Note: If you want to go straight to downloading the White Paper entitled “Ideas to help reduce the chance of another Global Financial Crisis,” please scroll down towards the bottom of this web page.
How the Financial Stability Team started
Our Financial Stability Team was launched at a Transparency Symposium held on 13th September 2017 entitled “It must never happen again!”
The event was all about the Global Financial Crisis and the date on which it was held was significant; it marked the 10 Year anniversary of the collapse of Northern Rock.
The speakers shared their thoughts on the causes of the Global Financial Crisis and what might be done, that hasn’t yet been, to prevent a similar disaster occurring again. Many excellent presentations were given, outlining a range of ideas worthy of further consideration.
We invited speakers and participants to volunteer to become members of a new volunteer team, the Financial Stability Team, with the intention that it would capture the valuable thought leadership shared during the speeches and discussion that day and present those ideas at the House of Commons on 7th February 2018.
Leandros Kalisperas, now Global Head of Pensions at Aberdeen Standard, was invited to Lead the Team and he accepted. The team started with seven members but through word of mouth it has grown.
Please see immediately below:
- The slides from the event
- A press release we issued about the launch of the Financial Stability Team
- A link to a page where you can download a spreadsheet that has details about all TTF volunteers. Sort on the Financial Stability Team column to see who is in it.
Our White Paper:
“Ideas to Help Reduce the Chance of Another Global Financial Crisis”
Team members joined the collective effort to work on an entirely voluntary basis, freely sharing their ideas and insights such that we could capture and articulate ideas that will hopefully help to avoid another Global Financial Crisis.
The team has operated with a strong sense of purpose since day 1 and it has become an excellent example of what can be achieved when a group of concerned citizens freely volunteer their time, effort, experience and insight for the common good.
We have successfully developed our collective thinking through producing our White Paper entitled “Ideas to Reduce the Chance of Another Global Financial Crisis.”
It is to be presented to a range of stakeholders including parliamentarians, The Bank of England, the Financial Conduct Authority, the Financial Conduct Authority, The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and so on; at the House of Commons on 7th February 2018.
Building consensus and forming an overall collective view has been a very important part of the process. Over a period of several months and after continued enhancements the Paper is now finished, to a high standard; on time and on budget (the budget was £0.00 as we have no resource).
A substantial amount of work has been done, entirely by volunteers. The paper completely dispels the myth that all that can be done to reduce the chance of another Global Financial Crisis has been done.
We are pleased with the thought-provoking nature of the Paper, which can be downloaded at the very bottom of the page.
Initiating the launch of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Financial Stability
During the process of creating the Paper it became increasingly obvious that there would be tremendous value in initiating the launch of an All Party Parliamentary Group on Financial Stability.
Wanting to achieve financial resilience is not a party-political issue: the quest for greater financial stability is an issue that appeals to people of all political persuasions. Indeed, it could be one of several unifying aspirations at this time, with a common bond of establishing what more can be done to enable the financial services sector as a whole to find and embrace a true sense of purpose which can act as a North Star in guiding the way it functions.
Given the cross-party interest in the topic there is huge value to be had in building a much-needed line of constructive communication between not just parliamentarians but also academics, practitioners, regulators, Civil Society Groups, relevant government departments, enlightened market participants and so on; and that an All Party Parliamentary Group on Financial Stability would be the ideal forum for the kind of analysis, debate and consensus-building that is needed.
The plan is that the Financial Stability All Party Parliamentary Group will be a safe and suitably informal environment, conducive to considering constructive and creative policy initiatives that may help to mitigate the risk of another Global Financial Crisis.
The Financial Stability All Party Parliamentary Group has the potential to become an outstandingly useful forum for a wide range of stakeholders and we are hopeful that it will lead to candid yet collegiate conversations about the stewardship of our economy and the financial ecosystem as a whole.
The ultimate purpose of the Transparency Task Force’s Financial Stability Team is to influence policymakers to develop and promote policies that align with the achievement of greater financial resilience and thereby help mitigate the risk of future financial crises. Our White Paper is a significant first step in galvanizing interest in and support for the All Party Parliamentary Group on Financial Stability which has excellent potential to be a “force for good” for the benefit of all.
Market crashes are man-made disasters; there is nothing natural about them and they do not need to happen. They are not typhoons, tornadoes or tsunamis; they are the manifestation of opacity and policy failures; they are the consequence of errors of judgement and mistakes. However, given the extreme complexity and inter-connectivity of the world’s financial ecosystem which is riddled with uncertainties and risks of all kinds, many of which are literally invisible, there is no surprise that mistakes were made by many policymakers, right around the world.
