Taskforce to rally for better financial regulation

Taskforce to rally for better financial regulation

The founder of the Transparency Taskforce has written a letter to Financial Conduct Authority boss Nikhil Rathi ahead of a "rally for better financial regulation" next week.

In the open letter sent today (May 18), founder and organiser of the rally, Andy Agathangelou, said it has been organised because the taskforce believes the financial sector is "profoundly important" to the wellbeing of society and economic and political stability.

It argued that the UK cannot have the financial sector it deserves if the regulatory framework that governs it is poor. 

“We believe that the Financial Conduct Authority could, and should, be doing a much better job, particularly in relation to providing an appropriate degree of consumer protection,” Agathangelou wrote.

“The main banner that we intend to use at the rally has these words: 'The rally for better financial regulation', because the Financial Conduct Authority is not fit for purpose, and needs to be reformed, or replaced.”

The rally, which is to be held on May 24, will begin at The Royal Courts of Justice and move on to HM Treasury and Downing Street, before ending at Parliament. 

In addition to the main banner, the taskforce plans to use 18 double-sided placards. 

Each of the 36 messages on the placards start with the words: “!WANTED! A Financial Conduct Authority”, followed by messages such as “that doesn't risk another financial crisis through deregulation, as part of the 'competitiveness agenda'” and “that uses the Senior Management Certification Regime to penalise those that cause harm; and thereby deters others”.

Other placards are to read: 

  • that doesn't have a cosy relationship with banks, UK Finance and the Treasury which results in inappropriate influence;
  • that doesn't put the City before citizens, which results in its failure to provide consumers with appropriate protection; 
  • that doesn't cheerlead for the companies it is supposed to regulate, as part of the "competitiveness agenda"'
  • that introduces a private right to action to help consumers get compensation if they are ripped off;
  • that consults on a duty of care, as per the wishes of Parliament in the Financial Services Act 2021;
  • that doesn't let down savers and investors, and leaves fraud victims high and dry; and
  • that doesn't use "we can't look at individual cases" as an excuse for inaction.

Agathangelou said the taskforce has used an “evidence-based approach” to determine what the statements and inferences should be in the wording of its banner and placards. 

“It is my firm belief that whilst the statements and inferences in the banner and placards are necessarily blunt and hard-hitting, they also accurately reflect the inevitable conclusions that any independent, objectively-minded and evidence-based person would come to, if he or she were to properly study the evidence that is available, which even includes testimony from existing and former Financial Conduct Authority staff,” he wrote. 

“However, if you were to provide conclusive evidence that any of our campaign messages are wrong, I will make any necessary adjustments and issue a corresponding public statement and apology.”

He explained that the general staff at the FCA are not to blame and claimed the regulator’s “wrong at the top”.

Given the letter is addressed to Rathi, he also said that for clarity, the taskforce believes that the problems identified existed prior to his joining. 

“As per the dialogue that we have had since your appointment, the Transparency Task Force sees itself as a critical friend to the Financial Conduct Authority and I do hope the rally for better financial regulation helps to articulate in no uncertain terms the scale of the remediation and transformation that we believe is necessary,” he concluded.