In general terms a Special Interest Group (SIG) is


"a community within a larger organisation with a shared interest in advancing a specific area of knowledge, learning or technology where members cooperate to affect or to produce solutions within their particular field".


As such, the term Special Interest Group is the perfect description for the many teams of volunteers that are the engine room of the collaborative, campaigning community that is the Transparency Task Force.


Please note:


If you already know that you want to join one or more of our Special Interest Groups click where shown below; otherwise read on to help you decide if you want to be included. 


Thank you!

Click here to email us to join one or more of our Special Interest Groups

You can scroll to the bottom of this page to:

  • Download a spreadsheet showing who is involved with each of our Special Interest Groups
  • View a table that shows when each Special Interest Group has its next quarterly conference call.


How the Special Interest Groups started


The first Transparency Task Force meeting was held on 6th May 2015 at Senate House, London University. The meeting was about the need for the financial services industry to rebuild trust in the sector; and about the correlation between transparency, truthfulness and trustworthiness. 


The message delivered was that those of us who truly care about the importance of the Financial Services sector and the people it serves can, and should, work together to help drive the positive, progressive and purposeful reform that is needed.


We referred to the famous Margaret Mead quote: 

Our call for right-minded people to "stand up, not stand by” landed well – people volunteered to get involved.


Since then, word has spread about our noble and necessary cause. 


Through word of mouth, through our Transparency Symposia, through our coverage in the national and trade press including the Financial Times, BBC Radio 4’s Moneybox and the specially-commissioned and award-winning programme The Transparency Detectives, through publication of our own Transparency Times, through our own LinkedIn Group, through many speeches in the UK and around the world and even through a live appearance on TV in Singapore, more and more people have heard about our activity and decided they want to be included in this major international effort to drive change.


We think the response to what the Transparency Task Force is all about has been profoundly positive because professionally minded people authentically align with what we call our ‘North Star’ question: 


“What’s best for the consumer?”


Volunteers have been organized and mobilized into our Special Interest Groups; with each one being made up people with subject-matter expertise that can help identify, understand and then solve them. 


We started off with a handful of Special Interest Groups, but we now have 12.


In total our Special Interest Groups have over 1,350 people involved, from 16 countries altogether.


The Special Interest Group members are a 'coalition of the willing', working together to be 'part of the solution'. Each SIG is focused on at least one campaign objective.


Frequently asked questions:


Q: Is there a cost to join any of the Special Interest Groups?

A: No. 


Q: Would I be obliged to do anything in particular?

A: No - you can be involved as much or as little as you want


Q: What is the guiding principle that the TTF and its Special Interest Groups abide by?

A: We are always seeking to build consensus around our North Star Question which is "What is best for the consumer?"


Q: Would I be obliged to think about issues in a particular way?

A: No - we welcome and want a wide range of views; you’ll be free to “say it as you see it”


Q: How do the Special Interest Groups operate in practical terms?

A: We have quarterly conference calls that last half an hour, so it's not too onerous at all. Furthermore, there is no need for you to make every call, just those that happen to be convenient for you


Q: Where can I find the details of the next quarterly conference calls?

A: See the table at the bottom of this web page where you will find full details about timings of each of the calls and also the dial-in details you need.


Q: What happens between the quarterly calls?

A: Each of the Special Interest Groups has one or more campaign objective. If you want to be involved in helping to drive that particular campaign forward, you might want to pick up some of the actions and responsibilities necessary; it's a team effort but it is entirely up to you whether you pick up any actions


Q: Can I be in a Special Interest Group but basically just "sit on the side-lines"?

A: Yes, you can. We would hope that as time went by you would want to participate in our activity but there is no compulsion for you to do so


Q: How do the Special Interest Groups get formed and how do they decide on their campaign objective(s)?

