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Occupy London to meet Financial Services Authority

  • As Occupy London passes its 50th day of occupation, announces meeting with Hector Sants of the FSA, Ken Costa, former Vice-Chairman of UBS Investment Bank and Chairman of Lazard International, and the Bishop of London to discuss regulatory change, social and economic justice
  • Invites public to get involved in debate via interactive forum

This coming Wednesday 7 December, representatives from Occupy London – part of the global movement for social, political and economic justice – will meet with Hector Sants, CEO of the UK regulator for the financial services industry, the Financial Services Authority.

Aimed at opening up dialogue between the Occupy movement and the FSA, the meeting has been arranged by St Paul’s Institute with Occupy London’s Multifaith, Belief & None working group. It will be attended by the Bishop of London and Ken Costa, former Vice-Chairman of UBS Investment Bank and Chairman of Lazard International, as well as ten occupiers including participants from its relevant working groups – Economics, Corporation, Politics, International and City of London Policy.

The first of its kind, the one hour meeting will take place at St Ethelburga’s Tent at the Centre for Reconciliation and Peace in the heart of the City of London. The focus will be to discuss what regulatory changes the FSA envisages taking place, the practical considerations regulators have to contend with and the time frames the FSA is proposing.

Occupy London representatives will be addressing issues and concerns raised by its General Assemblies including how to work towards a future system that is democratic, just, open, accountable and transparent and discussing the need for regulators to be genuinely independent of the industries they regulate. They will also be asking why they should believe regulation will work, when it has previously failed, and opening the discussion as to how they, and the wider public, can inform and influence the process.

The news follows the recent publication of Occupy London’s call for an end to tax havens, for lobbying transparency and personal accountability for executives. [3]

Voice of the people

Occupy London is inviting members of the public to get involved in the online discussion prior to this meeting, so that the broadest range of voices and views begin to be represented in this dialogue with the FSA and others. Details of the special direct democracy forum for the FSA meeting will be announced at http://occupylsx.org shortly.

“The global regulatory system is not working. The global call for economic, political and social justice needs to be heard so that we can make the financial system accountable to all,” commented Occupy London supporter James Hargreaves. “It is great that Hector Sants has shown willingness to engage with Occupy London, as well as Ken Costa and the Bishop of London, at this precarious time for the financial system. As Occupy London passes its 50th day of occupation at St Paul’s, it also feels fitting that this meeting will take place in the Bedouin tent at St Ethelburga’s.

“Since decisions taken by the FSA on regulatory change affect the global financial markets, it is essential to get real feedback and suggestions from the public regarding regulatory change. This is why we are creating our new forum so that Occupy London camps and the wider public can get together to have that much needed debate with the widest range of voices – reformist to radical. It is important for those of us who feel unrepresented to have a way of getting involved in the future of the global economy.”

Celebrating 50 days of occupation

Occupy London now has three spaces including its first occupation camp at St Paul’s Churchyard – just by the London Stock Exchange in the heart of the City – and a second camp at Finsbury Square in the borough of Islington. Its third space is a multi million pound abandoned complex of buildings at 21-29 Sun Street in Hackney, belonging to investment bank UBS which Occupy London, in an act of ‘public repossession’, has turned into its first Bank of Ideas, a space for debate and dialogue.

As well as the numerous events happening across the camps and beyond, Occupy London is currently preparing for ‘Occupy Everywhere‘ on 15 December. It is intended that on this day, a national day of creative non-violent action, communities up and down the country will get involved, take the message of Occupy – that it is time for change, that we need dialogue and that we can create a better world – and make it their own.

Most recently Occupy London showed solidarity with striking workers on 30 November, joining the march and also instigated a peaceful action to highlight the corporate greed of executives at a time when austerity measures are being thrust on the more vulnerable in society. The action sent a direct message to Mick Davis, CEO of Xstrata, the highest paid director of any FTSE 100 company, that the Occupy movement will not let such outrageous incomes go unnoticed.

Occupy London currently has 39 working groups based at St Paul’s alone, operating across topic areas as diverse as direct democracy, outreach and sanitation. In addition, General Assemblies are held daily at 1pm and 7pm.

All are invited to come to the camps and get involved.



7 Responses to “Occupy London to meet Financial Services Authority”

  1. “Invites public to get involved in debate via interactive forum”
    Okay, how exactly does the public get involved?

  2. Ask FSA how they are planning to reflect a better balance betw. Econ, environmental and social in their dealings. On a micro level they need to be thinking about what market failures they create and how they redress these at source.

    • I think you ought to read up on what the FSA does before you write bilge like this

  3. Well, this is an interesting one. On one hand, the FSA is a lame duck if Osborne gets his way -it won’t exist anymore. It costs nothing to meet and talk to Occupy, fine, and it is easy to pay lip service to virtue but not do aynthing: it is actually a specialty of the FSA, not actually doing anything – it is world famous for that. Is this meeting sort of a post mortem on the huge failures of the FSA?

    There is a culture of compromise and letting business do whatever it wants in the UK that is shocking to people from countries like Germany used to a more robust regulatory regime. Regulators are not supposed to try to make the industry it regulates happy. I am from the States and the framework of regulation is adversarial and I like it that way. Not to say the US doesn’t have problems, it does, some of the same revolving door issues as here. But I want my regulators to be champions of the people, not lapdogs of the banks. I am just worried that this culture of consensus and compromise between regulators and regulated industries in the UK is going to die only like racism in the US: one funeral at a time.

    I wonder how the FSA would rate themselves on their “consumer protection” statutory objective? Allowing the banks to run such risky strategies that bail-outs were necessary was terrible for consumers. And some people think the FSA did warn people, but who at the FSA is going to push an unpopular message like that when they are all looking to get a job at a bank in a year or so? Why couldn’t we just have a consumer protection authority?

    I hope whomever is going to the meeting for Occupy is equipped with information. I find the comparisons to other financial services authorities interesting. For instance, during the four year period between 2002 and 2006, the FSA averaged 77 enforcement cases (that resulted in action) while the SEC averaged 3,624. ( see http://www.theracetothebottom.org/international-governance/sec-v-fsa-rules-v-principles.html) . Private Eye covers this stuff really well – all the missed opportunities.

    Good luck with the meeting. I wonder if it would be useful to treat this as an information-gathering session rather than an advocacy session. I would like to know what their biggest concerns are about the next ten years and what structural changes they would like to see within the FSA to give it more bite – or what they see as the problems with Osborne’s plan (there are so many it could take up the whole hour). I honestly don’t think that anyone at the FSA could imagine it, but maybe it is even asking about how to de-couple the self-interest and future job prospects of an individual employed by the FSA from the strategy and decisions the FSA makes.

    Remember that these people are immersed in a culture where it is nearly impossible to imagine asking banks to be moral, or calling the actions (and inactions) of a government agency moral or immoral. It is like the concept of snow to an indigenous Pacific Islander.

    Good luck!

  4. “…Occupy London currently has 39 working groups based at St Paul’s alone…”

    What are these working groups? Where and when do they meet? How much do they overlap and duplicate each other?

  5. Errr. Multi-faith working group meeting with the FSA????
    When was this agreed in the GA?
    I am sorry but I can think of more appropriate working groups to meet such as Corporations or Economics. Indeed for the last three weeks the Economics WG has been developing a position on regulation.
    Multi-faith should remain within their remit of prayer and allow the working groups set up to deal with this to take the lead.

    Multi-faith please step down on this one!


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