Many thanks to

for hosting:

 "The woes of Woodford - who needs to learn what?"

 - plus -  

"Costs and charges; are we there yet?"

When and where is the symposium?


Thursday 14th November:


We start with registration and lunch at 12:00; the meeting proper starts at 13:00 and we wrap up at 17:00*.




24A St John St, Clerkenwell  
London EC1M 4AY


*The session itself will end at 17:00 but Lansons have very kindly agreed to provide drinks afterwards, for those that want to stay on for relaxed discussion and networking.

If you already know you want to attend


Click on the button below to secure your place and note that there are 2 ticket options: Standard and Discounted. The notes you get to will explain the options. For queries:


Thank you!

"What can you expect at the symposium?


The overall purpose of this particular symposium is to shine a bright light onto the important topic of costs/charges, in keeping with TTF’s mission to help fix what’s wrong in financial services, so consumers get a better deal; and trust and confidence can be restored


You can expect to be amongst progressively minded and collaboratively minded people who are keen to explore how financial services should be reformed. 


We’ll be covering two topics:


“The Woes of Woodford” - who needs to learn what?”


The harsh reality is that the Woodford saga is the latest of a very, very long list of issues that have caused significant reputational damage for the financial services sector. 


We’ll be seeking to understand issues such as: 


  • How could what happened have happened, despite decades of regulatory interventions designed to protect consumers from harm? 
  • Was it avoidable or inevitable?
  • What were the root causes of the problem?
  • Did Woodford stay within his fund’s remit, or not?
  • What part did Hargreaves Lansdown play?
  • What does the case tell us about the lack of client-centricity?
  • What damage has been done to the brand of active management in general?
  • Can we initiate some kind of “reputational reboot” for the sector?
  • Could it; or something like it happen again?
  • Is there scope for litigation to seek redress for those that have lost out?
  • Who needs to learn what? - who'll do the teaching?


“Costs & charges – are we there yet?”


It is widely accepted that costs and charges in pensions and investments have a significant impact on net returns, particularly for long-term investors such as pension savers. Understanding total cost is vitally important in being able to seek and obtain value for money so it is not surprising that there has been extensive regulatory intervention into this space and that the bright light of scrutiny has also been shone onto the subject by many academics, though-leaders and campaign groups, right round the world. 


To say “there is a lot going on” in relation to costs and charges wouldn’t be an exaggeration; and the picture is getting increasingly complex.


We have therefore organised this special symposium to help bring all the strands together - to enable delegates, speakers, panellists and the press to get a fresh and comprehensive overview of where we have got to in the journey towards true costs transparency and what needs to happen next. 


On the basis that “progress begins with realism” we will be facilitating the kind of candid yet constructive discussion that is needed to help move matters forward - we are expecting this to be a particularly lively symposium because we will be creating a forum for people to “say it as they see it” and there is no doubt that many people are disappointed with the sector’s slow progress towards transparency. 


If the topic of investment costs/charges is of interest to you then this is a not-to-be-missed event - it will be a first-class opportunity to “say it as you see it” in response to questions such as:


  • Are asset managers finding ways to evade transparency under MIFID II and PRIIPs; if so, is that opportunistic opacity on their part; or a necessary, innocent and pragmatic response to the shortcomings of the regulations?


  • Are any organisations failing to comply with the rules that are already in place; if so, which ones?


  • Where has the Cost Transparency Initiative got to? – is it stuck in the long grass?


  • Has the DB transfer market got tied up in regulatory knots as far as costs disclosure is concerned?


  • Are retail investors getting the clear and intelligible information they need? If not, what (or perhaps even who?) is preventing that from happening?


  • What’s the likely Government response to the Work and Pensions Select Committee’s Report on Pension Costs and Transparency? – will they shift to a compulsory disclosure mindset?


  • What are the next regulatory interventions that can be expected in the costs/charges space from the Financial Conduct Authority, the Pensions Regulator, the Department for Work and Pensions and the Competition and Markets Authority?


  • Are the inherent cost advantages of passive beyond dispute? Does passive win the value-for-money debate hands-down? Is it game over for active management because of cost drag?


  • What are the Trade Bodies and Professional Associations doing to protect the interests of consumers in relation to costs/charges? – is there a tension between them doing that properly whilst also caring for the commercial interests of their members?