A:  Generally speaking, we follow these steps; always building consensus through frank and open discussion as we go and always seeking to work together in a civilised, cooperative and collaborative manner:

  • Step 1: We identify a part of the financial services sector that we believe could function in a better way for the consumer

·       Step 2: We reach out to people with subject-matter expertise in that particular part of the market who might be keen to work collaboratively with others to help improve the way that part of the market functions


·       Step 3: We organise and mobilise the volunteers into a solution-orientated Special Interest Group


·       Step 4: We facilitate the development of the Special Interest Group's objectives and a pragmatic campaign strategy to achieve those objectives


·       Step 5: We liaise with relevent members of the press, regulators, parliamentarians, government officials, leading academics, thought leaders and so on to create supportive engagement, analysis and insight


·       Step 6: We implement the campaign strategy, which is normally a combination of activities such as research, producing White Papers, running Thought Leadership events, responding to consultations, holding meetings with key decision-makers and influencers, raising awareness through the press and so on


·       Step 7: We continue to facilitate the ongoing development of the Special Interest Group's work


Q: Can I join more than one Special Interest Groups?

A: Yes


Q: Can I ask my friends, colleagues and acquaintances to consider getting involved?

A: Yes, please do! - the TTF has grown by word of mouth so we would appreciate you doing whatever you can to let people you know have a chance to get involved. Please forward them a link to this web page so they can read about what we are doing and decide for themselves if they want to be included.




Here's an hort overview on each of the Special Interest Groups; which one is right for you?



Trade Bodies & Professional Associations


This is the SIG for you if you are part of a financial services Trade Body, Professional Association, Standards Board and so on. 


The SIG’s purpose is to encourage pan-sector collaboration and to explore how trustworthiness and confidence in the sector can be restored. 

This SIG has great potential to help to improve outcomes for consumers by raising the bar in terms of the standards of ethics, professionalism, conduct and integrity. 





The Pensions SIG is looking to shine a light on many issues that are relevant to driving good outcomes for pension savers.


The scope of this SIG is very extensive - we will be looking into Auto Enrolment, DC Pensions, DB Pensions, CDC; accumulation and decumulation. 


In general terms our focus will be on what reforms are needed to maximise the value for money that pension savers get. The SIG's specific campaign objectives will be decided by its members, as with all our groups, but here are some of the possibilities:

  • Error rates in AE
  • Scheme selection issues in AE
  • Value for money
  • The Net Pay/Relief at Source scandal
  • Regulatory arbitrage between GPPs and Master Trusts
  • CDC; how can we help build the momentum?
  • DB liabilities - do they need recalibrating?
  • Scheme governance - is it as good as it should be?
  • Scheme consolidation - would members be better off?



Fintech, Interoperability & Open Finance


Financial Technology is a natural ally of transparency and all that the TTF is looking to help achieve, because:

  • Fintech makes possible the systematic production and reporting of data that consumers need to make well-informed decisions
  • Fintech can drive down the sector's cost base through enhancing and harnessing interoperability; thereby enabling consumers to get better value for money from the financial products and services they use
  • Fintech can drive interoperability across the industry as a whole, providing the consumer with a more "joined up" user experience as well as far superior data security

TTF's Fintech, Interoperability and Open Finance SIG is therefore for individuals representing organisations that have technologies available that positively align with the TTF's overall aims and objectives to help drive greater transparency and thereby better outcomes for consumers.


Interoperability, i.e. the ability to efficiently and effectively move data from one system to another is another key driver of improving market performance.


Open Finance is also of interest to us; we wish to help promote the extension of the scope of open banking into the wider financial ecosystem; openness and transparency go hand-in-hand.





Transparency generates data that has the potential to be useful. Whether it is useful or not depends on how well the data is turned into clear and intelligible information; and that's the job of communications and communications professionals.


Our communications SIG is for individuals that like the idea of working collaboratively with like-minded people to help improve the standard of communications throughout financial services. In particular, we want financial services communications to be more authentic, because authentic communication is a prerequisite for the sector to be able to rebuild the trustworthiness that it has lost. 





Our Banking SIG has been campaigning for the Banks to treat their business and retail customers in a more transparent way; for example, by changing the way Banks describe their ‘free if in credit’ current accounts and how charges are applied. The highlight so far has been the publication of a well-received White Paper on our reform proposals, presented at special meeting held at the House of Commons in June 2017 that was Co-Chaired with Lord Cromwell. News about the event and our White Paper was covered by The Times. Very good progress has been made on the opacity of costs and charges front; and the SIG is now looking at what more can be done for Banks to properly support those that have been scammed. 


One of the SIG's leaders, Heather Buchanan, is Director of Policy & Strategy at the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Financial Stability; which the team actively supports. 


