TTF’s Strategy for Driving Change

 

The Transparency Task Force exists to drive positive, progressive and purposeful finance reform. 

To help turn our ideas into reality we have a strategy for driving change, which is to bring together the thinking of two groups of people:

#1, Those with a sense of ‘passion & purpose’ about what needs to change, such as:

  • The thought-leaders that speak at our many symposia
  • The ethically-minded financial services professionals, enlightened market participants and leading academics who are involved with our 12 Groups of volunteers
  • Our volunteers that work together to produce important Consultation responses and challenging White Papers
  • The many subject-matter experts who publish their progressive thinking in our online monthly magazine, the Transparency Times and through our LinkedIn group
  • Our members that engage with the media to help raise awareness of our work and the issues that concern us
  • The leaders of the many campaign and advocacy groups that are closely-aligned to the TTF’s overall objectives to create a finance industry that serves its markets as it should – efficiently, ethically, honourably and transparently

#2, Those with the ‘power & position’ to make change happen, such as:

  • The world’s Finance Ministers
  • The leaders of the OECD
  • The leaders of the World Bank
  • The leaders of the United Nations and its Global Compact (to which we are co-signatories)
  • The World Economic Forum
  • The Bretton Woods Committee
  • The world’s major financial trade bodies
  • The world’s major financial professional associations
  • The leaders of the major banks, asset managers and insurance companies
  • Journalists and reporters with influence on the financial services sector
  • Government officials, for example:
    • The UK’s Members of Parliament and their equivalent around the world
    • Lords in the UK’s Upper House; and their equivalent around the world
    • Members of various All Party Parliamentary Groups and their equivalent around the World
    • Senior Civil Servants at The Department for Work & Pensions; and at The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy; and their equivalent around the world
  • Financial Regulators, such as:
    • The UK’s financial regulators, particularly The Financial Conduct Authority, The Pensions Regulator, The Prudential Regulatory Authority, The Competition & Markets Authority, The Financial Reporting Council and The Payment Systems Regulator
    • The USA’s financial regulators, particularly The Securities & Exchange Commission, The Commodity Futures Trading Commission, The Federal Reserve System, The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
    • Mainland Europe’s numerous financial regulators, particularly The European Central Bank, The European Banking Authority, The European Securities and Markets Authority, The European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority, The European Systemic Risk Board, The Financial Market Authority, The Financial Services and Markets Authority, Netherlands’ Authority for the Financial Markets; The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority plus the numerous national Central Banks
    • Canada’s financial regulators particularly The Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation, The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, The Canadian Securities Administrators, The Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of The Mutual Fund Dealers Association
    • Australia’s financial regulators, particularly The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority, The Australian Securities and Investments Commission
    • South Africa’s financial regulators including the South African Reserve Bank, The National Credit Regulator and The Financial Services Board
    • The many and varied financial regulators in the Far East, particularly The Hong Kong Monetary Authority, The Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission, The Monetary Authority of Singapore, Japan’s Financial Services Agency and The Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission
    • Other financial regulators around the world
 
Identifying and engaging with “those with the power and position to make change happen” is a key part of our strategy for driving change. 
 
On the basis that our strategy for driving change is to bring together the thinking of the two groups above, it follows that we create ways to make that happen. 

We do so by: 

  • Running our transparency symposia; both in-person and online;
  • Expressing our ideas in the media;
  • Awarding the Transparency Trophy;
  • Operating our Special Interest Groups and our Chapters;
  • Publishing the Transparency Times;
  • Responding to formal Consultations;
  • Publishing White Papers and Research;
  • Holding meetings with politicians, policymakers and regulators;
  • Speaking at conferences around the world;
  • Continuously growing our audience and our community.

A very good example of how we have helped to make change happen though our strategy to bring together 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 happen” would be as follows:

On September 12th 2016, we organised a meeting in the Houses of Parliament. It was Co-Chaired with Tom Tugendhat MBE MP, who is now the Chair of the UK’s Foreign Affairs Select Committee. 

