Statements of Support

We want this paper to make a

… and we know that will only happen if there is sufficient support for its message about the desperate need for reform. We are therefore very pleased that the insights and ideas within this paper resonate with a wide range of stakeholders, including those that have kindly stepped forward to provide a statement of support, as shown below. We are very grateful to everybody that has already shown their support and we actively encourage anybody that finds themselves agreeing with the general thrust of what we are articulating in to do the same, regardless of when you read this paper – please contact us with your thoughts and we will share them.

Rt Hon Sir Stephen Timms MP,

Chair, Work and Pensions Select Committee

"I greatly appreciate the work of the Transparency Task Force, in particular in supporting the victims of pension scams who have suffered such devastating losses. TTF drew their plight to the attention of the Select Committee, leading to our inquiry on this subject and our report ‘Protecting pension savers five years on from the pension freedoms: Pension scams ’ published on 28 March 2021."

Kim Leadbeater MP,

“The British public need and deserve a financial sector that it has good reason to have trust and confidence in. However, the amount of financial crime, scams and scandals that are taking place shows that there is ample justification for the concerns that many people have, that the regulatory framework is failing to provide sufficient consumer protection. This paper does a first-class job in raising awareness of the terrible plight that victims of financial crime and malpractice face. It is clear that more could and should be done to reduce the chance of  people falling prey to criminals, and to support them if they unfortunately do. I, and many Parliamentarians will be keen to help drive through the kind of reforms the paper is calling for.”

David Pitt-Watson,

Fellow, Judge Business School

“Financial fraud is a blight on our economy, on our society, and on our country. But financial fraud and malpractice also has a huge human cost. As this paper shows, it destroys innocent people’s lives. Britain should be proud of its financial services industry which provides vital services and well paid jobs. Instead it is viewed as corrupt . That should be, and is of concern to so many honest people who work in the industry. They don’t understand why, when fraud represents 40% of crime, it receives less than 2% of police resources . That even our most reputable financial institutions receive fines for misconduct. That fraudsters can set up companies, fleece their customers, go bankrupt and start the process again. This is a profoundly serious problem in plain sight. An ugly elephant in the room. We can and must do so much better. If you don’t believe that, read this report.”

Margaret Snowdon OBE,

Chair, Pension Scams Industry Group

"As someone who has been at the forefront of efforts to protect pension scheme members from the dire impact of scams, I believe it is essential that various government departments and authorities should be laser focused on the harm to individuals and the wider economy from the scourge of pension and investment scams. They must be united in a commitment to recognise and tackle the issues in a joined up way. They should also work with victims and the industry to make it harder for scammers to operate and be more supportive of victims. HMRC practices could be said to have enabled some scam arrangements, while at the same time they vigorously pursue tax penalties against those who fall victim to those arrangements. It is simply not good enough to harbour institutional views that victims have only themselves to blame. There are moves and ambitions in the right direction, but many are yet to bear fruit. I am hopeful, but it is hard work.”

Baroness Thornton,

Member, House of Lords

“Financial Crime is not victimless, but often the victims are the most vulnerable and the least able to defend themselves and get redress, which is why providing and enacting “an appropriate degree of consumer protection,” is vital and still lacking. And why this initiative is so important and has my support.”

Sarah Olney MP,

“My primary responsibility is and always will be to do the best job I can to care for the interests of all the constituents of Richmond Park. It therefore follows that any genuine effort to help reduce the chance that my constituents might become a victim of financial crime, fraud, misconduct and scams; and to better support them if they do become a victim, is something I instinctively want to back. I am pleased that the Transparency Task Force has produced this discussion paper, not only because it brings into sharp focus the awful experience that so many victims of financial crime have had to endure, but also because it points towards the very real possibility that us Parliamentarians can make a difference by introducing purposeful reforms in this Parliamentary session. As protecting the public from financial harm is not in any way a party-political issue, I hope and expect that many other Parliamentarians will join me in supporting this excellent initiative.”

Jesse Grifiths,

CEO, Finance Innovation Lab

“The financial system should support people, communities and the planet to thrive, but too often it does the opposite. This research shines a light into the way victims of financial crime - of which there are far too many - are deeply affected and badly treated by the system. Only fundamental, systemic reform can rectify this and the many other failings of the financial system.”

Alan Campbell,

Founder, DebtHacker

“This report is as shocking as it is heart-rending. It brings victims’ terrifying and visceral experiences directly into our lives, provoking sadness, empathy and anger in a way that statistics alone can't. It presents the unavoidable fact that financial crime and malpractice is rife because bad and criminal actors ignore, break and exploit rules, and their victims are left to suffer the consequences alone. Politicians and policymakers should judge financial regulations based on outcomes, rather than the quality of the draughtsmanship of the rules. The FCA currently relies on firms to put procedures in place "to ensure a fair outcome” and, under its “general supervisory approach," makes no periodic independent periodic checks that firms are complying with its regulations. This laissez-faire supervision policy allows bad and criminal actors to take advantage and this report shows the appalling consequences: havoc, distress and even premature death. We must change the system now.”

Tom Schuller,

Author; Social and Educational Researcher

“The UK's bloated finance sector presents many problems. The issues highlighted here are urgent; the report does an excellent job in highlighting them and proposing ways forward.”

Clive May,

Director Briar Grove Developments Ltd

“As a victim of financial crime committed by a state sponsored bank and included in this report as a case study, I'd like to thank Andy and all those at the TTF for taking the time to listen to our stories. Having spoken to many victims it's heart-breaking to see the continuing effects that the banking financial crash has had on its victims. When a bank instructs its staff to send out victory emails each and every time they seize its SME customer assets in a policy and procedure manual, then the financial sector has hit rock bottom.”

James Gent,

PhD Research Scholar at Staffordshire University

“37.5% of all crime in England and Wales in the year ending March 2020 fell into the category of fraud with a total of 4.4 million incidents. Despite this, less than 3% of fraud that is reported to police leads to a positive outcome such as a caution, community resolution, or summons. Financial crime is not victimless, and it leads to a cost-of-living increase for everyone. The government has a responsibility and duty to protect the public from fraud. ”

Richard Emery,

Bank Fraud Investigator at 4KEYS International

“I welcome the opportunity to share my insights and actively support the overall intent behind this paper and the overall initiative that it is part of. If I could design a new technological development it would be one that allowed me to make a box of tissues and a loving arm appear out of a bank fraud victim’s phone. I cannot count the number of phone calls that I have received where people have been in tears because of what has happened to them. Every phone call brings at least some level of distress but some will always be remembered. The elderly lady who had money set aside for her funeral, desperately upset that her family will now have to find the money to pay for it. The mother who had saved for years to provide a fund for her daughter to train in her chosen career - the career opportunity has gone because the investment was a fraud. The young husband who believed that it was the bank who was calling to tell him that his account was under attack from fraudsters and that he needed to move his money, the money that he and his wife had saved for the deposit on their first proper home - now they would have to bring up their young family in rented accommodation. The couple who had received an inheritance and planned to use it to buy a home for their disabled daughter - a specially adapted home that she would not now have. In addition to the general feelings of ‘foolishness’ and 'how could I have not realised it was fraud', one of the most serious issues is the sense of personal responsibility for the hugely negative impact on their spouse, their partner, their children and grandchildren. Very few of us have money that is ours and ours alone; money that will not be used to benefit others. It is the loss of this money, the loss of our ability to provide for others, that brings about the greatest level of anguish following a bank fraud. People in these situations need a great deal of reassurance. "You are the victim of organised criminality”. "This type of fraud is very common, and amounted to £xm every day last year". The figures almost always shock people, but they also realise that the fraudsters are very professional, which is why they became victims. We need the Banks, and other services such as Action Fraud, to - adopt a more caring and understanding approach to the victims - be clearer in their approach to reimbursement - explain the timetable for their investigation, and then keep to it - be effective at sign-posting victims to organisations that can help.”

John Howard,

Chair of Transparency Task Force’s Advisory Group; and formerly: Chair of the Financial Services Consumer Panel, Non Executive Director of the Financial Ombudsman Service, presenter of the daily Radio 4 Consumer Programme 'You and Yours' and Non Executive Director of Ofgem

“We are all the victims of financial crime. We may not have suffered the devastating personal effects of it, so clearly explained in this white paper but every crime must be paid for and we all end up paying for it. The massive amounts paid out as compensation by our major banks for malpractice, listed in the Violation Tracker, are paid for by every customer through increased costs and charges; the customers of financial firms that go bust are compensated by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme from a levy on every other firm, the good paying for the bad. This society wide ‘theft’ has reached unacceptable proportions and this white paper provides the groundwork for real and lasting action to be taken.”

Nicholas Shaxson,

Co-founder, Balanced Economy Project, and author of the books Treasure Islands and The Finance Curse

“This paper does a good job in pointing out the systemic failure of regulators and the government in protecting the public from the many and varied bad actors in finance. There is a clear tension between those who want to promote the 'international competitiveness' of UK finance - in other words, the interests of large UK financial institutions with global operations - against those who want to protect UK consumers and small businesses from often predatory activities by people and institutions in UK finance. It is high time for UK regulators and politicians to swing the pendulum back and start prioritising UK citizens, small businesses and consumers again.”

Greg LeRoy,

Executive Director at Good Jobs First, publishers of Violation Tracker UK

“Despite their devastating human harms, financial crimes get far too little policing attention, in no small part because their prevalence has not been well documented. At Transparency Task Force’s urging, we created Violation Tracker UK and it reveals that the UK’s financial sector is head and shoulders the most-penalized sector of business. Now, TTF marries that data with wrenching case studies of earnest businesspeople and retirement savers having their lives upended by systemic criminality. What more could Parliament ask for to decide to crack down on financial abuses? “

Andrew Gwynne MP,

“I am delighted that the Transparency Task Force has produced this report, because the UK’s financial sector is of strategic importance to our economy, and it ought to be doing a decent job serving the interests of all our citizens, but it clearly isn’t. The report shouts out the terrible impact on victims of financial crime and misconduct and provides extensive evidence suggesting that the financial regulatory framework is not yet effective in providing adequate consumer protection. The central thrust of the paper is that Parliamentarians now have an opportunity to bring about reforms during this Parliamentary session that will mitigate the risk of consumers being harmed, and also provide meaningful support to those that do become victims. I wholeheartedly agree, and I will be doing my bit to support such reforms wherever and whenever I can – my own constituents are not immune from scams and mis-selling, and I want to do all I can to help protect their interests.”

Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle,

“Financial crime and mismanagement is sometimes dismissed as 'victimless', but of course it is far from that. We all suffer collectively from the fraud and greed, but some people's lives are torn apart by it. We live under the dictatorship of the Treasury, with the assumption being that we are all here to serve the economy, rather than the economy serving people and planet. Practical regulation can prevent further individual victimisation, but more, we need a huge revamp of our approach to financial governance."

Paul Birch,

QROPS scam victim

“As just one victim of many thousands of members and beneficiaries of HMRC registered QROPS Pension Trustee Schemes, who has suffered huge financial and emotional issues as a result of the abject failures of the totally misnamed and misguided regulators and law enforcement agencies, which are meant to act to protect us from the rampant financial crimes from which we have suffered and continue to suffer, I give my wholehearted support to the efforts of those fighting on our behalf to bring about the changes needed. I have thousands of pages of documents accumulated since the summer of 2016 which I will gladly share, and which will irrefutably demonstrate the scale of the problem and the failures of the agencies designated to protect us to address them. It is clear to me that the reforms proposed in this paper, if enacted, would make the kind of difference that is so desperately needed.”

Jon Williams,

Professor of Finance, Surrey Business School, Surrey University

“A vibrant financial services sector is an essential facilitator of economic growth. History teaches that if left unchecked, markets can produce unintended outcomes often with devastating effects. This fact is the basis for financial regulation and its objectives of maintaining stability and protecting consumers and investors. Properly designed regulations can help financial firms and financial markets to function more effectively. As one of the world’s leading financial centres, the UK should be setting an example and designing a best practice regulatory framework which would be robust enough to meet future challenges whilst better serving the interests of society.”

Robert Winsor,

Victim of Financial Crime

“I lost my home and livelihood as a direct result of an unlawful bankruptcy and collusion between the Ministry of Justice and the Insolvency Service. I can’t begin to succinctly describe the horrendous impact this has had on me. I support all genuine attempts to shine a light on the issues that are causing such high levels of fraud and financial crime in our country, and as such I am very supportive of this Paper.”

Michelle Nicholas,

Consumer Research Director, Michelle Nicholas & Co

“I’ve worked in the Financial Sector in Marketing Director and Consumer market leadership throughout my career. I know very well that many issues from the 2008 crash remain unresolved, same mistakes often made over - same people and processes associated are still in place and so we get to see repeats. Personal experience suggests that the UK regulatory system is overly set to impunity with disinformation on their capabilities and resources reported by the SFO, and therefore limited recourse. SFO actually has a vast network and access to matrix resources and funds – FCA, City of London Police, Met Police, full remaining UK police forces and structures, civil servants, military, security services and many private businesses. And same in international links. SFO chooses what to report, which is a fraction of what can be resolved. We could easily have a more balanced economy. However, as one security person said to me ‘we don’t like whistle blowers’ and as a PC committed in a report to me ‘people who report are very often subject to surveillance’. That means the only true way to preserve consumer rights – including family income and pensions – is to rethink balance of risk and reputation and therefore rules in applying security law and underlying practices and processes associated. How the ‘private’ courts are removed from reach, as the key security enabler, is a more difficult issue and I’m not sure what the answer is right now. But again, this probably means a review of purpose – are we slaves to the economy, or does it serve us? For these reasons I am wholly supportive of the TTF’s efforts to shine a light on the harms caused by the financial sector, this report does an excellent job to do just that."

Further information about the TTF

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