Get in touch if you have any questions

There is a very large and fast-growing mountain of evidence supporting our belief that there is something seriously wrong with the Financial Conduct Authority.

It is worth noting that when the Transparency Task Force started, way back in 2015, we were very much of the view that the Financial Conduct Authority was very much “part of the solution” and that it was a force for good.

However, as we got to know it better and better, and as we saw and listened to the evidence being given we slowly but surely came to the view that in fact the Financial Conduct Authority is “part of the problem.”

That’s why, when we ran our event on January 4th 2022 all about our Plans and Priorities for 2022 we made a very deliberate decision to focus our events on shining a big bright light on the shortcomings of the Financial Conduct Authority, knowing that if there is to be any chance of the UK public getting the financial sector they need and deserve there must first be a regulatory framework that is fit for purpose.

It’s probably fair to say that the Transparency Task Force has seen more damning evidence about the Financial Conduct Authority than any other organisation. 

How we see the Regulatory Failure landscape

The Financial Conduct Authority and its issues

The mission of the Transparency Task Force as a Certified Social Enterprise is

“To promote ongoing reform of the financial services sector, so that it serves society better

We are all about improving conduct in the financial sector. We believe that if there was effective financial services regulation, many of the issues that concerns us would be getting dealt with. We therefore want effective financial services regulation. Regulatory Failure is a major problem, right around the world. Always, and everywhere, there is a risk of regulatory capture; this is not a criticism of the individuals concerned; it is a harsh reality of any regulatory ecosystem. It applies to all regulated markets; but the evidence shows that the financial services sector is particularly prone to it.

Therefore, the blueprint for all the world’s financial regulatory frameworks must be cognisant of that fact. There need to be sufficient counterweights to the influence of industry lobbying that leads to regulatory capture and conflicts of interest.

Many of our members are individuals who have suffered due to regulatory failure by the Financial Conduct Authority. Many of our events have been about topics that relate to the Financial Conduct Authority. The shortcomings of the Financial Conduct Authority come up time after time in conversations. Uniquely, our knowledge of the Financial Conduct Authority has been enhanced even further through our role as the Secretariat to the APPG on Personal Banking and Fairer Financial Services, which has been carrying out an extensive Call for Evidence about the Financial Conduct Authority. The Call for Evidence has received over 150 testimonies from a wide range of stakeholders. Just looking at this evidence alone, we think that any reasonable and objectively-minded person would come to the conclusion that there is something seriously wrong with the Financial Conduct Authority. 

If anybody reads and watches the evidence that is in the public domain here and comes to any conclusion other than there being something seriously wrong with the Financial Conduct Authority, we would love to talk to you and understand your perspective – please do get in touch because we really do welcome the idea of being challenged on what the evidence shows.

And please note that the evidence shown here is just a small fraction of the evidence that has been gathered – there have been over 150 submissions. 

There’s even more evidence than that

On balance, what does the evidence show?

But it isn’t just the evidence from the APPG’s Call for Evidence about the Financial Conduct Authority that we have based our views on. 

There is also:

Plus there’s the evidence and testimony contained within the video recordings of the many events we have run that are relevant to catastrophic regulatory failure:

Plus, there’s all the evidence contained within our many consultation responses, most of which show the Financial Conduct Authority in a very poor light.

We believe that most reasonable, independent, unconflicted, dispassionate and objectively-minded people who evaluate the mountain of evidence about the Financial Conduct Authority that is now coming to the surface would come to a similar conclusion to us, which is that there’s something seriously wrong with the Financial Conduct Authority.

We believe:

  • It has cultural and leadership issues that run very deep
  • It is captured, at least to a degree
  • It is conflicted, at least to a degree
  • It is confused about its purpose and priorities, at least to a degree
  • It has too many cosy relationships with the sector’s trade bodies such as UK Finance; and the sector’s “big beasts” such as the banks
  • There is a woeful lack of transparency, truthfulness and trustworthiness
  • There is a woeful lack of oversight and accountability
  • Those to whom it is accountable are too soft on it; for example the Treasury Select Committee
  • It fails to act in good faith, too often
  • It is dishonest, too often
  • It tries very hard to cover up its mistakes, too often
  • It has exploited and abused vulnerable whistleblowers; it has put them in harm’s way, to protect the Financial Conduct Authority’s own interests, too often
  • It acts immorally, too often
  • It is self-serving
  • It fails to make good use of the powers that it has
  • It fails to enforce effectively
  • It has a huge “Revolving Door” problem that it allows to perpetuate
  • Its Financial Services Consumer Panel is no longer effective 
  • Its Financial Services Consumer Panel fails to challenge it adequately
  • Its Consumer Networks are not effective enough
  • It fails to harness the power of deterrent
  • It has misinformed Parliament on several occasions
  • It is open to HM Treasury’s “Competitiveness” agenda, which is actually a Trojan Horse to deregulation, which will lead to even more consumer harm

Please note that the vast majority of its employees are very good and highly capable people that want to do an important job well, but they are held back from doing so by the organisation itself.

Why there’s no reason for confidence about the Transformation Project that is underway

Given what we believe, it is clear that we should

It was Albert Einstein who said:

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used to create them”

Be mindful of that statement when considering these issues:

In short, it is unrealistic to believe that the Financial Conduct Authority’s Transformation Project will fail to deal with the real, deep, fundamental issues that cause it to consistently under-perform, particularly in relation to its consumer protection objective, namely:

  • The Revolving Door problem
  • Conflicts of Interest
  • Regulatory Capture
  • A woeful lack of scrutiny
  • A woeful lack of transparency
  • A woeful lack of accountability
  • A toxic culture
  • Continue to be a “critical friend” to the Financial Conduct Authority
  • Continue to gather evidence about the Financial Conduct Authority’s failings
  • Continue to shine a light on that evidence – “Sunlight is the best disinfectant”
  • Continue to invest time trying to fully understand why the Financial Conduct Authority behaves the way it does – a voyage of discovery likely to be answered by achieving a full understanding of the incentives at work that encourage senior people at the Financial Conduct Authority to think and behave the way they do. Charlie Munger’s famous saying “show me the incentives and I’ll show you the outcome” seems quite apt
  • Continue to identify and do our best to deal with the long list of issues that will become our battlegrounds for regulatory reform

And last, but certainly not least, we should rally for better financial regulation, annually, until the public has the regulation they need and deserve. 

Please note that some of this web page is based on the content of the meeting we ran on January 4th 2022 about the Transparency Task Force’s plans and priorities for 2022. 

If you wish, the slides used can be accessed here and the recording of the event can be watched here. The slides and event will explain the rationale behind the Transparency Task Force’s decision to focus on tackling chronic and catastrophic regulatory failure as our top campaign priority.