Transparency Symposium

Many thanks to Aon for hosting this very important thought leadership event:

"Time for Transparency"

This special thought leadership event is an important step in creating a global community of ethically-minded individuals, renowned thought leaders and professionally-led organisations who believe that 'Sunlight is the Best Disinfectant' and want to harness the transformational power of transparency to help fix financial services. 

About the Transparency Task Force

The Transparency Task Force is the collaborative, campaigning community, dedicated to driving up the levels of transparency in financial services, right around the world.

Members of the Transparency Task Force believe that higher levels of transparency are a pre-requisite for fairer, safer, more stable and more efficient markets being able to deliver better value for money and better outcomes to consumers. 

 

Furthermore, because of the correlation between transparency, truthfulness and trustworthiness, we expect our work will help to repair the self-inflicted reputational damage the Financial Services sector has been suffering for decades. 

'Sunlight is the Best Disinfectant'

The beautifully simple phrase 'Sunlight is the best disinfectant' sums up what the Transparency Task Force is all about. We believe that financial services market behaviour is improved when it is visible; and conversely, that behaviour that is allowed to happen ‘in the shadows’ is often at the expense of the consumer.

 

This is because, rather notoriously, the Financial Services sector has been pre-disposed to opportunistic obfuscation and opacity; it has profited from things being kept hidden from the consumer; sometimes deliberately, sometimes not - things like the true costs of investing, the true performance of products and the true risks that consumers sometimes face. 

 

Our view is that opacity leads to asymmetries of information and that's a major concern because it prevents the consumer being able to make well-informed decisions, which in turn stops the market working competitively whilst denying the consumer the chance to achieve the best possible outcome for him/herself. 

Our Strategy for Driving Change

 

The Transparency Task Force seeks to operate in a collaborative, collegiate and consensus-building way; focusing on solutions not blame. We seek to effect the change that the financial services sector needs and the consumer deserves.

 

Our strategy for driving change is to bring together two types of people:

 

#1, Those with a sense of ‘passion & purpose’ about what needs to be done – such as the thought-leader speakers at this event and the ethically-minded financial services professionals, enlightened market participants, pro-consumer campaigners and leading academics who are involved in our community; and...

 

#2, Those with the ‘power & position’ to make change happen – such as the regulators, politicians, financial services leaders, trade bodies and professional associations. 

 

The Transparency Task Force is an informal but increasingly influential forum - our strategy for driving change seems to be working very well in the UK and we are looking to become a positive influence internationally because 'opportunistic opacity and obfuscation' in financial services is a global problem.  

When and where is the Symposium?

 

From 9:00AM to 5:00PM on Thursday 23rd November,

at the beautiful Mauritshuis, Plein 29, 2511 CS The Hague:

How to secure your place

 

You can read on to learn more about the event's content and our truly first class line-up of speakers, but if you have already decided that you want to attend use 'CLICK AND REGISTER' below to secure your place.

 

If you have any difficulties making your booking please contact me through andy.agathangelou@transparencytaskforce.org

 

Please note: Whilst the Transparency Task Force is desperate to raise funds, if the Standard Ticket price of 200 Euros is genuinely beyond your budget you can pay as little as you need to, down to just 1 Euro 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.

 

You can pay through PayPal, credit card or invoice.

What sort of topics will be covered?

 

Our speakers will be covering a wide range of thought-provoking hot 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 history of cost transparency in the Netherlands and its impact around the world

 

 - The vital role that the media can play in advancing the pro-transparency agenda for the benefit of all

 

 - Why the world needs a Global Transparency Index and what's being done to create one

 

 - The part that Opacity played in the Global Financial Crisis

 

 - The Commercial Value of Values

 

 - Transparency defined

 

 - The Correlation between Transparency, Truthfulness and Trustworthiness

 

 - Fundamental issues with the World's Capital Markets

 

 - What haven't the Regulators done that they could?

 

 - The need for a Cultural Transfusion in Financial Services

 

 - Why Transparency?...and Why Now?

 

 - The damage caused by Asymmetries of Information

 

 - Why Transparency alone can never be enough

 

 - Who/what is preventing the pursuit of Best Interest outcomes?

 

 - The enormous global challenge ahead for retirement planning; and what steps could be taken to alleviate it.

Who are your speakers?

Paul Resnik,

Director, Global Markets,

FinaMetrica & PlanPlus. 

