TIME FOR TRANSPARENCY
Mercer Boston, 99 High Street, Financial District Boston, Massachusetts, USA - 28/09/2017 12:00 am
How to secure your place
If you have any difficulties making your booking contact:
Please note: Whilst the Transparency Task Force is desperate to raise funds, if the Standard Ticket price of $200 is genuinely beyond your budget you can pay as little as you need to, down to just $1 if you wish; no problem and ‘no questions asked’.
Our rather unusual approach to pricing is because we don’t want people who are genuinely interested in the power of transparency to drive the transformational change that is so desperately needed in the financial services sector being unable to attend because of cost.
Subject to availability (please be quick as places are limited), everybody is welcome to attend, regardless of whether they can afford to pay the full ticket price, or not. The amount you pay will not influence your seating or your status at the event in any way.
Many thanks to :
Note: The presentations andGREAT BIG debate end at 5:00PM but delegates can enjoy networking and drinks courtesy of Mercer at a nearby bar until 7:00PM
Here’s the programme:
9:00 Registration, refreshments and networking
Rachel Wheeler, Principal, Global Business Solutions Group, Mercer.
Rachel Wheeler is a Principal in Mercer’s Global Business Solutions group and currently supports their global leaders on research and special projects.
In 2016 Rachel was seconded to the World Economic Forum and led their Retirement Investment System Reform project. In previous roles, Rachel led the development of the Mercer Pension Risk Exchange, a new solution for Defined Benefit Pension clients that provides clients with access to regular annuity price updates.
Prior to joining Mercer, Rachel has worked for Mercer’s sister companies, Marsh and Oliver Wyman, and has experience working with banks, private equity, and sovereign wealth funds in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.
Rachel holds an MSc in Chemistry from Cambridge University, UK.
Andy Agathangelou, Founding Chair, Transparency Task Force
Andy will be Chairing the Symposium. His overall objective is to galvanise support for the idea that greater transparency can drive positive, transformational change for the benefit of all in the USA, just as it has been in the UK.
Andy formed the Transparency Task Force following a meeting he led at Senate House, University of London on 6th May 2015. The meeting was about how the Financial Services sector seems to have a pre-disposition to reputational self harm, through displaying untrustworthy behaviour; and the part that greater transparency could play in fixing some aspects of what is wrong in financial services. Andy believes that ‘sunlight is the best disinfectant’.
Since 6th May 2015 and without any backing he has recruited, organised and mobilised over 250 volunteers around the world into 9 Teams:
– The Banking Team
– The Foreign Exchange Team
– The Market Integrity Team
– The Costs & Charges Team
– The Scams & Scandals Team
– The International Best Practice Team
– Team PAM (Progressive Asset Managers)
– Team PISCES (Purpose; Impact Investing; Sustainability; Corporate Social Responsibility; Environment, Social & Governance; Socially-Responsible Investing)
– The Financial Stability Team
Our 9 teams are the ‘engine room’ of the Transparency Task Force’s work. Each Team is focused on a particular set of opacity-related challenges whereby subject-matter experts work together on a completely voluntary basis to develop and implement strategies to overcome those challenges.
Having led 12 Transparency Symposia in London, Andy is now taking the ‘Sunlight is the Best Disinfectant’ message overseas, looking for like-minded individuals and exemplary organisations to become part of a collaborative, campaigning community that will act as a a ‘force for good’ around the world, through harnessing the transformational power of transparency.
Andy is also:
- Founding Chair, the Technology Task Force
- Chair, the Interoperability Steering Group
- Governor, Pensions Policy Institute
- Fellow, the RSA
- Chair, Pensions BIB,
- Member, Investment Association Advisory Board on Cost Disclosure
- Former Founding Chair, Friends of Auto Enrolment
- Former Founding Chair, Friends of the Association of Member Nominated Trustees
Richard Field, Director, Institute for Financial Transparency
“The Information Matrix and saving the global financial system”
Using a physical securities model and the Information Matrix, we will begin by defining what financial transparency means and explain its role in the global financial system.
Next, we will look at the global financial crisis and use the Information Matrix to understand why reliance on regulations and regulatory enforcement didn’t prevent the last crisis and won’t prevent another crisis.