Nevertheless, the work of the Transparency Task Force is about finding solutions, not apportioning blame and it has been with a sense of noble intent and civic duty that our Financial Stability Team has embarked on this volunteer-driven initiative to try to make a difference, to the best of our ability, despite having no resource or support of any kind.
We believe our White Paper completely disproves any notion that “everything that should be done to mitigate the risk of another Global Financial Crisis has been done,” and we therefore believe the Paper has merit in its own right as a thought-provoking discussion document.
However, the real test of the efficacy of this Paper is whether it achieves its underlying objective – to attract the interest of Parliamentarians who inhabit one of the oldest and most responsible democracies in the world, in the hope that it inspires them to become founding members and leaders of the new Financial Stability All Party Parliamentary Group; thereby enabling them, in turn to carry out their noble and civic duty to the best of their ability.
For all enquiries about our Financial Stability Team and the All Party Parliamentary Group on Financial Stability please connect through.
Comments of support:
“There is universal shared interest in avoiding another Global Financial Crisis so I am pleased to play my part in supporting the new All Party Parliamentary Group on Financial Stability. We wish to consider ideas from a wide range of stakeholders; the strongest ideas will be developed into fledgling policy proposals for consideration by Regulators, Government Departments and so on. Hats off to the Transparency Task Force for their compelling White Paper on the topic and for suggesting the new APPG be formed.”
Anneliese Dodds MP:
“Ten years after the financial crisis, we are still living with its after-effects. It is more important than ever that we learn the lessons of the crisis and make sure that future financial markets are safer and more transparent. The APPG on Financial Stability will offer a very helpful forum for parliamentarians to come together with experts in the field to discuss how we can work cross-party to buttress the resilience of our financial system. It is great that the APPG will be supported by the Transparency Task Force, which has already done a lot to bring together people and ideas, to promote a safer and more sustainable financial system.”
“Ten years on from the great financial crisis it has earned its place in history for having profound social and generational consequences.
The regulatory response was substantial and globally coordinated, authorised by governments but driven by central banks and regulators: imposing new rules, gathering data, increasing capital, requiring stress tests and resolution planning. Yet questions remain about how best to benefit from interrogation of data, how to make it real time not historic and how to avoid correlation through regulation. Will AI give rules clarity or add to the depersonalisation that helped destroy culture and ethics?
All too often the Parliamentary role is reduced to one of picking over the ruins or giving the formal nod for deference and delegation to regulators. This APPG is a welcome and needed forum for up front Parliamentary engagement.”
Benoît Lallemand, Secretary General of Finance Watch:
“The post-crisis financial reforms patched up the system but failed to address its deeper flaws. An APPG on financial stability will help policymakers to identify deeper problems in our financial system before the next financial crisis hits. Finance Watch looks forward to supporting the inclusion of civil society viewpoints in the work of this group.”
Andrew Mills, Director, Insight Financial Research:
“Policy responses to the last crisis will shape the next one. Bank balance sheets are better managed, but risk is building up elsewhere. In particular, investors are using non-bank lending to satisfy their thirst for yield. The growth of this opaque credit channel poses a number of potential systemic risks.”
Michael and Constance Erlanger, Founders and Managing Principals, Marketcore:
“There can be no doubt that harnessing the transformation powers of both transparency and technology can help provide the world with the financial stability we all crave. We have unique technology skills, technology insights and technology solutions that will complement the TTF’s outstanding work on transparency in helping to rid the financial ecosystem from the curse of market crashes. Doing so is not an impossibility. We’re committed contributors to the collective effort that is underway through the TTF.”
Stuart Woollard, Managing Partner/Co-Founder Maturity Institute and OMS LLP:
“Financial stability is a whole system issue, with multiple facets that require ongoing attention. The Transparency Task Force White Paper and APPG initiative is of critical importance in ensuring that government, regulatory bodies and wider stakeholders are aware of underlying causes and all possible solutions that can improve financial stability in a UK context. In bringing our own expertise and evidence on issues of governance and culture, the Maturity Institute has been delighted to have been part of a multi-disciplinary team of experts, who have built a solid foundation for which we believe real progress can be made under the auspices of a new APPG.”
David M. Rowe, Ph.D.
President, David M. Rowe Risk Advisory
“It is less than 10 years since the Global Financial Crisis began in earnest in September 2008. Sadly, politicians, regulators and financial market professionals appear to be repeating the mistakes that led to those destructive events of a decade ago. As The Economist stated recently (see the Free Exchange column, Jan 27-Feb 2 issue): ‘If this time is different, it is only because the lessons of history have been discarded so quickly.’
All this makes formation of a forum for an open and dispassionate cross-party exchange of ideas for reducing the likelihood, and the likely severity, of future financial crises an urgent priority. All people of good will should step forward to support this effort.”
Open Letter to:
Her Majesty The Queen,
London SW1A 1AA.
[Copies sent by Email to Prime Minister Theresa May and leaders of other Political parties for their information; and to my media contacts to whom I have given permission to reproduce this letter in whole or in part.]
I am writing to you because it has become something of folklore amongst academics, economists and others that you were not given a satisfactory answer when you enquired as to why so few experts saw the Global Financial Crisis coming.
Ten years on from the Crisis, it is a timely moment to reflect, refocus and reconsider what else can be done to prevent something similar happening again. I raise this matter with you as I am leading a meeting at the House of Commons on 7th February that will help initiate the launch of a new All Party Parliamentary Group, on Financial Stability.
Financial stability is a precious public good that warrants nurturing and protecting; and thinking about financial stability through the clear-eyed lens of transparency offers an opportunity to cut through to the policy initiatives needed to help create the financial stability we all want. I and many others believe that a lack of transparency in the financial ecosystem (including within the banking, pensions and investment sectors) is problematic.
It might be that our collective efforts achieve nothing at all; alternatively, we might help to avoid you needing to ask the question “Why didn’t anybody see it coming?” all over again.
I have enclosed a copy of our White Paper “Ideas to reduce the chance of another Global Financial Crisis” which will be discussed at the 7th February meeting. It would be an honour to update you on the outcome of the meeting, if you so wish; and I would welcome your general thoughts on this volunteer-driven initiative.
I have the honour to be, Madam, Your Majesty’s humble and constructively concerned citizen, volunteering to ‘do my little bit’ alongside many others.
Founding Chair, the Transparency Task Force www.transparencytaskforce.org
“Helping to fix financial services by harnessing the transformational power of transparency.”
Click below to download the Transparency Task Force Financial Stability Team’s White Paper entitled “Ideas to reduce the chance of another Global Financial Crisis.”
Discussion Paper by Dr. Steve Hubbard and John Hipperson
The Discussion Paper by Dr. Steve Hubbard and John Hipperson has been produced to encourage discussion around some of the fundamental questions that are as yet unresolved in the world of economics.
The Transparency Task Force is very pleased to help raise awareness of the very important points they make and questions they ask.
We will do all we can with our very limited resources to support their valiant efforts to initiate much-needed dialogue.
Please do read their Discussion Paper, shown in full below and let us know what you think.
A Proposal by Dr. Steve Hubbard and John Hipperson for Progress at a Serious Popular Level in Macroeconomics
Background and Aims
This is a brief overview by Dr. Steve Hubbard and John Hipperson of our concerns in macroeconomics following a number of years part-time study, and some suggestions for how these concerns might be addressed.
Both from our engineering and scientific backgrounds, and from a straightforward logical point of view, we see the current situation as unsatisfactory.
That there are different, sometimes opposing, schools of thought is not unusual in any serious discipline, nor is the existence of a current orthodoxy. However, what we think is highly unusual is the lack of concerned dialogue and challenge between the different approaches.
This is not a technical dispute in an academic backwater. The essence of macroeconomics – who creates money, how and why, and how it moves – is vitally important in the present and future daily lives of everyone.
For there to be several fundamentally different streams within the profession without the accompanying open discussion and desire on all sides to resolve the differences is unusual. For a discipline which considers itself logically based, let alone scientific, and has such wide impact then the situation is dangerous.
We understand that political views and ideology will have a bearing on choices made and consequent outcomes. However, macroeconomics claims a non-political scientific rationality and it is this aspect which concerns us.
An indication of the importance of macroeconomics can be judged from the effect on the world economy of the 2008 Financial Crisis (2008 FC) which highlighted the enormous societal dangers of such crashes.
The history of economics shows that “crashes” have occurred repeatedly and may even be unavoidable. However, this does not entitle the profession to ignore the risk, or to avoid taking steps to minimise their effect on wider society.
A weakness exhibited by the orthodoxy was that, following the 2008 FC, the “Queen’s question” was unable to be answered convincingly, whereas the crash had in fact been predicted from publicly available data by parties within non-orthodox economics.
The consequences of another crash of similar magnitude are hugely unpredictable on social and political fronts and represent a huge global risk.
Our aim therefore is twofold, to contribute towards a much greater dialogue between the different streams in macroeconomics, and to raise public awareness which we know to be extremely low.
The Current Situation
Currently three broad streams predominate in macroeconomics and these are outlined below.
When studied in detail some overlaps will be found between them and these streams will not always be clear cut.
However, we do believe they are separate enough to be significant and useful.
(1) An orthodoxy (sometimes called neoclassical).
This is the default approach taught by most (but not all) educational institutions and generally followed by Central Banks, the IMF and overwhelmingly by decision-makers, the media and the public. Our own reading and discussions with decision-makers, academics and the public have confirmed this.
(2) A significant non-orthodox movement.
This consists of a smaller but growing range of organisations and individuals.
Their views sometimes overlap but they have not coalesced into a single group.
A number are represented within the TTF Financial Stability Group and the PEP led by Henry Leveson-Gower who is also a Financial Stability Group member.
(3) The current view taken by the lay public.
This (perhaps obviously) generally supports the orthodoxy.
We suggest, and our conversations support this, that this is not a result of consideration of different options. It is because the orthodoxy is currently promoted by default in the media, by political decision-makers and overwhelming numbers of people that the public see and hear within the economics profession.
Observations of the Current Situation
Dialogue between (1) and (2) is very limited.
The orthodox tend to be hostile and dismissive towards the non-orthodox whom they often see as renegade.
The hostility is frequently returned by the non-orthodox but given the dominance of the orthodoxy they are frequently required to address orthodox objections. This means that debate over differences is often technical in nature and falls outside the interest of the lay person.
Overall the two groups have little impact on each other and are consequently intellectually isolated.
Interestingly in discussion we have found a number of professionals associated with the orthodoxy who are privately prepared to concede more flaws in the orthodoxy than they appear to declare publicly.
Although both the orthodox and non-orthodox claim to base their views on first principles we cannot find a set of these principles which are agreed by both.
For example, we find it remarkable that the importance or otherwise of matters such as the roles of money, commercial banks, private debt and intermediation are disputed and unresolved by different groups.
The existence of more than one explanation for a given situation sometimes indicates that a Kuhnian-type paradigm shift will occur.
Also, the absence of a dialogue as described above between the current orthodoxy and a non-orthodox movement might indicate the “incommensurability” that Kuhn considers a feature of two paradigms.
However, we feel that this is currently unproven and there is more work to do to demonstrate that this is the case.
Related to this is the ongoing disagreement about the significance of even basic data, for example private debt.
A Need for Action
The consequences of another 2008 FC are hugely unpredictable on social and political fronts.
All who claim an involvement in macroeconomic matters, particularly with declared crisis prediction and mitigation, may not be seen as bystanders if another crisis occurs.
We must all be prepared to answer the legitimate questions of “what we knew and what we did”.
A Course of Action
We suggest action is urgently needed on two fronts.
The first is a move towards a much greater level of co-ordination by bringing together all the various approaches to macroeconomics, including the orthodoxy.
Co-ordination will not mean agreement but will mean a dialogue particularly around points of disagreement.
This might initially be an event or conference as widely attended as possible focussed on bringing the different factions together, including the popular as well as the technical press. Speakers from different groups must contribute equally under the same terms of reference with no group given priority over any other, although the organisers may invite keynote speakers etc.
This could be organised within the existing framework of the Financial Stability Group (FSG) of the Transparency Task Force of which we are both members, or Promoting Economic Plurality (PEP). It seems to us that the initiatives behind both these groups – openness and plurality – are sufficiently similar to warrant coming together in a venture of this importance.
Equally the idea of an initial event or conference of this nature might be taken up by an academic or other institution with significant input from both the FSG and PEP.
The second area where we see action urgently needed is to offer the population at large a basic understanding of how the current system operates – something we have found to be lacking.
This should be addressed through as many avenues as possible and the most pressing issues are twofold:
– the crucial difference between micro and macroeconomics,
– an understanding of the significance of private debt in addition to Government debt.
Finally, the absence of a senior academic post for “the public understanding of economics” seems significant. Such a post is increasingly found in other disciplines and should be created in economics with urgency.
Any difficulties seen as impeding the creation of such a post only contributes to our overall concern and heightens the need for their being addressed.
Although SRH and CJH are entirely responsible for this work, we acknowledge the value of discussions with Professor Steve Keen and Dr Michael Kumhof.
Dr. Steve Hubbard and John Hipperson
We realised most political discussion reduced to money.
About four years ago we heard Professor Steve Keen interviewed and as a result attended his inaugural lecture at Kingston University, subsequently becoming friends.
That started us seriously reading and thinking about macroeconomics.
We have now attended a dozen related events at UEA, a similar number in Westminster and elsewhere, and heard or had discussions with a number of MP’s, Detlev Schlichter, Mervyn King, Frances Copolla, Adair Turner, Michael Kumhof, Prof Tim Evans and others including academics.
We are members of the TTF Financial Stability Group, have submitted twice to HMG Treasury Select Committees and published in “The Mint”, the Journal of Promoting Economic Pluralism (PEP) founded by Henry Leveson-Gower who we know.
Our views are therefore shaped by the above and also by wide ranging discussions with our friends.
26 June 2020