Furthermore, our Banking SIG is actively supporting the first-class work being done by one of its members, Richard Emery. Richard is doing a sterling job encouraging the banks to take a more customer-friendly stance on matters relating to Push-Payment Fraud. 



Foreign Exchange


The Foreign Exchange market is full of opacity that adversely affects consumers and even institutional investors. Our FX SIG published a constructive critique of the Global FX Code in July 2017, explaining why the Code doesn’t go far enough to make costs in FX sufficiently transparent. The White Paper drew acknowledgement and response from the Competition & Markets Authority and the Economic Secretary at HM Treasury. The SIG continues to shine a light on the reforms needed to help create a fair, transparent, competitive and efficient FX market that delivers value for money to the individuals and institutions that use it. 



Financial Planning


Financial Planning, when done well is hugely valuable but there is a great deal of variance in the levels of quality, transparency and professionalism in the sector. It is clear that whilst some financial planners operate to the very highest ethical standards (thereby embracing transparency as a force for good); others seem not to. 


This SIG is for those in the financial planning sector that want to drive greater professionalism and client-centricity into the sector.





This SIG is about the world’s capital markets becoming a ‘force for good’. To explain the name of the SIG: the P is for Purpose; I is for Impact Investing; S is for Sustainability; C is for Climate Change; E is for Environment, Social and Governance; and S is for Socially Responsible Investing. 


There is tremendous scope for the way the financial services sector influences what happens in our world and this SIG's lead campaign is what we call “Mandatory Fact-Finding,” an idea that financial advisers should establish whether their clients have any values-based preferences (for example, to not invest in a manner that worsens climate change) before recommending a suitable investment fund. 





Our Investments SIG is about encouraging the world’s investment industry to behave in a more progressive and pro-consumer way; to be more determined to put their clients’ interests first, wherever possible. 


The SIG is for individuals that like the idea of working collaboratively with like-minded people to help improve the way the sector operates.


The SIG’s purpose is to


  • Help encourage reform of the investment sector so that consumers get a better experience and better outcomes


  • Facilitate collaboration between investment industry stakeholders that have a more enlightened and progressive approach than most


The SIG was initiated in response to the Financial Conduct Authority’s Asset Management Market Study which was justifiably critical of the way parts of the investment industry have been operating. 


This SIG is for anybody in any part of the investment ecosystem and value chain including individuals in:


  • Asset Management
  • Private Equity
  • Hedge Funds
  • Investment Consulting
  • Fiduciary Management; and so on.


The SIG is interested in topics such as:


  • Improving the transparency on costs and charges
  • Improving the transparency on performance disclosure
  • Improving the transparency on risk disclosures 
  • Developing a Global Transparency Index; whereby an Index is produced to highlight pro-transparency best practice around the world. It will allow countries to benchmark themselves against others in terms of how transparent their financial services ecosystems are. The Global Transparency Index is designed to be an invaluable resource for Governments and Regulators. Our initial focus is to be the UK, USA, Canada, Australia and the Netherlands. We hope the Index will accelerate the rate at which the Financial Services industry around the world moves to a more transparent state; and therefore, a fairer and more efficient state, enabling better outcomes for millions of people globally whilst creating the right conditions for a competitive, vibrant and flourishing investment sector


We believe that the right kind of reforms can encourage a more competitive and efficient market and thereby generate better net results to savers and investors.


This group has already had some great successes:


  • Ground-breaking research on costs & charges that made it all the way to the front page of the Financial Times


  • A very special meeting held at the House of Commons in September 2016 that was Co-Chaired by Tom Tugendhat MBE MP. The event was the first ‘Transparency Strategy Summit’ in the World, and dealt with the question: “What can we collectively do to help protect the UK’s pension savers from hidden costs and charges?” 


This SIG continues to campaign for pro-consumer reform and has been highly engaged with the relevant UK Regulators and Government Departments, particularly the Financial Conduct Authority, the FCA’s Institutional Disclosure Working Group, The Competition & Markets Authority, The Pensions Regulator, The Financial Reporting Council, the Department for Work and Pensions and the Work and Pensions Select Committee. 


Our efforts played an important part in the Work and Pensions Select Committee opening an enquiry into costs and transparency in pensions and investments



Financial Stability


The Financial Stability SIG was launched on 13th September 2017, at a Transparency Symposium held in London entitled “It must never happen again!”. The event was all about the causes and consequences of the Global Financial Crisis and in particular the part that a lack of transparency played. The date of the event was chosen because it marked the 10-year anniversary, to the day, that Northern Rock collapsed. 