We will conclude by looking at what investors can do not only to prevent another crisis from occurring, but more importantly to protect themselves from being taken advantage of by Wall Street.
Richard Field is the Director of the Institute for Financial Transparency, an organization focused on bringing valuation transparency to all the opaque corners of the financial system and the sponsor of the Transparency Label InitiativeTM.
Since the mid-90s, he has been a leader in defining and implementing transparency in the structured finance industry.
Mr. Field designed, developed and patented a low cost information system to handle all of the complexity involved in making each structured finance security transparent. His solution uses a data warehouse to provide all market participants with easily accessible, standardized collateral level data on an observable event basis over the life of each deal.
In April 2008, Mr. Field wrote a Learning Curve column for Total Securitization that described the gold standard for transparency for structured finance securities. Subsequently, he consulted with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners on their July 2012 white paper on financing home ownership. In both of these widely read publications, he discussed the need for both timely disclosure of the underlying collateral performance information and the use of a data warehouse to capture, standardize and disseminate this data.
Apparently, while his call for timely disclosure was ignored, his call for the use of a data warehouse was heard. In Europe, the European Central Bank championed the creation of the EU Data Warehouse to provide transparency into structured finance securities. In the U.S., Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are in the process of building this data warehouse for residential mortgage-backed securities. It is called the Common Securitization Solutions LLC. About these two data warehouses, Mr. Field remarked, as the beaver said to the rabbit looking down on the Hoover Dam, “I didn’t build it all by myself, but it is based on an idea of mine.”
Earlier in his career, he worked as an Assistant Vice President for First Bank System and as a Research Assistant at the Federal Reserve Board. Mr. Field has an MBA from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University and a B.A. in Economics and Political Science from Yale University.
Also, Mr. Field is the author of ‘Transparency Games: How Bankers Rig the World of Finance’; and a member of the Transparency Task Force’s International Best Practice Team.
Our next two speakers – Stephen Davis and Jon Lukomnik are two of the three authors of What They Do With Your Money: How the Financial System Fails Us and How to Fix It.
They will be presenting jointly:
Stephen Davis, Associate Director and Senior Fellow, Programs on Corporate Governance and Institutional Investors, Harvard Law School
“Voting records, ‘nutrition statements’ and alignment of interests”
This session will consider 3 key questions that can open the door to greater governance and drive better outcomes:
– What has been the transformative effect on mutual fund voting of the US NPX rule, which made voting records public?
– What can be done to provide savers with the financial equivalent of a nutrition statement?
– Why is it neccessary to further align investment agents with grassroots investors through real-time disclosure of voting and engagement?
Stephen Davis, Ph.D. is associate director of the Harvard Law School Programs on Corporate Governance and Institutional Investors, and a senior fellow at the Program on Corporate Governance. He has also been a nonresident senior fellow in governance at the Brookings Institution.
From 2007-2012 he was executive director of the Yale School of Management’s Millstein Center for Corporate Governance and Performance and Lecturer on the SOM faculty. Davis served on the US SEC’s Investor Advisory Committee. He is a trustee of ShareAction and was for nine years chair and a board member of Hermes EOS, the shareowner engagement arm of Hermes Pensions Management.
Davis was also co-director of the Brookings’ World Forum on Governance. Winner of the 2011 ICGN Award for Excellence in Corporate Governance, Davis is co-author of What They Do With Your Money: How the Financial System Fails Us and How to Fix It (Yale University Press, 2016) and The New Capitalists: How Citizen Investors are Reshaping the Corporate Agenda (Harvard Business School Press, 2006).
His Shareholder Rights Abroad: A Handbook for the Global Investor (1989) was the first study comparing corporate governance practices in top markets. Davis is a co-founder of the International Corporate Governance Network and co-author of the UN Principles for Responsible Investment. Davis earned his doctorate at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, and completed undergraduate studies at Tufts and the London School of Economics.
Stephen is also a member of the Transparency Task Force’s International Best Practice Team.
Jon Lukomnik, Executive Director, Investor Responsibility Research Institute
“Transparency Is Not Enough: Why We Need To Focus on Comprehension and Purpose”
This talk draws on decades of personal experience to show that transparency, even total transparency, can obfuscate, rather than enlighten.
As a result, we’ll understand how to combine the disinfectant properties of sunshine with stronger medicine to result in not just transparency, but also comprehension and purpose.
Forbes calls Jon Lukomnik one of the pioneers of modern corporate governance. Jon serves as executive director of the IRRC Institute, whose research has been widely praised for objectively examining fundamental corporate governance and capital market issues. He is also the managing partner of Sinclair Capital LLC, a strategic consultancy to asset owners and asset managers. He co-founded the International Corporate Governance Network (ICGN) and GovernanceMetrics International (now part of MSCI), and served as interim chair of the Council of Institutional Investors’ executive committee.
Jon served as investment advisor for New York City’s pension funds in the 1990s and has invested or overseen more than $100 billion in institutional assets during his career. He has been a director for various public companies, private companies, not-for-profit corporations and litigation trusts. He has consulted to major institutional investors with aggregate assets of more than half a trillion dollars including the New York State Common Retirement Fund, Maryland State Retirement and Pension System, Nikko Asset Management, International Finance Corporation, Legg Mason, and Savings Bank Life Insurance USA.
Jon currently serves as a trustee for the Van Eck mutual fund complex in the United States and related investment trusts in Ireland, as a member of the Standing Advisory Committee for the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, and on Deloitte’s Audit Quality Advisory Committee. He was a member of the official creditors committee which rehabilitated WorldCom following its fraud and bankruptcy.
Jon is also a member of the Transparency Task Force’s International Best Practice Team.
The Transparency Task Force awards a Transparency Trophy to individuals who are helping to ‘lead the way’ towards a more transparent financial services sector. They and their organisations are key to demonstrating exemplary behaviour to the rest of the market.
The Transparency Trophy is star-shaped; in keeping with the theme of navigating the industry towards a more transparent state.
– February 2016: Tomas Wijffels, Pensioen Federatie
– April 2016: Rachel Haworth, ShareAction
– June 2016: Jackie Beard, Morningstar
– September 2016: Gina & Alan Miller, the True & Fair Campaign
– October 2016: Robin Powell, Evidence-Based Investor
– November 2016: Daniel Godfrey, The People’s Trust
– December 2016: Ralph Frank, Cardano
– February 2017: Con Keating, Brighton Rock Group
– May 2017: David Pitt-Watson, London Business School
– July 2017: Mike Barrett, The Lang Cat
– September 2017: Steve Conley, Values-Based Adviser
Who’ll be winning the Transparency Trophy?
12:10 Lunch and networking
Knut A. Rostad, Co-Founder and President, Institute for the Fiduciary Standard
(Title of talk and synopsis to be added soon).
Knut A. Rostad is the co-founder and president of the Institute for the Fiduciary Standard, a nonprofit formed in 2011 to advance the fiduciary standard. Previously Rostad served as the regulatory and compliance officer at Rembert Pendleton Jackson, an investment adviser in Falls Church, Virginia.
Institute research, education and advocacy programs advance fiduciary duties in advisor – client relationships of trust. The Institute spear-headed the John C. Bogle Legacy Forum; established “Fiduciary September”, the Frankel Fiduciary Prize and Campaign for Investors and the Best Practices Affirmation Program. See www.thefiduciaryinstitute.org
Rostad has authored numerous articles, papers and comment letters to the SEC and DOL and been cited in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg and Reuters.
Rostad edited The Man in the Arena: Vanguard Founder John C. Bogle and His Lifelong Battle to Serve Investors First, by Wiley, about which the CFA commented: “This compilation of John C. Bogle’s essays on indexing, fiduciary responsibility, and corporate governance, together with transcripts of talks and discussions, is a fitting tribute to the founder of the Vanguard Group, who has consistently advocated putting clients’ interests first and has tirelessly imparted the message that investors would be far wealthier if they invested in low-cost index funds….The world would be a better place if more of our business and political leaders emulated John Bogle’s values, ethics, and integrity.”
Rostad earned a BA in Political Science at the University of Vermont and an MBA from the Norwegian School of Management.
Andrew D. Esctruth, Associate Director for External Relations, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College
“Falling Short: The Coming Retirement Crisis and How to Prevent It”
Today’s workers face a brewing retirement income crisis. Economic and demographic changes have transformed the retirement landscape, systematically shifting risk and responsibility away from government and employers to individuals. As a result, about half of working-age households are “at risk” of being unable to maintain their pre-retirement standard of living in retirement.
Fortunately, we have the tools to fix the problem by building on the existing retirement system. The specific solutions are to work longer, save more, and make more effective use of assets such as home equity.
The sooner we act, the easier it will be to shore up the nation’s retirement security; and the quicker the financial system is seen to be transparent and trustworthy, the greater the chance that the retirement income crisis can be avoided.
Andrew Eschtruth is associate director for external relations at the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. He directs the Center’s communication activities, including publications, press relations, and social media. Mr. Eschtruth also manages relationships with the government, foundation, and corporate communities, and speaks to a variety of audiences on retirement-related topics.
He is the co-author (with Charles D. Ellis and Alicia H. Munnell) of Falling Short: The Coming Retirement Crisis and What to Do About It (Oxford University Press, 2014).
Before joining the Center in 1999, Mr. Eschtruth was a senior research analyst with the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) specializing in Social Security, federal fiscal policy, and the economic implications of an aging population. While at the GAO, Mr. Eschtruth served on a special assignment as an aide to the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. Mr. Eschtruth earned his B.A. from the University of Michigan and an M.A. in public policy from Duke University.
Dr. Kara Tan Bhala,
President and Founder, Seven Pillars Institute for Global Finance and Ethics
“Ethics and Transparency”
How ethics is situated in finance theory and changing the approach to ethics in finance. What is the ethical grounding of transparency? The moral principles that underlie transparency help guide and support our transparency choices within the spectrum of issues.
Dr. Kara Tan Bhala is the President and founder of Seven Pillars Institute for Global Finance and Ethics, the world’s only independent think tank for research, education, and promotion of financial ethics. She is also a Visiting Research Fellow at Queen Mary University of London and an Advisor for IntegTree Compliance Consulting.
Dr. Tan Bhala has over twenty-three years of experience in global finance, much of which was gained through working on Wall Street. She has worked on almost all sides of finance and has been a sell-side equity analyst, a sell-side sales person, a buy side equity analyst and a senior portfolio manager. Dr. Tan Bhala was Managing Director and Senior Portfolio Manager of the Merrill Lynch Dragon Fund and Emerging Tigers Fund responsible for roughly US$2 billion in assets. Prior to running the Dragon Fund, Dr. Tan Bhala was a portfolio manager with Fiduciary Trust International.
Following her adventures in finance, Dr. Tan Bhala was invited to lecture at the University of Kansas School of Business where she taught financial ethics. She moved on from her work in the academy to found Seven Pillars Institute. She is the lead author of International Investment Management: Theory, Ethics and Practice (Routledge, 2016) and a contributor of a chapter, “The Decline and Rise of Financial Ethics” to The Business of Ethics (Asian Institute of Finance, 2016). Dr. Tan Bhala has five degrees across three disciplines: a Bachelors (City University of London) and Masters (Oxford University) in Business, a Masters in Liberal Studies (New York University), and a Masters and PhD in Philosophy (University of Kansas).
She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (US) and the Royal Society of Asian Affairs (UK). Dr. Tan Bhala has lived and worked in London, Oxford, Singapore, Hong Kong, New York, and Washington, D.C. and currently resides in Kansas City, Missouri.
Dr. Tan Bhala is also a member of three Transparency Task Force Teams – Market Integrity, International Best Practice and PISCES.
Founder, The Kinder Institute of Life Planning
“How to Create a Golden Civilization for a Thousand Generations”
Transparency is essential but where does it take us, where are we going? Are markets efficient when the focus is on numbers and money, or when they focus on freedom? Is fiduciary about the client, or about their money? Kinder will talk about the mindfulness based global financial advice movement known as Life Planning, how it delivers to clients freedom and entrepreneurial endeavor, and how it is hampered by financial services’ lack of transparency.
