Head of communications or professional non-communicator?

Most of the time we get through to an individual working in a relevant department of a financial institution we are told that we must e-mail the communications department or the press office. Time and time again we are told that “all interaction with external entities must, without exception, take place through the outward facing communications department.” (ESMA)

Here, the people are meticulously trained to fend off the invading external entities, as the first and main “line of defence” against the most dangerous and evil kind there is: normal citizens whose lives they influence. Here is an e-mail that we sent to one such department following a particularly frustrating call:

“Dear X,

I’m sorry if that call added some slight frustration to your day, but let me assure you, the feeling is reciprocated. What is frustrating especially for me is that I feel you’re a nice human, it’s just the institution through which you speak is somewhat restricting your ability to help me. This seems to me quite perverse on two counts; firstly because, as I said on the phone, this very institution (ESMA working on behalf of the EU) is supposed to represent normal people, like me, not work against us and make it impossible for us to understand financial issues (which you control and which have a direct impact on our daily lives). Secondly, I find the following irony frustrating: the fact you work for a communications department and yet your job seems to be to expertly avoid communication. I do hope that the daily grind of this isn’t wearing you down as an empathetic individual human, but alas, hoping is all I can do.

Regarding the specific questions that it would be great to have some answers for, especially from an expert, here is a sample of some of the questions. These questions have been put to us by the public and the simpler the answer (avoiding alienating jargon) the better.

Why can financial policy still ensure that the rich would get richer and the poor even poorer?

Are derivatives still allowed as a speculation (so not tied to an actual loan to manage the long-term risk)? If so, why? See this example of Vestia that went bankrupt because of speculation with derivatives: https://www.afm.nl/nl-nl/nieuws/2014/nov/boete-abn-amro

Why is there no law that makes executives responsible for the damage you cause?

How about the environmental sustainability of the policies of your own institution?

How is the new centralized structure of the Derivatives Market ‘Hub and Spoke’ model less risky at the systemic level? And who finances and manages the central hub? How about the moral hazard problem?

Thanks for your time, and I’m sure I’ll either speak with you, or one of your colleagues again soon!”

We have received no reply yet and have called 10 times but it has gone to voicemail every time….We’ll keep going!

By Flora

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