The original inspiration for Team PISCES came from David Pitt-Watson (an Ambassador of the Transparency Task Force) and his work on 'The Purpose of Finance'. David spoke at a Finance Innovation Lab & St. Paul's Institute event in January 2017. His talk was inspiring, thought-provoking and challenging in equal measure; if you've had the fortune to listen to David speak on 'Purpose' you'll know exactly what we mean.
'What's the purpose of finance?' is a question of profound importance. It helps to focus the mind on what really matters and it can shape your entire outlook on the financial services industry - it's many shortcomings but also it's potential for good as well.
The way that money is utilised can have an enormous impact on the behaviour of individuals, organisations, markets, societies and countries.
Team PISCES is for those that like the idea of the world's capital markets becoming a 'force for good' and at worst want the financial ecosystem to 'do no harm'.
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;
S is for Socially Responsible Investing.
If you believe there is scope to improve the way the financial services sector influences what happens in our world then you may well be on the same wavelength as the many volunteers in Team PISCES. Please don't 'stand by', please 'stand up' - we need all the help we can get and the more members we have the greater our collective impact, so get in touch.
What are the Team PISCES Squads?
To maximise the impact of Team PISCES it makes sense to enable its members to put their energies into the campaign ideas they feel most strongly about and aligned with.
To facilitate this we have organised Squads, with each Squad focused on a particular issue.
Squads are to be led by ideally two or more Squad Leaders. Squad Leaders are individuals that want to take on extra responsibility for driving the work of their Squad in terms of strategy, tactics, defining campaign targets, defining good outcomes, defining time-frames and so on.
Here's some information on each of our Squads:
The Purpose Statements Squad
This Squad will be campaigning to collect 'Purpose Statements'? i.e. "I believe the Financial Services sector ought to develop a greater sense of Purpose because........." (or similar, exact wording to be finalised). Take a look at the Transparency Statements part of the TTF website to see the kind of output we are after.
The Purpose Meta-Study Squad
This Squad will be collating existing Purpose-related materials, and possibly conducting a Meta-Study of those materials.
This Squad is led by
Managing Partner of Organizational Maturity Services LLP; and
Co-founder and Council member at the Maturity Institute.
Stuart leads pioneering work with the investment community to integrate human governance and human capital management capability into company valuation and investment decision-making. He also advises business leaders on developing insight that both enhances value and manages business risk with respect to human capital. Stuart has published research on human capital management in international mergers and acquisitions, on HCM in a global context and was appointed an Innovation Fellow at King’s College London in 2010. He was previously Director of King’s and Cornell University’s executive program on global HCM, was part of the international leadership team at E*TRADE Financial and UK MD, and led advisory businesses, both independently and at Arthur Andersen. Stuart studied Economics and Politics at the University of Warwick.
The Mandatory Fact-Finding Squad
This Squad is led by Julia Dreblow, Founder of sriServices and Fund EcoMarket.
It will be campaigning for Mandatory Fact-Finding, such that professional advisers (such as IFA's for the Retail Market and Investment Consultants for the Institutional Market) are required to establish if the products and solutions they recommend are truly suited to their client's values-based preferences (i.e. they properly take into account views regarding Impact Investing, Socially-Responsible Investing, investing Sustainably and so on) This campaign will align with and support the Regulatory concepts of 'Suitability' and 'Know Your Client'.
The Concept Map Squad
Hamish Stewart, Head of Investor Engagement at ET Index Research is a leader of this Squad.
This Squad will work together to create a 'Concept Map' that shows the inter-relationship and inter-dependencies between the various concepts relevant to this space. ...and describes them, to aid understanding and avoid unnecessarily problematic and essentially trivial semantic differences. This Squad may also go onto create a Taxonomy such that vocabulary, terms, phrases, language used and so on is better understood and better defined/standardised wherever possible.
The Concept Map Squad is co-led by Julia Kochetygova, Senior ESG Research Analyst for Northern Trust Asset Management.
Julia is responsible for ESG research, product innovation and thought leadership across all asset class capabilities. Her past positions include Head of sustainability indices at S&P Dow Jones Indices, Head of the Corporate Relations function at MDM Bank in Russia, and Head of Corporate Governance Ratings at S&P Ratings. She holds a PhD in Economics from the Institute of Economics, Russian Academy of Sciences, and MSc. in Economics of Industry from the Moscow Institute of National Economy.
The Standardised Reporting Squad
This Squad will work together to campaign for better reporting and will push for greater standardisation of reporting. It may go on to campaign for the UK to have something similar to Article 173 in France which is about reporting on climate change by Asset Managers by institutional investors.
The Measurement of Impact Squad
This Squad will campaign for better 'Measurement of Impact'.
The Tools for Trustees Squad
This Squad will work together to provide Trustees (and similar) with practical tools, guidance, process steps and so on to enable them to carry out their duties more effectively.
