You'll be glad to hear all members attending were extremely eloquent and delivered their speeches or talks without a hitch. Jon Welsby chaired both of our sessions and, as always, did a fantastic job – I think the BBC are missing a trick and should have Jon hosting their political debate programmes! Clive and Nigel gave clear and shocking accounts of what really happens when you're on the receiving end of bank misconduct and Andy Keats really stunned the audience with slides showing how RBS have totally manipulated both documents and recordings in his SAR. Ian Fraser wrapped up our morning session with some eye opening accounts of the various investigations he's done into bank fraud over the years and he also read some extracts from his well known book. BTW 'Shredded – Inside RBS The Bank that Broke Britain' is coming out in paper back next month.
We had some great audience participation and especially from Rowan Bosworth-Davis who I'm sure many of you will know from his excellent blogs. I particularly liked his comments on mis-selling which he said was a word invented by Government to disguise the real definition of what banks have been doing – fraud! Great to see Andy Verity attended this session as well.
At our afternoon session Steve Middleton, Abhishek Sachdev and Mel Loades gave really interesting and very clear explanations about derivatives, personal guarantees and how they are tackling these issues. I have never fully understood the whole derivatives issue but I am much better informed now and I can honestly say I don't know how the banks got away with such reprehensible behaviour for so long? I asked Abhishek if the sale of such abhorrent products was still happening and he assured me some banks have stopped selling derivatives completely while others are much more controlled in what they can sell. All the same I would ask how they were able to sell them in the first place? And how could they add their clients homes to the situation without their knowledge? This is something Steve is particularly focused on, as is Mel who unwinds these personal guarantees.
I thought the explanations about how these products work to our detriment were so informative I am going to ask some of our advisers to give short talks at our next meeting on 5th October and then do a Q&A for members.
Without doubt attending the symposium was very important for SME Alliance because to date, victims of economic crime have not had a chance to tell their story and that means all the deals and resolutions the 'powers that be' make are based on totally incomplete information. I think we have to do more of this kind of thing to spread the word about what's really happening. I note there were many lecturers at the symposium who presumably tour the Country talking about economic crime. It occurs to me we should be offering to share our knowledge as well.
I'd really like to thank Professor Barry Ryder for allowing us to attend and also Angela Futter who does such an amazing job organising this event. Most of all I'd like to thank our members who travelled from all over England and also Scotland and Wales, at their own expense to be there. They all did a great job at helping to put SME Alliance on the map. Hopefully next year more members can attend.