UK Independence Party MEP for Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire Godfrey Bloom last year became the first person to be banned from the Mansion House speech for protesting against the FSA.
He says: “FSA chairman Lord Turner was talking about the bonus culture just as he had had a 10 per cent wage increase and a 15 per cent bonus, weeks after the biggest regulatory failure in the history of the City. There was no humility and no apology.
“I am so incensed by the FSA, I think we are dealing with a rogue organisation, they are completely outside the law, they do whatever they like with this totally un-British concept of retrospective legislation.”
Bloom is one of the most outspoken critics of financial regulators here and in Brussels. Using his platform as an MEP, as well as his GoddersVision YouTube channel, Bloom aims to “rock the boat” and highlight the plight of financial services in the UK. He says he became a patron of Adviser Alliance to help small IFAs hold back the tide of regulation.
He spent a 35-year career in financial services, working in a number of diverse roles such as running a fixed-interest fund, heading a life insurance firm, being an IFA and working as a pension trustee. “I have really flitted about the industry.”
His political career did not begin until he retired six years ago. In his job as a fund manager, he was asked to assess the concept of the single currency and he instantly become a vociferous protestor against the idea of the euro. He wrote papers, articles and gave lectures at Cambridge University warning that the plan was doomed to fail.
“People thought I was a swivel-eyed lunatic to think the euro was destined to fail. Now it is received wisdom. I have also warned against the dangers of public sector pensions, which again is coming home in spades. I am always surprised that people are surprised when things go wrong, all this stuff is painfully obvious if anyone even has a nodding acquaintance with how financial services works.”
His stance on the euro drew him into Ukip and in 2004 former party leader Nigel Farage convinced Bloom to stand for the European parliament. He won his seat with 250,000 votes.
He is equally vocal in the European parliament but admits getting his voice heard is tough on the big stage, battling with what he sees as bureaucrats unsympathetic to financial services. “Trying to push through issues in the European parliament is hopeless. I speak for the City of London but I have been asked why I am not speaking for my constituents but it is one and the same thing – I am an Englishman. If we did not have financial services, what the hell would the country do? Speaking for London means I am speaking for every Briton.”
But Bloom’s biggest campaign is against the FSA, which he says is going against 800-year-old English law in the way it monitors IFAs.
“The FSA is using corpus juris, or the Napoleonic code, which has left us with a box-ticking system where financial services has lost the presumption of innocence, which we have had since Magna Carta. If you are any financial services company now, there is a presumption of guilt when you are visited. IFAs are being treated as if they are criminals by an organisation that does not send qualified individuals to inspections.”
Bloom says things will not improve with the implementation of the Consumer Protection and Markets Authority and radical changes to regulation are needed.
“If the product has been regulated, provided it is sold in the right way, it is fine. We have 1,000 years of common law and we have contract law to make sure that happens, why do we need someone from the FSA regulating the little guy who sells these regulated products? And surely it should be that the client has to prove the IFA misled them?”
Bloom says he will continue to “fight for the Alan Lakeys of this world”.
He says: “If you are going to represent a group that is being discriminated against, then you need to rock the boat and you need them to know you are working for just them. I will do anything that is shoved my way so I can help small businesspeople. Around 60 per cent of the GDP of this country is made by firms of less than 20 people and it is people like this that are being shafted every day by the banks, the moral hazard is appalling and it strikes me as being as immoral as you can get.”
Born: London, 1949
Lives: Wressle, East Yorkshire
Education: St Olavés School
Career: (2004-present) Ukip MEP Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire; (1993-2004) independent consultant; (1986-93) general manager, Mercury Asset Management; (1972-86) regional director, National Mutual; (1967-72) management trainee, Matthews Wrightson.
Likes: Rugby, cricket, hunting and shooting (when I’m invited)
Dislikes: All quangos Car: Bentley
Favourite film: Zulu
Favourite book: Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens
Favourite musician: Beethoven
Career ambition: None Life ambition: To stay healthy
If I wasn’t doing this I would… Like to be a groundsman at Harrogate Ladies College