Changing Finance: new this month

A monthly round-up of news, ideas and initiatives related to transforming the UK financial system for people and planet, compiled by the Lab’s CEO Jesse Griffiths.

All kinds of inequality

Women must work 40 years longer than men to plug £100k gender pension gap and are paid two-thirds less than men in top finance roles. Only 14% of FTSE 100 EDs are women.

Africa is paying three times more on debt repayments to banks and speculators than it would cost to vaccinate the entire continent. The links between present day asset ownership and colonialism. Colonialism lives: a map of developing countries that still use English law for debt contracts.

The links between discrimination and the poverty premium.  The financial penalties of poor health. How the financial impacts of COVID-19 are worse for people of colour.

Fossil fools

60 of the world’s largest banks pumped $3.8 trillion into fossil fuels since the Paris Agreement of 2015. JP Morgan Chase is still the biggest offender, and Barclays and HSBC remain worst in Europe.

80% of board members at the UK’s five biggest banks linked to environmentally damaging companies. One third of FTSE firms emit carbon dioxide at a rate consistent with a dangerous 2.7 degrees of global warming. But nearly half of FTSE 100 companies use an ESG measure when deciding on bonuses and incentives.

Why 2021 could be the year for green finance. But the finance sector is greenwashing the public says, er, the former CIO of Blackrock.

AIA becomes latest insurer to dump coal (but not until 2028). Citigroup restricts financing for companies expanding coal power. HSBC plans to phase out coal, after campaign pressure. Why net zero is meaningless without coal exit. And net zero is not enough.

A tracker to show how green your (EU) country’s recovery plan is.

The links between your pension and climate change, and what to do about it.

Here’s how to decarbonise monetary policy in the EU.

How to change the system

How to stop banks financing harm to people and planet – an interesting podcast. COVID-19 has changed where people want (and don’t want) to invest their money.

Nice pieces on CDFIs and Credit Unions. Here’s how to grow purpose-driven banking.

The whole financial system needs a complete reset. Here’s how to make the UK financial system climate compatible.  What if we adopted a precautionary approach to financial policy?

The UK money laundry

A video on how the pandemic has fuelled money laundering.  FCA’s money-laundering case against Natwest is the tip of the iceberg. Greensill capital and the murky world of lobbying and revolving doors – reasons why an inquiry is needed. Meanwhile, UK cuts support to global anti-corruption efforts by 80%.

A ‘tide turning’ UN report on illicit finance.


The new audit reform white paper – here’s what it should focus on, and the underlying problems and how corporate lobbying explains why it took so long.

How to integrate climate into the Solvency II insurance policy changes.

The UK quietly sold its remaining interest in the nationalised Bradford and Bingley and Northern Rock for £5 billion in February, and cut its stake in Natwest to 60% (and lost money).

What would a net zero central bank look like? A new green mandate for the Bank of England. More common sense from New Zealand, which took measures to prevent housing bubbles, including potentially a house price inflation target for the central bank.

The sudden demise of industrial strategy in the UK, and why this is a bad development. Why a care-led alternative would be a good one.


Ron Khalifa’s Fintech Review missed a chance to make fintech work for people and planet. A new accelerator for tech coops launched.

Young Goldman Sachs bankers document how shockingly over-worked they are.

…and finally

Why digital dollars are not digital money. All you need to know about Universal Basic Income. How to escape Zoom meetings – you could have a reverse meeting instead. A useful G20 update. The power of humour in social change.