 

 

"Transparency, Consistency and Informed Consent:

the Holy Trinity of Trust"

 

 

 

There's nothing new under the sun. There're no revolutionary approaches to winning and holding trust. You say how it meets clients needs, how you are going to do it, you say what it costs, you warn what can go wrong and you hold yourself accountable. 

 

Funny isn't it? So few financial services businesses do this of their own accord. They have to be battered into submission by regulation. Who could believe that the US Fiduciary rule could take more than one thousand pages to detail. So after the failures of open market, caveat emptor exploitative capitalism followed by the patronising micro management from over zealous regulation we return to the pinnacle of human engagement - informed consent.

 

So tell the truth. Don't use weasel words. Keep telling it in ways that prospects and customers can understand. And make them buy in. Don't allow value destroying trick products such as target date funds to take away human engagement. After all it's their money. It's their life. Investors need to own their financial plan. To be trusted all you have to do is behave in a trustworthy manner. Consistently.

 

Paul has been active in the financial services industry since 1970. He has worked in all parts of the supply chain, and founded conference, recruitment, consulting, financial planning, platform, risk profiling, life insurance & asset management businesses. 

 

Paul has been an industry consultant providing product and distribution advice to all of Australia’s major banks, life companies and most funds managers and financial planning group. He is a regular commentator on industry issues in both the media and on the conference stage around the world.

 

Over the last twenty years Paul has been focusing on the matching of products and services to investors needs. He co-founded FinaMetrica which scientifically assesses Investors' risk tolerances and matches it to multi asset portfolios. Data shows that risk tolerance is a personality trait established by early adulthood. It tends not to change materially by dint of age, education, market conditions, and only sometimes by changes in personal financial circumstances.

 

In August 2017 FinaMetrica of Australia merged with multi-jurisdictional financial & investment planning software house PlanPlus of Canada, jointly servicing over 12,000 planners in 20 countries, in seven languages. He is Director of Global Markets for FinaMetrica & PlanPlus. 

Eric Veldpaus,

Founder and Managing Director of the Institutional Benchmarking Institute (IBI); Strategy Director,

Novarca Group.

 

"Transparency and the Media"

 

 

 

 

As a result of a review performed by the Dutch Authority for Financial Markets in 2011, it appeared that Pension Funds were not disclosing all their costs. Costs do have a significant influence on retirement outcomes and costs between similar sized funds varied widely. Boards of trustees are responsible for the costs and therefore should receive all relevant information and be able to act upon the information.

 

As a reaction to the 2011 review the Federation of the Dutch Pension Funds (an umbrella organization) published three booklets describing how to calculate costs and recommended which key figures to disclose. 

 

Part one (published November 2011) contains recommendations on administrative costs and describes the pension administration costs and the asset management costs.

 

Part two (published in March 2012) describes in detail the cost drivers and cost categories of costs of asset managers. In 2013 a third version was published with several updates.

 

The Federation decided to include transaction costs.  By publishing the two booklets, the Federation avoided formal legislation. In fact, the Dutch Central Bank adopted the cost definitions as described by the Federation. 

 

Due to possible discounts of future pensions within the Dutch (best practice ?) system, incidents in asset management, the reputation of Dutch Pension funds was lacking. Since April 2012 a lot of knowledge sessions have been given to Board Members of Pension Funds, consultancy firms but also the Dutch press in order to avoid wrong articles and messages to the Dutch public.

 

It is very difficult to compare costs between Pension Funds because of differences in asset allocation and implementation style. Cost of asset management is complex and should be disclosed in the right context.

 

What are the challenges in disclosing the costs ? Supervisors such as the Dutch Central Bank, auditors, Dutch Federation of Asset Managers all agreed upon the content of the booklets. The Dutch Central Bank used the content as a guidance for their reporting framework for pension funds and it is still the basis for cost transparency.

 

Eric Veldpaus (1963) has been at the epicentre of cost transparency throughout his career. Before his current position at IBI he was strategist at APG where his focus was on all aspects of cost and cost transparency including relations with auditors and the Dutch Central Bank. Prior to APG, he held senior positions at ABP, Robeco and PWC. Eric is author of several prominent publications on cost transparency, including the ‘Recommendations on Administrative Costs’ (Aanbevelingen uitvoeringskosten)’ published by the Federation of the Dutch Pension Funds; he is also a lecturer at Nyenrode Business University in the Netherlands. At APG he was member of the Global Advisory Committee of CEM.

 

In 2013 he founded the independent Institutional Benchmarking Institute together with partners Nyenrode and Novarca to further his ambitions in the field of cost reporting.