The Financial Stability SIG has been working together to establish what more can be done by Governments and Regulators around the World to build greater resilience into the financial ecosystem. This is important work because the overall conclusion from our 13th September 2017 event and similar events we have run thereafter is that despite the fact that we are more than ‘10 years on’ from the Global Financial Crisis there are many risks that have still not been mitigated fully. We want to shine a light on that, in a collaborative, constructive and consensus-building way.


The SIG has produced a White Paper entitled “Ideas to help reduce the chance of another Global Financial Crisis” which we presented at the House of Commons on 7th February 2018. The meeting went very well; so much so that it has helped to initiate the beginnings of an All- Party Parliamentary Group on Financial Stability.



Governance, Culture and Conduct


The financial services sector is profoundly important to the wellbeing of society. It is a sector that has to be trusted to function correctly, yet it often behaves in a manner that leads to distrust. In fact, according to the Edelman Trust Barometer, financial services is the least trusted sector of all. That's a systemic problem to be solved, given the harsh reality that the financial services sector relies on being trusted.


Our Governance, Culture and Conduct Special Interest Group is for a wide range of professionals and stakeholders who are keen to help keep the sector “on the straight and narrow.” 


It is therefore relevent to people involved in:

  • Governance 
  • Regulation
  • Compliance
  • Risk Management
  • Legal including litigation
  • Audit
  • Custodianship
  • Stewardship
  • Culture
  • Conduct
  • Virtues-Based Leadership
  • General Counsel; and so on


The SIG will appeal especially to:

  • Professionals that like the idea of working across an often-siloed part of the market that is absolutely essential to keeping the financial services operating correctly
  • Those whose professional purpose is to guard against malpractice, malfeasance, misconduct and miss-selling; and/or deal with the outfall when it occurs

We anticipate that by working collaboratively the SIG’s members can become more inclusive, proactive and purposeful; thinking about the “bigger picture” more than they ordinarily would.


We will be looking to find ways to help pre-empt the kind of systemic market failings that prevent consumers getting good outcomes and cause extensive reputational damage.





The Payments Sector is a remarkably important part of the financial ecosystem and it is in desperate need of reform to help ensure the consumer is being treated fairly.


This SIG will:


  • Help ensure consumers are not being adversely affected by hidden costs being applied to themselves or the retailers they make purchases through
  • Highlight the importance of payments as a financial services product in its own right, as well as payments being a critical UK and global economic infrastructure
  • Inform stakeholders of the major changes in the payments market, especially the replacement of cash with digital payment methods
  • Share knowledge on major market and regulatory developments, such as Open Banking and the Revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2) 
  • Respond to strategic regulatory and policy initiatives, such as the UK future of cash review and EU payment card regulation review



The Financial Malpractice Victims Association


Many scam victims have been battling for years to try to get the justice they deserve. In some cases, they have lost everything. 


There have even been some that have paid the ultimate price for the criminal activities of monstrous individuals that have tricked them out of their life savings and pension funds i.e. they have taken their own lives. 


We are doing a huge amount of work in this space, actively looking for ways to help the public to be better protected from being scammed in the first place; and to provide them with more and better support if they have become a scam victim. 


Here are our thoughts on why the Financial Malpractice Victims Association is needed:


  • There has been widespread malpractice, malfeasance, misconduct and miss-selling by people in and connected to the financial services sector 


  • Those harmed often find it very difficult to get redress and justice


  • The lack of an effective class/group action system in the UK represents a significant barrier to justice


  • The lack of a support framework for victims makes a very bad situation even worse


  • We believe there is substantial value in bringing together those who have suffered and those that may be able to help those that have suffered.


A large, collective effort is needed to:


  • Create an effective campaign approach to drive the much-needed reform of the system


  • Constructively and confidently challenge “the establishment” including the regulators when it is appropriate to do so, with the intention of driving reform where needed


  • Create the critical mass required to make the professional input needed from specialists including legal professionals economic and efficient


  • Enable the efficient and valuable sharing of intelligence and insight


  • Be a representative collective voice for those that have been harmed


  • Harness the vital support of the media


The Financial Malpractice Victims Association will operate as a TTF Special Interest Group, but also with its additional stand-alone identity


We seek to attract 5 types of members:


  1. Those who have been harmed by any kind of financial malpractice, misconduct, malfeasance, miss-selling, fraud, white-collar-crime, scamming, and so on


  1. Those who run representative groups of people who have been harmed. We hope the FMVA will become an umbrella group for all similar groups, on the basis that we can achieve more together


  1. Those who may be in a position to help those who have been harmed. The help received may be on a voluntary or commercial basis and we expect the FMVA to be of interest to lawyers, litigators, litigation funders and so on. We want to attract anybody that has professional capability and resource that is willing to either offer their services on a pro-bono basis or on genuinely preferential terms


  1. Those in the media who may be willing and able to help raise awareness of the issues the FMVA will be campaigning on


  1. Politicians, policymakers and regulators who support the FMVA’s overall aims and objectives


Our aims are:


  • To campaign for the interests of those that have suffered harm – we want them to get due redress, compensation and justice; and we want their cases and their experience to help drive positive, progressive and purposeful reform


  • To seek to influence and lobby for regulatory and legal change, including, for example:


  • That police forces are able to recoup their costs incurred when they succesfully prosecute financial crime; the present situation is a systemic weakness that desperately needs sorting


  • That HMRC treat victims of pension scams fairly and proportionately


  • That the UK introduces a US-style class-action mechanism that enables efficient judicial process for victims of financial malpractice


We shall focus initially on UK matters but given the truly international reach of the Transparency Task Force it can, in due course and when the time is right, be able to support victims of financial malpractice outside the UK. The world needs a global Financial Malpractice Victims Association, and this could be the start of exactly that


We believe the FMVA has the potential to become a significant force for good; but we are also mindful of the fact that for it to realise its full potential it will require substantial resource. 


Being blunt, the more resource we have the more we can do - without resource we are seriously constrained; that’s the harsh reality of the situation and we are already running ‘flat out’ with very restrictive resource constraints


Our plan is to move forward on the following basis and we would welcome your feedback on the model proposed:


  • Members of the FMVA that are victims of malpractice, are invited to make a regular monthly payment but they are free to select how much they pay and there is no minimum. If any malpractice victim is genuinely unable to make any kind of financial contribution they will be allowed to be a member for free


  • Members of the FMVA that are victims of malpractice, are to pay 2% of any compensation amount received as a result of input provided through the FMVA. This aligns interests and creates an opportunity for the FMVA to win when victims win


  • Members of the FMVA that are service providers are to contribute in two ways:


  • Firstly, through sponsorship of some kind; we’re very open to ideas on how that might work


  • Secondly, by giving victims genuinely preferential ‘no win no fee’ terms that more than offsets the percentage the malpractice victims are required to pay the FMVA. We want malpractice victims, taking everything into account, to get (at least slightly) better terms than they could achieve outside the FMVA


The Financial Malpractice Victims Association will also be working hard to help whistleblowers. 

Individuals that blow the whistle as a result of becoming aware of malpractice, malfeasance, miss-selling, misconduct or even outright criminal activity within the financial services sector provide a valuable service to society.


By reporting malpractice, they help to accelerate the rate at which the organisations, regulators and the judiciary can put things right and deal with offenders appropriately.


However, blowing the whistle can be challenging and fraught with all kinds of problems and risks. 


The sort of questions that might go through the mind of somebody that is considering whether to report something include:

  • What if I’m wrong and I’m just misinterpreting what is happening?
  • What if it all gets very messy and I have to appear as a witness in court?
  • How will the perpetrators respond to what I have done? – will they “come after me” in some way?
  • What will this do to my career prospects where I work?
  • What will my work colleagues, friends and family think of what I have done?
  • If I leave the firm, what will this do to my job prospects?
  • Will I come to regret it?
  • Should I just side-step all the grief by not reporting and hope somebody else does?
  • Do I have a moral, professional, or legal responsibility to report?
  • Could this all backfire for me somehow?
  • What if the press were to get involved?
  • Others seem comfortable and able to turn a blind eye about what is going on. Am I just over-reacting to what I have learned?
  • There is so much uncertainty - would I come to regret it?
  • Should I just play safe and ignore what I know?
  • What if it gets seriously serious?
  • Would I be placing myself and my family in some kind of danger?
  • How confident am I that “the system” will protect me for doing what I believe to be the right thing?