He will introduce new economic concepts and close with the question: Is it possible to establish a sustainable institutional mindset that models integrity and delivers freedom where Integrity blossoms into Authenticity?
George Kinder is a Harvard educated economist, philosopher, financial planner, Buddhist teacher, and the founder of the Kinder Institute of Life Planning, a network of over three thousand financial advisers on six continents trained to inspire consumers to recognize and achieve their lives of greatest meaning.
The recipient of many financial industry awards including the first ever Heart of Financial Planning Distinguished Service Award from the 29,000 member Financial Planning Association, he was recently named the first of the fifteen most transformational financial advisers whose vision most changed the financial planning industry.
George’s expertise has been widely featured in the press across six continents including The New York Times, Forbes Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times, Time Magazine, Fortune, NPR, and many others.
15:10 Refreshments and networking
The GREAT BIG open debate!
This is perhaps the most important part of the whole event!
It’s where all attendees plus our panellists will have ample opportunity to reflect on the issues covered and to discuss and debate the key questions.
Ultimately, we shall seek to build consensus on the best way to galvanise support for the idea that much greater transparency in financial services is needed as much in the USA as it is in the UK; and how to go about driving progress in a constructive, collegiate, collaborative and civilised way.
Here are your panellists:
– Nils Jonson, Consultant, Broadridge Financial Solutions
– Matthew Murray, Board Member, CFBE
– Robert Powell, Editor, Retirement Weekly
– Helene Spoto, Operations Manager, Sentry Financial Planning.com
17:00 End to the ‘formal’ proceedings, followed by…
Immediately after the Symposium delegates can enjoy further networking at a nearby bar (Society on High) which is conveniently located in the same building as Mercer’s offices; and Mercer have very kindly agreed to take care of the cost of drinks.
Post-event networking is actually more important than it might seem. Having run 12 successful Transparency Symposia so far we know that there is nothing better for the creation of lasting connections and the formulation of compelling campaign ideas than relaxed, sociable discussion after a full-on conference.
That is exactly how our International Best Practice Team was conceived, immediately after the TTF’s very first Transparency Symposium, held on 7th October 2015 – a very fruitful conversation was held with Tomas Wijffels, Policy Adviser at the Dutch Association of Pension Funds who was a key speaker that day. Tomas had been speaking about the way that transparency on costs and charges in pension scheme had been mandated for in the Dutch system. The conversation in a bar afterwards set off a chain of events that has resulted in a unique network of over 70 thought leaders right around the world and Transparency Symposia now taking place internationally. This Boston event would not have happened had it not been for the conversation in a bar.
Who knows what your post-event networking and conversations might lead to!
There’s a great deal of information on this web page but for reasons that will become very clear, very quickly we’d like you to have the ‘full picture’ about this meeting – it isn’t an ordinary event.
Our belief is that the financial services industry needs to be trusted to truly flourish but the harsh reality is that it isn’t trusted as much as we’d all like it to be.
Distrust costs the industry a fortune in lost revenues but even more importantly it costs society the greater financial wellbeing that could have otherwise been achieved, had the sector looked after its reputation properly and remained trustworthy.
There are many reasons for the trust deficit in financial services:
Part of the problem is that over the years our sector has suffered extensive reputational damage caused by the actions of a few, such as:
- The crooks and rogue individuals preying on the unwary through asymmetries of information
- The weak and misguided leaders of organisations that have allowed malpractice to become the ‘accepted norm’ in their firms
- Architects of entire sectors that have systematically put profit margins before principles
- Marketing professionals that developed communication strategies that fail to properly disclose risks and costs
- Product designers that have forgotten to keep product design as straightforward as possible
- Incentive programme professionals that have created reward frameworks that drive profitable revenue growth in the short term, regardless of the consequences later on…
That’s all bad news. It’s bad news for:
- The increasingly sceptical, wary and disengaged members of the public who aren’t investing as much as they should for their financial security in old age
- The entire financial services industry, which is fast-becoming burdened with ever-increasing regulation in a seemingly futile attempt to make it behave properly – for example in the UK we have over 3,000 pages of pensions regulations – perhaps you can relate to that in the US?
