). Co-founded with Prof. Borth, Dr. Hees and Dr. Rezec as a spin-off from the German Research Centre for Artificial Intelligence [DFKI]), SVL is committed to fostering innovations in support of the Sustainable Development Principles while adhering to the Asilomar AI Principles and the ReFine Principles for Financial Data Science. Prior to taking up his MISTRA role in March 2016, Prof. Hoepner served over six years as lead academic advisor to the United Nations supported Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) and consulted for organisations such as CFA, IFC or CISL.

 

Andreas is the sole inventor of a US patent titled ‘Investment Performance Measurement’ (No. US8751357 B1). He also won several awards including a 2015 PRI/Sycomore Best Quantitative Paper and the 2010 PRI Academic Research Award. He publishes interdisciplinary in journals such as Accounting, Auditing & Accountability; Brain & Behavior; Ecological Economics; Environment & Planning C; European Journal of Finance; Journal of Business Ethics; and Journal of Business Finance & Accounting. He is co-editor of the Cambridge Handbook of Institutional Investment and Fiduciary Duty (foreword by Al Gore) and the Routledge Handbook of Responsible Investment. He also co-organised a conference Promoting Sustainable Finance at the European Commission and co-edits special issues in the European Journal of Finance on Econometrics & Financial Data Science.

 

More generally, Prof. Hoepner’s research earned him, aged 33, an invitation to serve as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in 2015 for "exceptional contributions to the study of finance, particularly ... responsible investment”. Andreas is most proud, however, about his record as Ph.D. and post-doc supervisor with more than ten students having successfully graduated into placements such as Fidelity, ICMA Centre, MSCI, Said Business School of the University of Oxford, or University of Hamburg.

 

Besides these academic honours, Prof. Hoepner’s research and views have been covered in mainstream international media (TV, Radio & Print) including Financial Times, The New York Times, BBC (World Business Report, Business Live, Radio 4 today programme, Radio 5 Live, South Live), The Irish Times, Guardian, CNN, WEF and Dutch, French, German & Swedish language media. He has also presented his research to dozens of asset managers including more than two thirds of the trillion US$ group (i.e. AGI, Amundi, AXA, BlackRock, BNP, Capital, Deutsche, Fidelity, JP Morgan, LGIM, NTAM, SSGA, UBS, Vanguard) and many other relevant organisations (e.g. AFA, Akuna, AP 1/3/4/7, AQR, Bloomberg [London, NYC, Tokyo & Zurich], BPP, BVK, CDC, Central Bank of Ireland, CSRC, Church of England, Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt, Deep Learning Finance, DVFA FinTech Forum, Elo, European Commission, FCA, FTSE, Google, IFC, IOSCO, Ireland Strategic Investment Fund, MAN AHL, MP, MSCI, NBIM, OTPP, PKA, Unisuper, or USS).

 

Selected content of Prof. Hoepner has been translated into Chinese, Danish, Dutch, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese and Russian. An extensive record of Prof. Hoepner’s publications, presentations and outreach activities can be found on his CV, which also discloses the ISINs of his personal investments to practise full transparency around any potential conflicts of interest. When interpreting academic behaviour, Andreas follows the credo: evidence is discovered, theories are promoted.

Professsor John Wilson,

Pro Vice-Chancellor for the

Faculty of Business and Law, Nothumbria University, Newcastle

 

Prof. John Wilson is a Pro Vice-Chancellor for the Faculty of Business and Law at Northumbria University, Newcastle. Professor Wilson joined from Newcastle University Business School where he has been the Director since November 2012.

 

With an academic record as a world-class researcher, his previous roles have included Professor of Strategy and Director of Programmes at the University of Liverpool Management School and Director of Research and Professor of International Business, University of Central Lancashire.

 

Professor Wilson has been researching British business history for almost forty years and has published fifteen books and over seventy journal articles and chapters, which offer a range of insights into the way British business has evolved over the last 250 years.

Krzysztof Grabowski Ph.D,

Securities Broker

 

Securities Broker, Ph.D. in law, capital market and corporate governance expert.

 

Retired, but still active professionally. Lecturer of corporate governance at Kozminski University in Warsaw, member of the Academic Society of the Allerhand Institute and of the Scientific Society of Praxiology, arbitrator and mediator at the Court of Arbitration at the Polish Financial Supervision Authority. Member of the Insurance and Reinsurance Stakeholder Group at the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) and of the Expert Group on Technical Aspects of Corporate Governance Processes (CG-Tech) at the European Commission, member of international organizations of corporate governance. Expert witness in the field of trading in securities. Member of the jury of "The Best Annual Report", and of the jury for the best thesis and Ph.D. dissertation on business ethics "Verba Veritatis".

 

He has worked for several market institutions: brokerage houses, Stock Exchange, Securities and Exchange Commission, Polish Financial Supervision Authority, self-governed organization of financial institutions. Former member of the supervisory boards of the Warsaw Stock Exchange and of the Citibank Handlowy in Warsaw, former president of the Polish Association of Brokers and Investment Advisors.

 

Participant in the legislative works on capital market and company law at national and EU levels. Author of numerous publications, both scientific and popularizing, lecturer at seminars and workshops in the field of capital markets, corporate governance and business ethics.

 

Prof. Paul Moxey Bsc(Eng), MBA, ACA, FCIS

Professor of Corporate Governance,

London South Bank University

 

Governance, culture and risk management consultant, expert witness, trainer and author

 

Paul is an acknowledged expert in corporate governance and risk management and for 13 years led ACCA's (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) global thought leadership on these subjects.  He now works with boards and executive teams in assessing and improving their culture and governance and risk management practices to improve organisational performance and resilience.  He also writes and trains boards and others on governance, board effectiveness, risk, business ethics and corporate culture and recently wrote a text book on corporate governance for ICSA.

 

Paul is visiting professor of Corporate Governance at London South Bank University, co-chairman of the CRSA Forum, a network of practitioners established in 1994 interested in the behavioural and cultural aspects of risk, governance and organisational performance, a fellow of scenario and futures consultants SAMI Consulting, a board member of the UK Policy Governance Association and an editorial board member of a governance journal.  He is a trustee of a sailing club and has been chairman of a small housing charity, and started and sold a successful small retail and printing business.

 

Paul is a chartered accountant and a chartered secretary and earlier in his career was a company secretary and group financial controller of a small UK listed company and then a larger unlisted company with 5,000 staff.

 

His publications include:

 

ICSA’s Certificate in Corporate Governance 2018

 

Incentivising ethics 2016

Capitalism and the Concept of the ‘Public Good’ 

Culture and Channelling Corporate Behaviour Summary of Findings.

Creating Value Through Governance: Towards a New Accountability.  

Risk and Reward Tempering the Pursuit of Profit.

Corporate Governance and the Credit Crunch

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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