Future of the Finance Sector

John McDonnell hosted a finance conference at Bloomberg Europe, 3 Queen Victoria St, London EC4N 4TQ on Thursday 19 April 2018.

The Conference gave the opportunity to discuss the roles and responsibilities of the finance sector, Brexit and beyond, and what needs to be done to achieve this. The format of the day consisted of panel discussions and Q and A. The audience was made up from members of the business community, finance sector, academics, politicians, Labour members and trade unions and allowed attendees to hear about Labour’s policies, ask questions and network with others.

Opening Plenary

Constantin Cotzias – Director, Bloomberg Europe, opened the conference.

John McDonnell MP set out the next Labour government’s approach to the financial sector.

Session 1: Roles and responsibilities of a progressive finance sector

Professor Avinash Persaud – Chair, Intelligence Capital Ltd, spoke about the good allocation of savings to investments is the point and purpose of a financial sector. But in recent decades the financial sector has lost its way and increasingly appears to exist only to propagate itself. Avinash will point to a handful of easy to implement steps, such as a small financial transaction tax, and a tilt in the regulation of insurers and pension funds that could make finance more fit for purpose.

Saker Nusseibeh – Founder, 300 Club, In his presentation, The Why Question, Saker Nusseibeh proposes that the current ‘professional’ understanding of investment theory, which seems to frame the financial world almost as entirely separate from the real world that ordinary investors and beneficiaries live and work in, was a main contributory factor to the crises in 2008 and the increasing level of public distrust towards business and finance that resulted from it.  Moreover, it is threatening the sustainability of the free market model. Investors need to fundamentally rethink the purpose of investment and how they measure its success in order to reconnect capital with its true underlying purpose. Click here to see Saker’s presentation

Miatta Fahnbulleh – Chief Executive, New Economics Foundation, discussed the critical role that the financial sector has played in driving our broken economic model and argue that to create the conditions for a New Economy we will need to significantly reform the financial sector so it works in the interest of the many and not the few.  This will mean reconfiguring the role of the Bank of England, breaking up the big banks and putting in place a system of local banks.

The session was Chaired by Anneliese Dodds MP – Shadow Treasury Minister

Session 2: Brexit and beyond

Gail Cartmail – Assistant General Secretary, Unite the Union talked  about the way in which Banks are closing branches and cutting thousands of jobs, yet at the same time pay at the top of the finance companies soars and the banks continue to face penalties for misbehaviour.

She will speak about the difficulties workers in the finance sector face including uncertainty over their futures, low pay, increasing automation, offshoring and gender pay and job segregation. Brexit has merely served to intensify the pressure upon the workforce and demonstrate that change is overdue. Gail will focus on the sector’s social responsibilities to consumers, its workforce and the broader economy. Access to finance and banking must be the cornerstone of a fair and decent society for all. Click here for Gail’s presentation

Simon Lewis – Chief Executive, AFME presented a timeline covering future key events in the Brexit process, as well as highlighting key areas of concern to the wholesale financial services sector and the potential impact of Brexit on other important EU-wide initiatives. Click here to see Simon’s presentation

Marloes Nicholls – Head of Programmes, Finance Innovation Lab drew on her work incubating socially useful financial innovations to consider to what extent, and under what conditions, rapid technological change brings opportunities to create a financial system that supports people’s financial health.

The session was Chaired by Keir Starmer MP – Shadow Minister for Exiting the European Union

Session 3: How will a Labour government deliver the finance sector we want

Graham Turner – Founder, GFC Economics presentation expanded upon ideas put forward in the Financing Investment: Interim Report, published in December, and briefly introduce some of the themes being developed in the Final Report, to be published in May. Click here for Graham’s presentation

Özlem Onaran, Professor of Economics at the University of Greenwich discussed proposals for making finance work for the economy and society and in particular a National Investment Bank, how this can support lending and drive up investment, improve productivity, macroeconomic performance, finacial stability and regional convergence. Click here to see Ozlem’s presentation

The session was Chaired by  Jonathan Reynolds MP – Shadow City Minister

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