A senior Bank of England official has said that the protestors who led the Occupy movement and camped out at St Paul’s Cathedral last winter were both morally and intellectually right.
Andrew Haldane, who is a member of the Bank’s financial policy committee, said that the protestors who camped out for three months before being removed by police in February were correct to attack some of the ways that the international financial system works.
The Occupy movement, which also campaigned in New York, protested about the unequal distribution of wealth and the global influence of the financial services industry.
Mr Haldane, in a speech to Occupy Economics, part of the Occupy movement, in London said: “Occupy has been successful in its efforts to popularise the problems of the global financial system for one very simple reason; they are right.”
Mr Haldane said in his speech, entitled ‘Socially Useful Banking’ that protestors had helped to influence the environment and public mood around banking and financial services which is likely to lead to changes in policy and the way the industry is regulated in the future.
He said that the movement had helped to persuade regulators, senior bankers and politicians that banks must behave in a more moral way.
By bringing attention to high executive pay and bonuses the movement helped usher in the “shareholder spring” that saw high-profile FTSE 100 bosses usurped at their annual meetings because of the poor performance of their companies whilst they still tried to maintain high remuneration packages.
Casualties included Sly Bailey at Trinity Mirror and Andrew Moss at Aviva.
Mr Haldane said: “Occupy’s voice has been both loud and persuasive and policymakers have listened and are acting. In fact, I want to argue that we are in the early stages of a reformation of finance, a reformation which Occupy has helped stir.”
He said that he believes the actions of the Occupy movement could prove to be vital in ushering in a new era of financial accountability and moral responsibility.
He said: “If I am right and a new leaf is being turned, then Occupy will have played a key role in this fledgling financial reformation. You have put the arguments. You have helped win the debate.”