  • Is it safe to assume that the costs data disclosed is going to be accurate; or should there be independent data verification?


  • Are Closet Trackers a reality or just the manifestation of the over-active imagination of campaigners?


  • Is the Ad Valorem fee model becoming obsolete; and if so, what might replace it?


  • What scope is there for the new Simplified Statement to be the best way forward in helping pension scheme members get the cost information they want in a clear and consistent way? Can the progressive thinking behind it be applied to other areas of the value chain beyond occupational pensions? – asset management, for example?


  • Will we ever get to a “one single figure” to represent costs? - could we ever have "one single figure" to represent value for money?


  • What are the latest developments in terms of cost disclosure utilities for cost control and reporting?


  • How do all the “moving parts” set in motion by the various regulators connect; or don’t they? Is there a Master Plan being implemented by the regulators or is it all as disjointed as it sometimes seems?

Here's the programme, so far*



Registration, lunch and networking



Welcome to the symposium by

David Masters, Partner and Director, Lansons; Member of the Board of Advisors, QR&P Consulting; former Analyst at Standard & Poors, New York; former Analyst at Micropal


...and Andy Agathangelou, Founder, Transparency Task Force; Governor at the Pensions Policy Institute; Chair, The Interoperability Steering Group



Presentation by

Sunil Chadda, Project Director, Punter Southall; Advisory Board Member, Association of Professional Fund Investors; Ambassador of the Transparency Task Force; former Associate Principle, Costs & Charges, Grant Thornton LLP

...on "Costs & Charges - are we there yet?"



Presentation by

To be advised

...on "Costs & Charges - are we there yet?"



Power Panel on “Costs & Charges - are we there yet?” featuring:


Lesley Curwen, award-winning BBC Broadcaster; Financial Journalist


+ to be advised


+ to be advised


+ to be advised



Presentation of the Transparency Trophy; a special trophy is awarded to a champion of transparency and finance reform at each of our symposia around the world



Refreshments and further networking



Team photo, with the Transparency Trophy and its winner



Presentation by

David Masters, Partner and Director, Lansons; Member of the Board of Advisors, QR&P Consulting; former Analyst at Standard & Poors, New York; former Analyst at Micropal

...on "The Woes of Woodford - who needs to learn what?"



Power Panel on "The Woes of Woodford - who needs to learn what?" featuring:


Shane Norman, Principal, Business Development for Fund Managers; UK Representative, Fuchs Asset Management SA; Senior Advisor, MontLake Funds Ltd; former Head of Research, ML Capital Ltd



Mikkel Bates, Regulatory Manager, FE fundinfo; former Director, Belmont Marketing Services; former Member of the ExCo, Castle Trusts; former Head of Retail and Institutional Marketing, GLG Partners UK Ltd (formerly Societe Genarale Asset Management)



Adam Samuel, Financial Services Compliance Specialist; International Dispute Resolution Lawyer; Visiting Lecturer at the University of Westminster; former Deputy Chief Executive, Personal Investment Authority Ombudsman Bureau


+ to be advised




Key conclusions and close to the formal proceedings

Andy Agathangelou, Founder, Transparency Task Force; Governor at the Pensions Policy Institute; Chair, The Interoperability Steering Group



Drinks and further networking



Final close

*The programme will continuously evolve so is subject to change

Places are limited; to secure yours:


Click on the button below to secure your place and note that there are 3 ticket options: Standard, Discounted and Complimentary.


Here's an explanation of our very flexible pricing policy:


We are a not-for-profit and we desperately need funds to cover our costs and keep our many finance reform initiatives alive - we’re just about surviving.


Therefore, unless you genuinely cannot afford it, please select the Standard Ticket Option (£245).


However, if that is genuinely beyond your budget, select the Discounted Ticket Option and choose the amount you wish to pay; please be as generous as you can afford to be. 


Furthermore, if you genuinely need to apply for a Complimentary Ticket Option, please Email but note any complimentary places must be agreed in advance and are by arrangement only. 


If any of the above requires clarification, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. 


You can pay through PayPal, Credit Card or invoice. 


Thank you!

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. 

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:

To secure your place:


Click on the button below to secure your place and note that there are 2 ticket options: Standard and Discounted. The notes you get to will explain the options. For queries:


Thank you!

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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