The Response Team Squad
This Squad will work together to provide TTF Team PISCES' response to the EU Consultation on Sustainable Finance, see: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-17-2022_en.htm
Grant Thornton UK LLP conceived this Squad and is one of its two Squad Leaders.
Sandy is a customer and conduct actuary, with over 10 years PQE in financial services, with a strong mix of risk, investment, regulatory and sustainability experience.
Sandy joined Grant Thornton in January 2016, as a senior manager in the Actuarial & Risk team, with a life sector customer and conduct agenda brief. He is currently working on a range of projects covering risk management, customer protection, transaction cost reporting and climate change.
Prior to this he was Head of Unit Linked Funds (Workplace Pensions) at Prudential, with responsibility for the investment fund proposition, unit linked governance, supporting client relationships and leading the relationship with the Independent Governance Committee (‘IGC’).
Sandy has strong knowledge of the UK long term savings market with a particular focus on DC workplace pensions propositions, retirement adequacy and innovation around product solutions for long term savings. he has a strong track record of innovation and collaboration – working both in industry and as a consultant to drive businesses forward through product developments, relationships and brand building exercises.
He is passionate about sustainability and in particular the urgent need to address the challenges that climate change poses, strongly believing that this is the joint responsibility of individuals, corporates and governments.
The Response Team, led superbly by Sandy and JB has provided input to the EU High Level Expert Group (HLEG) on Sustainable Finance interim report entitled ‘Financing A Euroean Economy' see:
The TTF supports the Chair of the expert group Christian Thimann who wrote; “We hope that this Interim Report will help to stimulate debate on sustainable finance and create the basis for engagement by a wide range of stakeholders to inform the Group’s final report due in December. “
The TTF welcomes this consultation and is supportive of a number of the recommendations of the HLEG. Because members of the TTF are drawn from across financial services and beyond, with representatives from the long term savings and investment industries, NGOs, activist groups and academia we represent a passionate, expert and diverse group of professionals, who are 'tribeless' and all urgently recognise the need to transform the world’s capital markets to become a force for good.
The most important issue that needs to be addressed is to align capital market players around a shared sense of purpose and to actively support society with solving the many challenges faced as we move into the 21st century.
In particular, there has been an enormously positive reception to TTF's Team PISCES and we genuinely feel that there is an increasing desire within the industry for change. As the consultation notes, few people “want to exploit their fellow citizens or the planet in an unsustainable way” and this extends to those working in financial services.
However, this is a transformational change in many ways and will require a favourable policy environment to support this transformation occurring in a rapid but structured fashion.
Success will depend on striking the right balance between policy, regulation and nudges to allow market forces to drive this change.”
If you just want a high-level overview of our response the press release beow will suffice; but if you want the detail you can download our response in full which is beneath that.
Who are the members of Team PISCES?
Although Team PISCES was only launched at our Transparency Symposium on 17th May 2017 it has attracted a great deal of interest from many high-calibre individuals who have a tremendous appetite for driving change in the world's capital markets.
As individuals, they and their organisations already have the ability to positively influence developments; but as a cohesive, collaborative, campaigning community they will have even more impact.
You can view the members of Team PISCES and all our other Teams, and our Ambassadors by downloading the spreadsheet that you can access through this link; scroll to the bottom of the page.
If you would like to know more, please contact me through firstname.lastname@example.org
How does Team PISCES operate?
That's a simple one to answer:
Members of Team PISCES have a monthly conference call, but there is no expectation that you will join every call - just make the ones that are convenient for you.
Downloads relating to Team PISCES
The downloads and items below are hoped to be useful items for those already involved in Team PISCES or who might be interested in joining it. Feel free to supply others items for inclusion, connect through email@example.com
Clarion call for members of Team PISCES
The video below shows our clarion call for people to join TTF's Team PISCES. It was made at the RSA in London on 5th June 2017 and it resulted in several new members getting involved. Thanks to all that did. The Transparency Task Force's Team PISCES had been formed just a couple of weeks before the presentation and it has grown rapidly since. We are very pleased to report that it is becoming a very worthwhile 'force for good' and has tremendous potential. If you are into Purpose, Impact Investing, Sustainability, Climate Change, Environment, Social & Governance or Socially Responsible Investing in any way please connect through firstname.lastname@example.org and we can explore how you would most like to get involved.
Thank you very much.
The Purpose of Finance Report
The Report below was produced by David Pitt-Watson, Dr. Hari Mann and Pension Insurance Corporation. It's a great piece of thought leadership and deals with a question of profound importance: 'What is the Purpose of Finance?'
CII thinkpiece - 'SRI: socially, environmentally and financially useful - and uniquely placed to help build trust'
SRI Styles help explain the key differences between sustainable, responsible and ethical investment options by highlighting their core strategy.
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: