FSA chief to meet with occupy protesters

 

One of the most senior figures in City regulation will meet protesters from the St Paul's Cathedral camp today as part of a Church of England initiative on finance and ethics.

Hector Sants, chief executive of the Financial Services Authority (FSA), will hold private talks with 10 representatives of Occupy London on banking, regulatory reform and ethics at St Ethelburga's centre for reconciliation and peace in the City of London.

The event is the first to be held by London Connection, an initiative launched last month by the Bishop of London, the Rt Rev Dr Richard Chartres, aimed at "reconnecting finance and ethics" in the wake of the St Paul's protest.

It comes after Radiohead singer Thom Yorke and 3D, of the band Massive Attack, played a secret gig for Occupy London activists.

Today's meeting will be held in a Bedouin tent in the garden of the centre, created after an IRA bomb devastated the church in 1993. The tent has been described by organisers as a "unique private space in which people from different backgrounds can meet as equals".

The project is being headed by Ken Costa, a senior figure in the world of investment banking and a former chairman of Lazard International.

Campaigners have been camped in the courtyard of St Paul's Cathedral since October 15. The group also occupies Finsbury Square in Islington, north London, as well as an abandoned UBS-owned office block in Hackney, east London, which it has called a "Bank of Ideas".

The protesters face an eviction hearing at the High Court on December 19 after the City of London Corporation started legal action to remove some tents from the public highway.

Mr Costa said: "There is an important dialogue to be had, connecting not only those camped outside St Paul's Cathedral but also the many people working in the City who too are concerned by the need to connect the market economy with its underlying moral roots.

"We cannot possibly hope to develop a safe, growing and sustainable economy without properly understanding that humans are moral beings just as much as they are financial ones."

Ronan McNern, of Occupy London, said: "It is good that Hector Sants is willing to meet, however it is essential that this is a meaningful meeting rather than just a talking shop.

"While dialogue is very important, dialogue leading to action is even more important."

Last night Radiohead frontman Yorke joined up with Massive Attack's 3D to play a DJ set to "thank" activists who have been protesting against cuts and saying ordinary people should not pay for the financial crisis.

The pair performed to a small audience of around 100 people at the top secret gig in the basement of the Bank of Ideas.

Neither musician spoke to the audience, but both clapped the crowd as they applauded at the end of the hour-and-a-half set.

PA

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