Occupy protesters talk reform with banking boss

FSA chief Hector Sants holds hour-long meeting to hear views on changes to City regulation

Demonstrators who have camped outside St Paul's Cathedral since October met the head of the Financial Services Authority last night to discuss proposed changes to the way the banking system is regulated.

Their private meeting with Hector Sants provided an opportunity for the protesters, who are angry at inequalities between the financial sector and poorer sections of society, to put their ideas to one of the most powerful men in the industry.

According to one of the 10 demonstrators present at the hour-long discussion, Mr Sants admitted that the FSA has "had a light touch with regulation in the past and that should change".

Emma Fordham said: "There were areas where we agreed, but it was clear that we want to go further with a lot of things than the FSA does. We agreed that having banks that are 'too big to fail' which are then bailed out by normal people is wrong and Mr Sants said he wanted to avoid that in future."

The meeting is the first between high-ranking representatives of the financial industry and members of the Occupy London movement and represents a coup for the protesters, who face eviction from two of the three sites they have set up in the City.

"This is a significant step for us. It shows that, if you feel strongly about something and take action over it, even a normal person like me can sit down with someone who actually has some influence and have an open discussion. We are not coming away from the meeting and thinking 'Woo-hoo', but it is a step forward," said Ms Fordham.

The discussions, organised by the St Paul's Institute, were said to be respectful, with Mr Sants fielding questions on what regulatory changes the FSA is planning and when they might be introduced. The demonstrators called for a "future system that is democratic, just, open, accountable and transparent" and discussed the need for regulators to be "genuinely independent of the industries they regulate". Ken Costa, a former vice chairman of the bank UBS, and the Bishop of London Richard Chartres were also present. The FSA said the meeting recognised "the importance of the financial services industry engaging more with the general public".

A spokesman said: "The meeting will be the first in a programme of events organised by the Church, called London Connect, designed to open up a dialogue between the City and public."

Ahead of the discussions, James Hargreaves, an Occupy London supporter, said: "It is great that Hector Sants has shown willingness to engage with Occupy London, as well as Ken Costa and the Bishop of London, at this precarious time for the financial system.

"Since decisions taken by the FSA on regulatory change affect the global financial markets, it is essential to get real feedback and suggestions from the public."

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

Camp offers visitors a crisis tour of London

London is already known for its open top buses, Thames riverboat cruises and Jack the Ripper walks – but there's now a new tour guide in town. How about an enlightening – if somewhat partisan – tour of the capital's financial district by Occupy London?

The protesters' first sightseeing tour this week took in the former London headquarters of Lehman Brothers, which collapsed in 2008, as well as those of credit rating agency Moody's and the banks CitiGroup and Barclays. KPMG's Canary Wharf HQ was also on the itinerary, as were those of HSBC and Bank of America, all of whom the group blame for causing the financial crisis.

Liam Taylor, the tour guide, told guests: "You are now standing in Tower Hamlets, the local authority with the second highest rate of severe child poverty in the country, and highest level of youth unemployment in London."

Further tours are planned for the New Year, taking in some of Mayfair's hedge funds. The group also plans concerts outside St Paul's after the success of an impromptu gig by Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke, Massive Attack's 3D and UNKLE's Tim Goldworthy on Tuesday night.

Suggested Topics
Voices
A Russian hunter at the Medved bear-hunting lodge in Siberia
Save the tigerWildlife charities turn to those who kill animals to help save them
News
Davis says: 'My career has been about filling a niche - there were fewer short actors and fewer roles – but now I'm being offered all kinds of things'
PeopleWarwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
News
i100
Sport
Frank Lampard will pass Billy Wright and equal Bobby Charton’s caps tally of 106 caps against
sportFormer Chelsea midfielder in Etihad stopgap before New York contract
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
The first film introduced Daniel Radcliffe to our screens, pictured here as he prepares to board the train to Hogwarts for the first time.
booksHow reading Harry Potter helps children grow up to be gay-friendly
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Aladdin is performed at the Tony Awards in New York in June
theatreBrit producer Lythgoe makes kids' musical comedy a Los Angeles hit
Sport
Usain Bolt of Jamaica smiles and shakes hands with a competitor after Jamaica won their first heat in the men's 4x100m relay
sport
News
Chancellor George Osborne, along with the Prime Minister, have been 'complacently claiming the economy is now fixed', according to shadow Chancellor Ed Balls
i100... which is awkward, because he is their boss, after all
Life and Style
A small bag of the drug Ecstasy
Health
Life and Style
Floral-print swim shorts, £26, by Topman, topman.com; sunglasses, £215, by Paul Smith, mpaulsmith.co.uk
FashionBag yourself the perfect pair
News
news
News
Netherlands' goalkeeper Tim Krul fails to make a save from Costa Rica's midfielder Celso Borges during a penalty shoot-out in the quarter-final between Netherlands and Costa Rica during the 2014 FIFA World Cup
newsGoalkeepers suffer from 'gambler’s fallacy' during shoot-outs
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmReview: A week late, Secret Cinema arrives as interactive screening goes Back to the Future
Extras
indybest
News
i100
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

(Senior) IT Support Engineer - 1st-3rd Line Support

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful IT service provider that has bee...

Wind Farm Civil Design Engineer

£55000 - £65000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Principal Marine Mechanical Engineer

£60000 - £70000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Principle Geotechnical Engineer

£55000 - £65000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Day In a Page

Save the Tiger: Meet the hunters tasked with protecting Russia's rare Amur tiger

Hunters protect Russia's rare Amur tiger

In an unusual move, wildlife charities have enlisted those who kill animals to help save them. Oliver Poole travels to Siberia to investigate
Transfers: How has your club fared in summer sales?

How has your club fared in summer sales?

Who have bagged the bargain buys and who have landed the giant turkeys
The best swim shorts for men: Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer

The best swim shorts for men

Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable