Yesterday several members of SME Alliance attended the Cambridge Symposium On Economic Crime to put the case for some of the real victims of economic crime. This is the second year we have attended and both our sessions were very well attended with attendees from a broad spectrum of professions including lawyers, IPs, financial journalists and academics. It was also a truly international audience with people from America, Hong Kong, Nigeria and even Bermuda.
In the morning session I was yet again struck by how confused people were by our members stories. Not that they didn't believe them and certainly both Clive and Nigel made a huge impact telling their stories but, all the same, I got the impression some people thought these were one off, very unusual stories as opposed to really common occurrences. And these are people who in one way or another deal with economic crime as part of their jobs – but they didn't recognise what we were saying as the huge systemic problem we know it is.
One woman was so shocked by what she heard she has said she'll give us some contacts with the mainstream US newspapers because she felt they would be stunned by our stories. Which made me wonder how SMEs in the US are fairing? Are they being ravaged by banks? Surely they are because we have their vulture funds here in the UK and Ireland causing absolute havoc. Are they not doing the same thing in America and is this because the regulators in America are more effective?
The speakers we've filmed include Nick Gould, Andy Keats, Nigel Henderson, Clive May, Heather Buchanen (for the APPG) and me (Nikki).
We didn't manage to film the afternoon session but Joel Benjamin gave a brilliant presentation on Lobo loans so I will ask if we can have the presentation. Steve Middleton also did a great presentation which he called 'Satan's Eye' explaining more about derivatives and hypothecation. We will be asking him to do a longer presentation on this subject at our next meeting.
It was great to meet some of our new Irish members who flew over specifically to come to our sessions – more about that soon as we will be doing a lot more with our Irish members very soon.
We hope to have the videos up by tomorrow afternoon. Many thanks to all the SME Alliance members who attended and to all those who came to hear us. And as always a big thank you to Professor Barry Ryder and Angela Futter for the invitation to this brilliant event.