- The vast, vast majority of ethically-minded individuals and progressively-led organisations who are being ‘tarred with the same brush’ as the unscrupulous, despite the fact that they haven’t done anything wrong – perhaps you can relate to that too?
In light of all this we have a message that we want to ‘put out there’ and our message is simple.
Our message is that enough is enough – things need to change, for everybody’s sake.
This meeting will help to create a global community that believes the financial services industry is profoundly important to the wellbeing of the world economy and society as a whole and that when it wants to it can behave in a very noble and generous way.
The people getting involved with our fast-growing international network are motivated to work together, collaboratively, to help improve the reputation of the financial services sector and the billions of people it serves.
It’s a community that thinks ‘Sunlight is the Best Disinfectant’ and wants to harness the transformational power of transparency to help fix what’s wrong.
We want to improve things for all right-minded market participants including financial planners, investment consultants, fiduciaries, asset managers, pension planners, bankers, brokers, custodians and so on; in fact, anybody that truly deserves to call themselves a ‘financial services professional’ should want to put their weight behind this initiative.
If that includes you please do read on, because anybody that is ‘on the right side of the line’ should want to be involved with what we’re doing for one very good and very simple reason – the more transparency in financial services the more it will be trusted, it’s as simple and straightforward as that.
There is no way that trust can be engendered without transparency.
Let’s not under-estimate the potential for like-minded people to drive transformational change so please do whatever you must to get to this event – just rearrange your schedule if you have to, because your input and response to what we’re going to be covering might make the difference that makes all the difference.
Both in the UK and the USA we are fortunate enough to live in a democracy so don’t under-estimate your own ability to help drive positive change; and perhaps even your own duty to help drive positive change; if you can – and you can – we all can.
Please don’t stand by, stand up – one way or another, don’t miss this event, or at the very least make sure your organisation is represented at it.
Please read on for further information and details about the speakers, how to book, where it is and so on.
What sort of topics will be covered?
Our speakers will be covering a wide range of thought-provoking topics such as:
– The Trust Deficit and why it must be treated as a top priority
– Transparency as a powerful driver for transformational change
– The part that opacity played in the Global Financial Crisis
– The commercial value of values
– Transparency defined
– A critique of the Corporate Governance paradigm
– Fundamental issues with the world’s capital markets
– The significance of the Information Matrix
– What haven’t the Regulators done that they could?
– The need for a cultural transfusion in Financial Services
– Why transparency?…and why now?
– Why regulation alone cannot be the answer
– The damage caused by asymmetries of information
– Why transparency, in and of itself, is a condition necessary, but not sufficient.
– Who/what is preventing the pursuit of best interest outcomes?
– The latest developments on the Fiduciary Rule
– Financial freedom through transparency and authenticity
– Why ‘cultural transfusion’ is needed, starting at the top
– Why ‘parading the problem’ works
– The correlation between transparency, truthfulness and trustworthiness
– The enormous challenge ahead for retirement planning in the USA ; and what steps could be taken to alleviate it.
– Why the world needs a Global Transparency Index and what’s being done to create one
Who should attend?
This event will appeal to a broad range of people including:
– Asset Managers
– Investment Consultants
– Retail and Institutional Investors
– Industry Observers, Commentators, the Media in general
– Academics and Researchers
– Financial Planners
– Campaign and Civil Society Groups
– Politicians and their research colleagues
– Fiduciaries, Trustees, Fiduciary Managers
– Members of the Department of Labor
– Bankers and representatives of Banking organisations
– Risk Management Professionals
– Compliance Professionals
– Legal Professionals
– Pension Professionals
– Enlightened and progressive market participants
– Actuaries; and many more….
Further information about the TTF
You can click on the button below to read about the 150+ Transparency Task Force Ambassadors. The list includes world class academics and highly respected thought leaders from right around the world.
Transparency Task Force Advisory Board
You can click on the button below to read about the Transparency Task Force Advisory Board, which is Chaired by the former Chair of the Financial Conduct Authority’s Financial Services Consumer Panel.
If you want to read testimonials…
If you haven’t been to one of our events before you can use the link below to read some testimonials: