The TTF Chapters Initiative

The Status of this Initiative

 

The TTF Chapters Initiative is at pre-launch i.e. we are first gathering thoughts and ideas about how best to make the idea work. 

 

We are therefore keen to receive input from anybody that would like to share their thoughts on how to help ensure the idea realises its full potential.

 

Background and Context

 

The TTF has grown considerably from very humble beginnings and our international project to help reform financial services, so the consumer gets a better deal and trust and confidence in the system can be restored has led to many new members getting involved, from right around the world. 

 

That’s all very good news indeed, however it leads to some harsh realities:

  • The existing TTF infrastructure cannot cope with the level of interest we are generating around the world
  • We only have sufficient resource to run one meeting per year in each of the Cities where we know there is interest in the TTF
  • If we do not have regular meetings in each of the Cities where TTF is becoming active, we run the risk of the momentum we build at each of our annual meetings in each of the Cities to subside

These realities have led us to consider the following questions:

  • How can we ensure that the TTF community can continue to grow, unhindered by our significant operational resource?
  • How can we ensure the individuals we are meeting around the world wo are authentically enthusiastic about the TTF and its mission are able to participate fully in the progress we are making?
  • How can we build an international network of active members with a sufficiently robust governance framework that does not jeopardise our reputational integrity?

 

The TTF Strategy for Driving Change

 

The TTF exists to help reform financial services, so consumers get a better deal and trust and confidence in the system can be restored. To make positive change happen, our work must go far beyond just describing the problems and considering how they can be solved; it must actually move onto initiating and managing the change we want to see.

 

With this in mind, we have developed a strategy for driving change that seems to be working well so far. We describe it as follows:

 

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.

 

Ultimately, the extent to which we are able to drive positive, progressive and purposeful finance reform will be a function of how well we implement our strategy for driving change. 

 

There are many key success factors that will determine our success. Amongst others, they include the quantity and calibre of those we have in the “passion and purpose” group. Whilst that group has grown rapidly, we really are just “scratching the surface” in terms of our true international potential. 

 

Furthermore, it is very obvious that if our capacity to grow was restricted by what we can do “at Head Office,” our potential growth would be stifled. We have an extremely hard-working team but there is only so much one full time person and two part-time people can do. 

 

We therefore need to grow in a manner that does not rely on “Head Office” for the TTF to be able to have any chance of realising our potential as a source for good. 

 

An Outline Silhouette of the Chapters Initiative

 

The notes that follow provide a rough outline of what we are looking to do, based upon the feedback received thus far.

 

We are a long way away from finalising our thinking but based on the many conversations we have had so far, we know there is an abundance of enthusiasm for us to grow through creating an international network of Chapters; that’s very exciting indeed but we are alert to the risks and challenges, particularly in relation to how we should create a robust governance framework that ensures the Chapters always operate “true to mission.”

 

As you see, the notes are just in rough bullet-point format. They will continue to be finessed as we absorb feedback:

 

Here’s an outline of the Chapter idea I spoke about. We are just in idea stage but based on the conversations I’ve had so far it seems as though there’d be real interest - let me know if you have any further thoughts; I have highlighted in yellow the piece I have added about the SIGs that you thought of:

  

  • 8 TTF Chapter Leaders per City in which we have are to have a Chapter; equal status amongst the Chapter Leaders
  • Each Chapter Leader to make a firm and clear comitment to help lead the Chapter in a manner that keeps it "true to mission." This commitment to be along the lines of "The Chapter Leader's Promise" 
  • The 8 Leaders to “Buddy Up” and operate as 4 pairs
  • When there is sufficient interest and once we have 8 suitable TTF Chapter Leaders in the corresponding City, Chapters to be launched in Dublin, Amsterdam, Zurich, Brussels, Paris, Geneva, Frankfurt, Washington DC, New York, Boston, Hong Kong, Sydney, Melbourne, Singapore i.e. all the places in which we are holding symposia outside the UK during 2019 
  • Other future possibilities include Chicago, San Francisco, LA, Johannesburg, Cape Town, Tokyo all of which are likely to have TTF meetings next year
  • The overall purpose of the TTF Chapters is to grow the TTF community and galvanise support for driving positive, progressive and purposeful finance reform
  • We hope and anticipate the Chapters will attract people who have a “let’s figure out what’s wrong and fix it” mindset; people that want to be “part of the solution”
  • The Chapters will create opportunities for people to discuss relevant issues, network, socialise. The “vibe” is to be relaxed, informal and friendly
  • The Chapters will provide insight and understanding to “TTF HQ” on the issues that matter to the Chapter and its members
  • Quarterly meetings; the 8 Chapter Leaders take it in turn to run a meeting; one pair at a time, hence 4 meetings per year
  • Free to join the Chapter and TTF; but all members to be invited to join the subscription model that we develop
  • Meetings to start either at 0700, ending at 0900; or at 1800, ending at 2000. By having breakfast and early evening meetings they do not intrude into normal working time 
  • Attendees pay for any food and drink they may consume; a similar model to what has been used succesfully by many community groups. 
  • No presentations; just facilitated conversation, discussion, debate, led by the pair of Chapter Leaders who will help set the agenda but themes to always be in keeping with what the TTF is all about
  • Roughly 90 minutes of facilitated discussion and debate; followed by 30 minutes of networking. The facilitated discussion and debate part of the agenda to include “standing agenda items” that always get covered plus anything the Chapter Leaders wish to add. 
  • Standing Agenda Items could include:
    • Introductions
    • Matters relating to TTF’s Special Interest Groups – news, ideas, challenges, requests for help and input
    • Ideas for Outreach and TTF Community growth
    • Ideas for campaign activity
    • News from within the Community
    • “Question(s) for the Quarter” (to lead into facilitated discussion on a topical issue)
    • Relevant Regulatory Developments
    • Any other Business
    • Details of next Chapter Meeting
    • Confirmation of Agreed Actions
    • Close of the Formal Proceedings
    • Networking
  • No commercial dimension i.e. no presentations by commercial organisations
  • Zero tolerance for anybody trying to hijack the agenda for their own aims
  • Each Chapter will have its own web page within the TTF site
  • Leaders’ photos and bios on their Chapter’s web page
  • List of the Chapter members on the web page too
  • Chapter Leader to provide notes from the meeting - key discussion points and any ideas agreed captured in the notes; no need for detailed minutes. Notes to be provided to TTF HQ within 24 hours; we will publish on the Chapter’s web page
  • Chapter Leaders to take full responsibility for their meeting – venue, logistics etc
  • TTF HQ to have full responsibility for all the marketing and promotion of the Chapter’s meetings; but Leaders and members can supplement and support through outreach, social media and so on
  • If over the next say 3 years we grow the membership in each Chapter to say 1,000 people x 20 Chapters = 20,000 people; all united in the desire to help get the finance industry to work better for everybody; a worthwhile aim

 

Key Questions that will need to be addressed

 

  • How do we create a robust governance framework that will keep the Chapters “true to mission”?
  • What should the process be to recruit the Chapter Leaders?
  • How can we trial this initiative to help inform and develop the blueprint? – could we, for example have some “provisional” Chapter Leaders to help get things started, with all parties knowing that we are operating in “experimental laboratory conditions”?

 

Next steps

 

We will continue to finesse our thinking through encouraging feedback and absorbing it into our blueprint planning, with a view to getting the first cluster of Chapters up and running on a trial, pilot and provisional basis. 

 

If all goes well, we can thereafter share best practice and launch other Chapters.

 

Please share your thoughts and ideas to andy.agathangelou@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."...

 

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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