The meeting had been organised with a very specific purpose in mind:

“…to begin to build consensus on the best way to protect the interests of the UK’s pensions-saving public through full disclosure on all the costs and charges they are paying but not being told about.”

We managed to get the UK’s financial regulators and several of the UK’s financial trade bodies and professional associations to give an account of what they were doing to help promote transparency and protect consumers. 

There were over 50 people in attendance, and it was a successful meeting. Many good ideas were discussed; and one of them quickly became a campaign idea, to campaign for the UK’s Work and Pensions Select Committee to open an inquiry into pensions costs and transparency. 

We worked collaboratively to write a letter to the then Chair of the influential Work and Pensions Select Committee, Frank Field MP, explaining why such an inquiry was necessary. To give the letter some weight we had it endorsed by 111 people who wanted to show support for the initiative. Many were senior, influential people within the pensions and investment sector. The letter worked. The Pension Costs and Transparency enquiry was opened. Andy Agathangelou was one of the first 3 people to give evidence in Parliament for the inquiry, on 5th September 2018.

The other witnesses called upon to provide evidence at the inquiry in Parliament were:

  • David Pitt-Watson, Fellow at the Cambridge Judge Business School, an Ambassador of the Transparency Task Force and a member of our advisory Board
 
  • Dr. Chris Sier, seasoned campaigner for costs transparency and the former Chair of the Financial Conduct Authority’s Institutional Disclosure Working Group
 
  • Colin Meech, National Officer, UNISON
 
  • Jonathan Lipkin, Director of Policy, Strategy and Research, Investment Association
 
  • Dr Yvonne Braun, Director of Policy, Long-Term Savings and Protection, Association of British Insurers
 
  • Nigel Peaple, Director of Policy, Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association
  • Andrew Bailey, then Chief Executive, Financial Conduct Authority (now Governor of the Bank of England)
 
  • Christopher Woolard, Executive Director of Strategy and Competition, Financial Conduct Authority
 
  • Deborah Jones, Director of Life Insurance and Financial Advice, Financial Conduct Authority
 
  • Pritheeva Rasaratnam, Head of Pensions and Funds Policy, Financial Conduct Authority
 
  • Guy Opperman MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State
 
  • Charlotte Clark, Strategy Director for Private Pensions, Department for Work and Pensions
 
  • John Glen MP, Economic Secretary, HM Treasury

We hope the above account will serve as a very good example of the Transparency Task Force strategy for driving change in action.

Here are some other examples: 

– The meeting we organised in Parliament on 26th June 2017, Co-chaired with Lord Cromwell, about the need for reforms in the banking sector, whereby the Transparency Task Force’s Special Interest Group on Banking presented a White Paper to the Financial Conduct Authority’s Head of Retail Banking, Karen McTeague; and others, about the need for the Banks to be more transparent on how they make money when customers fall into unapproved overdraft. Our thoughts were fed straight into the FCA’s policy consultation on banking reform; there have been positive changes in this space since 

– The meeting we organised in Parliament on 7th February 2018, also Co-chaired with Lord Cromwell, about the need for an All-Party Parliamentary Group on Financial Stability. The meeting focused on the question “How can we mitigate the risk of another Global Financial Crisis?”. All the relevant regulators were represented including The Bank of England/Prudential Regulatory Authority, The Financial Conduct Authority, The Pensions Regulator; and so on. 

– The meeting we organised in Parliament on 16th March 2020, to begin to initiate the launch of a new All-Party Parliamentary Group on Pension Scams; a big and growing problem in the UK. The draft Purpose Statement for the new All-Party Parliamentary Group on Pension Scams is: “To be a forum through which Parliamentarians and other stakeholders can work together to better protect the public from the perils of pension scams and secondary scammers; give scam victims a representative collective voice; signpost victims to support; and facilitate the development of preventative and supportive policy initiatives.”