The discussion continues! Join us for The Transforming Finance conference, May 10th 2013.

Videos from parallel sessions

Our volunteers captured some parts of the break-out parallel discussions.

Challenging the power of the bank lobby

In 2010, city money made up over 50% of all Conservative Party donations. Current transparency measures do not enable public scrutiny of lobbying. Finance Watch estimates that the amount spent on financial lobbying in Brussels is over €300m. What can we do to tackle the power of the banking lobby?

Dr William Dinan
Director and Co-Founder of Spin Watch

Greg Ford
Head of Communications, Finance Watch

Willie Sullivan
Scottish Director of the Electoral Reform Society and Vice Chair of Compass

Sarah Cowan
Campaigns and Activism Coordinator at Oxfam Scotland

Discussion chair:Dave Watson, Scottish Organiser at Unison


Relocalising and diversifying our high street banks

A sustainable, inclusive and vibrant local economy needs a financial service sector that is responsive to local needs ��� that can support small businesses and social enterprises, and that can provide basic banking facilities to all, regardless of income, literacy and ethnic background. But have our banks become too consolidated to play that role?

Britain has five banks that account for 90% of personal banking. Compare this to Germany, which has hundreds of local savings banks and credit unions accounting for 70% of banking. The UK has just 170 bank branches per million inhabitants, compared to 480 in Germany, and 1010 in Spain.

Is there a case for forcibly breaking up the banks? For creating a new network of Post Banks? For a ‘universal service obligation’ which would mandate the affordable provision of basic accounts to all individuals?

Sargon Nissan
Fellow at Jubilee Debt Campaign

Rod Ashley
Chief Executive, Scotwest Credit Union

Danielle Paffard,
Co-founder, Move Your Money

Discussion chair:
Tony Greenham, Head of Finance and Business at nef


Finance as a force for good

How can governments intervene in the banking sector to channel finance away from environmentally destructive industries and destabilizing speculative activity, and towards projects with real environmental and social value?

How can we stop speculators pushing up food prices? How can we change the system of incentives that encourage destabilizing and risky behaviour?

Is banking sector intervention enough? What about the pensions funds & the insurance companies that act as if the long-term doesn’t matter? Is it realistic to expect similar government intervention in these high-impact sectors or are there other alternative/complementary answers to dysfunctional markets?

Victoria Chick
Emeritus Professor of Economics at the University College London

Raj Thamotheram
President at Network for Sustainable Financial Markets

Prof Richard Werner
Director of the Centre for Banking, Finance and Sustainable Development, University of Southampton

Discussion chair:
Hilary Wainwright, Co-editor of Red Pepper


Fresh thinking on finance, money and debt

This is the session for really thinking outside of the box, and discussing alternative models for money-creation and investment, that would fundamentally transform the role of banks in the economy.

Through its privileged role in creating and allocating 97% of the money in circulation, the banking sector wields enormous power over both the health and direction of our economy. Should banks retain the power to create and allocate debt-money? Or should we move the power to create money into the hands of a transparent and accountable body? What might be the role for complementary currencies?

Are interest-bearing bank loans a necessary or desirable model for financing projects with social and environmental value? What about shared equity-based investment models, and peer-to-peer finance?

Ben Dyson
Founder of Positive Money

Prof Molly Scott Cato
Professor of Strategy and Sustainability at Roehampton University

Saftar Sarwar
Islamic Finance Council UK

Chris Cook
Senior Research Fellow, University College London

Discussion chair:
Michael Northcott, Professor of Ethics at the University of Edinburgh