Resolving SME complaints: Time for a streamlined process? 

Held on Wednesday, June 21


  • Sir Adam Ridley (Equitas)

  • Jeffrey Golden (P.R.I.M.E.)

  • Richard Samuel

  • Mike Conroy (BBA)

Interest rate swaps mis-selling, property valuations for collateral, handling of forbearance, conduct in relation to administrations and insolvencies… The legacy of the financial crash has left an awful lot of British SMEs sceptical of their banks, particularly when the chips are down.

Those SMEs have found a number of vocal supporters, not least in the All Party Parliamentary Group for Fair Business Banking and on the Treasury Select Committee. There is little question that banks’ procedures let some small businesses down – perhaps even criminally.

But is there a systemic issue here? In the current system, SMEs with complex cases (especially those involving derivatives and solvency issues) can find themselves caught between a (relatively) unsophisticated Ombudsman and the expense and uncertainty of the courts. Is it time for a new ‘Commercial Financial Dispute Resolution Platform’ to streamline the handling of cases? MPs made time in the last parliament to discuss the issues, and they may well do again in the next one.

To debate the issues we are delighted to welcome:

  • Sir Adam Ridley, deputy chairman of the Association of Lloyd’s Members, a former director of Hambros and Morgan Stanley, chair of the independent “Names’ Committee” set up by Lloyd’s to resolve liability claims and until 2014 chair of the trustees of Equitas.
  • Jeffrey Golden, chairman of the P.R.I.M.E. Finance Foundation, an arbitral institution for wholesale financial markets disputes. Jeff is a former senior partner at Allen & Overy, specialising in derivatives law, and an Honorary Fellow and Governor of the London School of Economics.
  • Richard Samuel, a barrister specialising in the arbitration and litigation of commercial contracts, particularly those relating to the financial services sector and insolvencies.
  • Mike Conroy, executive director for corporate and commercial banking at the British Bankers’ Association, and managing director of the BBA’s business finance taskforce.

If you (or a colleague) would like to join the discussion, please call the office on 020 7621 1056 or email Sandwiches, soft drink and wine will be provided.


Andrew Hilton