4th November 2019
Nikki Turner to step down as SME Alliance director
Nikki Turner, director of SME Alliance, has announced she is stepping down after five years leading the support, knowledge sharing and lobby group. She intends to leave at the end of the year having helped to oversee the successful creation of the Business Banking Resolution Service (BBRS), which aims to give a mechanism for past, current and future disputes between business owners and banks to be settled without having to go to court.
SME Alliance was created to help victims of bank abuse and misconduct including the HBOS Reading scandal, which brought down the business run by Mrs Turner and her husband Paul, and has grown to give much needed support to those impacted by the unscrupulous and often illegal actions of many of the UK’s leading banks and their advisors. One of the key objectives was to find a way that businesses can gain compensation for bad behaviour by banks without the need for expensive and lengthy legal proceedings, something it is hoped that last Friday’s launch of the BBRS will deliver.
Mrs Turner has informed members of SME Alliance of her decision. Nick Gould, SME Alliance chair, is also retiring after four years in the role. Andy Keats, a director of SME Alliance, will take over in the lead role. New directors, and a new chair, will be announced shortly.
Nikki Turner said: “We have achieved a great deal and been able to help many SMEs, not least by showing them they are not alone in their fight against the banks. We have had tremendous support from our members, the board and our chair, Nick Gould, who has given many hundreds of hours of his time on a pro-bono basis.
“I hope the BBRS will be a major step forward in rebuilding an equitable relationship between the banks and the SMEs which are the lifeblood of the British economy. While there is always more to do, I feel that now is the time to step down to concentrate on rebuilding our business and spending time with my grandchildren.
“To echo comments made by Nick Gould, SME Alliance should not need to exist, but it does, and it needs new people with fresh ideas to take it forward and keep holding the banks to account.”
Nick Gould, outgoing SME Alliance chair, said: “No-one can overestimate the amount of time, dedication and knowledge that Nikki has brought to the helping SMEs fight for their rights and livelihoods. The banks are so powerful and have all the cards in their hands when fighting SMEs, but through the hard work of Nikki and her family, SME Alliance has been able to redress the balance to some extent.”
One of Mrs Turner’s final actions as SME Alliance director will be to review the report by former high court judge, Sir Ross Cranston, into the compensation scheme put in place by Lloyds Banking Group for victims of HBOS Reading.
In a report commissioned by SME Alliance, Jonathan Laidlaw QC found that the Review, led by Professor Russel Griggs, is “procedurally defective” and “unfair” and its methodology and guiding principles are “flawed and appear partial to LBG’s interests”. Mrs Turner is confident that Sir Ross will take account of those conclusions and hopes he will recommend that Lloyds revisits the outcomes of the Griggs review to deliver a more suitable outcome for all the victims.