It is widely accepted that being a whistle-blower brings challenges; and sometimes those challenges can be mountainous. 


We hope that the work of the Financial Malpractice Victims Association may be able to make a difference by:

  • Shining a bright light on the issues impacting whistleblowers
  • Promoting whistleblowing as a good thing to do; because it is
  • Providing moral, social, and technical support to whistleblowers
  • To facilitate the sharing of knowledge, insights and experience amongst whistleblowers
  • To constructively challenge the way “the system” deals with whistleblowers with a view to identifying potential improvements to the rules and regulations that surround it
  • Carrying out meaningful research and analysis; and then presenting that information to regulators and other key stakeholders

Helping to accelerate the journey towards defining and disseminating whistleblowing best practice; such that society as a whole can benefit from the valuable service whistleblowers provide 




Our SIGs are not just ‘talking-shops’ or a ‘whinge-fests’ – they are pragmatically undertaking work that can, will and already has made a difference.


They are a consensus-building 'coalition of the willing', working together to be 'part of the solution'. We are proud of our collective efforts to make a difference; especially given how little resource we have at our disposal.


Each SIG has at least one campaign worthwhile project underway, designed to harness the transformational power of transparency to drive the much-needed change that the consumer deserves, and the reputation of the Financial Services sector desperately needs.

Given how much needs sorting in Financial Services we’re obviously going to be busy for a long and we’re always on the lookout for good people that want to get involved.


So if you would ‘rather stand up than stand by’ and would like to know more about how you can get included and do your bit please contact through andy.agathangelou@transparencytaskforce.org

HUGE THANKS to our SIG members and Ambassadors.


You can download the spreadsheet below to see who they are, and beneath that there is a table showing all the details you need for our next round of conference calls.


Please note that any government employees, officials or regulators included in the spreadsheet that can be downloaded below are involved in an observing-only capacity.

All TTF SIG members, Ambassadors, Advisory Board members, Subject Matter Experts and Scientific Committee as at January 14th 2020
Teams Members as at January 14th 2020.x[...]
Microsoft Excel sheet [84.8 KB]







Scroll down to see the dates and times of each of the conference calls.


We use Zoom for our conference calls and the access details for each one of the conference calls shown in the table below are all the same. 


To access a call, you can either click on to the zoom link or dial-in. 



To access by Zoom


Click on the Zoom link below: 





If you are in the UK and you want to dial in, use one of the UK numbers shown below; 

your Meeting ID is: 228 127 6828


One tap mobile


+441314601196,,2281276828# United Kingdom 442030512874,,2281276828# 

+United Kingdom


Or use any of these options:


        +44 131 460 1196 United Kingdom

        +44 203 051 2874 United Kingdom

        +44 203 481 5237 United Kingdom

        +44 203 481 5240 United Kingdom



If you are outside the UK and you want to dial in, click on the "find your local number" link below; 

your Meeting ID is also: 228 127 6828


Find your local number: https://zoom.us/u/acqGH9lkZC




If you have any issues with the process please email briony.crook@transparencytaskforce.org and/or tina.kenyon@transparencytaskforce.org 

and/or call +44 (0) 7494 991 773.


Thank you!



12:00 to 12:45

UK time.


April 27th


Foreign Exchange

14:00 to 14:45

UK time.


April 27th




16:00 to 16:45

UK time.


April 27th


Governance, Culture and Conduct

12:00 to 12:45

UK time.


April 28th


Financial Stability

14:00 to 14:45

UK time.


April 28th


Trade Bodies & Professional Associations

16:00 to 16:45

UK time.


April 28th



12:00 to 12:45

UK time.


April 29th


Fintech, Interoperability & Open Finance

14:00 to 14:45

UK time.


April 29th


Financial Planning

16:00 to 16:45

UK time.


April 29th


The Financial Malpractice Victims Association

12:00 to 12:45

UK time.


April 30th



14:00 to 14:45

UK time.


April 30th



16:00 to 16:45

UK time.


April 30th



12:00 to 12:45

UK time.


May 1st


If you have any queries about the upcoming SIG Zoom calls, please contact Briony at briony.crook@transparencytaskforce.org


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."...


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