 

Eric holds a CA degree.

 

Further information about Eric, his work and organisations can be found through these links: (http://www.institutionalbenchmarking.org/?lang=en) Novarca (https://www.novarca.com/).

Frits Meerdink,

Manager, Fund Management,

PGGM Investments

 

Title of talk to be added soon.

 

Synopsis to be added soon. 

 

Frits Meerdink started his career at EY as an auditor in the fields of Asset Management, Insurance and Pensions.  In 2009 he joined the PGGM Accounting, Reporting and Control department and served both as manager Accounting and as manager Control. In these roles he held responsibility for external reporting and regulatory reporting for Pension Fund clients and PGGM Investment Funds.

 

He has contributed in setting up industry wide standards on cost reporting for Dutch Pension Funds. Currently he is manager in the Product & Fund Management  department, with a focus on pricing of Asset Management products and supporting the Investment Management Board on PGGM Investment Funds matters. 

Tomas Wijffels,

Senior Policy Advisor,

Pensioen Federatie.

 

Title of talk and synopsis to be added soon.

 

Tomas Wijffels MSc. (1971) has worked as policy advisor for seven years at the Federation of the Dutch Pension funds. Main topics of interest are the recommendations on administrative costs and the current discussion about the future of second pillar pensions in the Netherlands. 

 

Tomas is board member of the Dutch pension tracking service, www.mijnpensioenoverzicht. This tracking service for 1st and 2nd pillar pensions is built and maintained by a foundation of which all Dutch pension funds and insurance companies contribute to.

 

Before working for the Federation,  Tomas was board member of the company pension fund of TNO, the Dutch Institute for Applied Sciences, where he worked as a consultant in the field of cultural heritage.

Colin Melvin,

Founder and Managing Partner,

Arkadiko Partners

 

Title of talk and synopsis to be added soon.

 

Colin is a thought leader and agent for positive change, who has been at the forefront of global developments in corporate leadership, stewardship and sustainability and responsible asset management for over 20 years.

 

He has international experience from the investor and corporate perspectives in developing and challenging strategy, promoting effective risk management and corporate governance and creating well-aligned incentives. He has a strong network of contacts at the most senior levels within the world's largest investment institutions and listed companies. He is an expert in building trust and adding value to boards in industries with stakeholder challenges having worked with many companies to improve their relationships and performance. He has a strong ability to steer complex and sensitive situations to positive action.

 

He is Founder and Managing Partner of Arkadiko Partners. He is also Chair of Future-Fit Foundation, a member of the Corporate Advisory Group of The Future of the Corporation, the Advisory Board of Tobacco Free Portfolios and the Advisory Board of InfluenceMap. He is also a Fellow of the Institute of Directors and the Royal Society of Arts and a Business Mentor at the Prince’s Trust.

 

Until November 2016 Colin was Global Head of Stewardship at Hermes Investment Management and between 2004 and January 2016 Chief Executive of Hermes EOS, the world’s largest stewardship service, which he founded. He was formerly Head of Responsible Investment at Baillie Gifford, a Board Member and Chair of the Principles for Responsible Investment and a Member of the 30% Club Investor Group. Between 2008 and 2013 he was a non-executive director and Chair of the Remuneration Committee at Aedas, an architectural firm.

 

Colin qualified as a fund manager in 1996 and is and member of the CFA Institute. He holds an MA from Aberdeen University and an MPhil from Cambridge University, both in History, and Diplomas in Investment Analysis from Stirling University and Company Directorship from the Institute of Directors.

 

Speaker to be announced

 

 

 

A senior representative from the UK's Financial Conduct Authority will be presenting an update on their Asset Management Market Study.

 

Details to follow.

Other top speakers being added 

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 be a driver for transformational change.

 

 

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 'opacity is a festering sore on the face of financial services' and 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 Stewardship & Decision-Making 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 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 11 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

Who should attend?

 

This event will appeal to a very broad range of people including:

 

 - Economists

 - 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

 - NGOs

 - Politicians and their research colleagues

 - Policymakers

 - 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....

How to secure your place

 

Please use 'CLICK AND REGISTER' below to secure your place. If you have any difficulties making your booking contact us through andy.agathangelou@transparencytaskforce.org

 

Remember - pay 200 Euros if you can afford to, less if you can't, it's entirely up to you what you pay; you're very welcome to attend regardless of what you pay subject to a minimum of just 1 Euro. 

 

You can pay through PayPal, credit card or invoice. 

 

Thank you!

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