TTF calls for cross-party effort to 'clean up' UK financial services

The Transparency Task Force (TTF) has called for a cross-party effort to be made to “clean up” the UK’s financial services sector, highlighting evidence of current “malpractice, malfeasance, misconduct and mis-selling on a range of matters”.

In an open letter addressed to the Prime Minister, TTF founder, Andy Agathangelou, called on the government to publicly share thoughts on what must be done, pointing to a range evidence in relation to the issue, given by speakers at a recent TTF symposium.

He emphasised that these speakers had provided “detailed accounts of serious conduct and regulatory failure issues” within the financial services, with particular concerns raised in relation to the selling of Interest Rate Hedging Products to British businesses.

“I found what was explained to be shocking, especially as the claims made were backed up by clear, compelling and credible evidence,” he said. “It is clearly time for the UK’s financial services sector to be cleaned up."

Further evidence of regulatory issues was highlighted, including recent comments from MPs that the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is "not fit for purpose", reports of “system-wide” failure from peers of “all political persuasions”, and “even the FCA itself feeling the need to apologise for its own performance”.

Agathangelou also outlined a number of potential routes forward, noting that whilst some are calling for a “major debate” in Parliament to “get the truth out into the open”, others have suggested a "forensic, Australian-style" Royal Commission into financial services misconduct.

The letter stated: “Our financial sector has a problem; and given the importance of financial services to the UK post Brexit, that means our country has a problem too.

“We need a financial industry that we can believe in, Prime Minister, if it is going to flourish on the world stage post Brexit, as we all want it to.

“In financial services, reputational integrity and consumer confidence is everything, be that on an individual, corporate or national level; and for that reason, I respectfully ask you to intervene and help us get to the truth about what has been going so badly wrong in the UK’s Financial Services sector."

“Cleaning up our financial sector isn’t a party-political issue, just as it wasn’t to get rid of asbestos in our buildings, or lead in our petrol, or candy cigarettes in our sweet shops; and I can’t imagine the issues being properly dealt with unless there is solid cross-party support for change.”

Whilst the letter was addressed to the PM, it was also sent to the leaders of all political parties, as well as parliamentarians known for having a keen interest in protecting the public from harm, particularly in relation to pensions and investments.

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