Victims of pension and investment fraud took to the streets of London yesterday (May 24) to put pressure on the Financial Conduct Authority to improve its levels of consumer protection.
Organised by the Transparency Task Force, a group of about 40 people rallied from The Royal Courts of Justice to Westminster Abbey, chanting: “What do we want? An FCA that cares. When do we want it? Now.”
Attendees also included former employees of banks who claim to have been scapegoated, as well as Scottish National Party MPs Martyn Day and John McNally.
Day told FTAdviser he agreed the FCA was “not fit for purpose”, a slogan touted by the TTF-led group.
“It [the FCA] gives people a false sense of security", said Day. “[My constituents] have run into more issues with the regulator than they should have.”
Andy Agathangelou, founder of the TTF, led the rally. Ahead of yesterday, his team sent the FCA chief a letter outlining that the regulator “could, and should, be doing a much better job”, particularly in relation to a more “appropriate degree” of consumer protection.
Addressing the crowd yesterday, Agathangelou said: “We believe the Financial Conduct Authority has enormous scope for improvement. And I'm being very polite here. The FCA has been guilty of chronic and catastrophic regulator failure that has affected thousands of people that have lost life-changing amounts of money.
"I'm thinking in particular of the small businesses who were sold fraudulent, toxic interest rate hedging products. That is a fact…the British public are being let down.”
Addressing the FCA, Agathangelou said: “You are failing to provide an appropriate degree of consumer protection, even though that is one of the most important objectives of the regulatory framework.”
Individuals who attended the rally included an 81-year-old who had lost all her savings - £120,000 - to an investment scam, a former GP who claimed he was poorly compensated for missold swaps, and a pension scam victim who lost £250,000 alongside her partner and who is still waiting for a HMRC tax tribunal after 11 years.
"We want more regulation," one victim told FTAdviser. "When scams happen, not everyone is endorsed. Some victims always go uncompensated."
Financial adviser Steven Middleton also attended the rally. Speaking at the event, he highlighted one of the rally’s demands, an FCA which “isn't riddled with revolving door problems, whereby FCA staff leave and go to work for firms they were regulating”.
Middleton said: “We have to stop the revolving door between the FCA, the banks, and other governing bodies...We have to blow up that revolving door.”
The TTF sent a total of 36 demands enclosed in its letter to Rathi.
Former Lloyds Banking Group forex trader and self-named 'whistleblower', Paul Carlier, also spoke at the rally.