Shaper: Gina Miller encore

Show aired on 25th February 2017

Transcript

Elliot Moss
That was Sugar Plum from the Preservation Hall Jazz Band a great way to get the programme started. Good morning this is Jazz Shapers, I am Elliot Moss, thank you very much for listening. Jazz Shapers is the place where you can hear the very best of the people shaping the world of jazz, blues and soul and we bring in someone who is also doing the same in the world of business and we call them Business Shapers. My Business Shaper this week is none other than Gina Miller and Gina Miller is a business woman and she is also an activist, you may have heard if you haven’t been out of the country for the last year. We are going to be hearing about Gina on this special encore edition three years on from the last time that we interviewed her and a fair amount of stuff has happened it is fair to say. In addition to hearing from Gina, we will also be hearing from our programme partners at Mishcon de Reya some words of advice for your business and then we have got the music and it’s brilliant today and it includes Diane Schuur, Dr John, Madeleine Peyroux and this from Quincy Jones.

That was Quincy Jones with Watermelon Man. This is Jazz Shapers and thank you very much for joining me again. My Business Shaper today is as I have said, Gina Miller and Gina Miller is a well-known business woman and she is also an activist and an activist now that’s had much more time in the spotlight than she has done historically and Gina and I first met three years ago pretty much to the day. Gina thank you for joining me again.

Gina Miller
Oh my absolute pleasure.

Elliot Moss
Now three years ago most people wouldn’t have heard of Gina Miller. You were quietly or noisily in your own way getting on with a whole bunch of initiatives, a whole bunch of businesses you’ve created from your investment management business to your investment platform which is a female dedicated investment platform to the True and Fair Foundation and it goes on and on. I mean a proper entrepreneur. Now here in where we are in February/March 2017, you’re very well known for the Article 50 case for kind of holding the Government to account. I just want to go back in time a little bit though. When we first met I asked you a number of questions about, and as I do many people, where did you get this entrepreneurial spirit from. In addition to that at the time I also, we also talked about fairness because what was true then is also true now, you have had a deep seated belief in fairness. Just tell me a little bit about this fairness thing before we go into the business and so on. Where has it really emanated from?

Gina Miller
It’s a question I keep being asked. Is it nature, is it nurture, is it experience, is it the scars that I have sort of achieved over life for good and bad. I think it’s a combination of all those things, but probably starts with parenting. If I look back and think and contemplate, you know the values you instil in your children are the ones that they hold throughout their lives and if you are parents who talk to your children all the time like my parents did and my father in particular, and he instilled in me this idea that you know there are good and bad people and people can change but inherently you have to try and be a good person and the things you really own are your conscience and your voice and your actions. Everything else comes and goes, but if you stick to that fact that those are the things that are the most powerful make you a powerful human being then you can do anything.

Elliot Moss
Now your father was an Attorney General I believe as well as being I think he was the Leader of the Opposition back in a Guyana.

Gina Miller
Yes.

Elliot Moss
Deeply involved in politics in some form, deeply involved in the upholding of the law and all that, you said I believe when your husband was, I think your soon to be husband way back when he was getting divorced, you said of course I am going to stand by him because this is a matter of law. There was a whole point about this case going way, way up. Just tell me a little about even then and this is before Gina Miller became associated with the post referendum result and so on and so forth. Even then where you clear that that was just the right thing to do?

Gina Miller
I think in times of debate or times of division then the rule of law is an incredibly powerful element in its right in that it comes and it can create certainty and in fairness and the rule of law if you look back throughout history and I am a bit of a history geek, when societies have been threatened and falling apart, it is the lawyers and the judges and the wise men that come to the fore and create some levity in the form of sanity but also common sense and part of that I think is because of the way a legal mind works. You can disassociate yourself from the emotion of a situation and bring to the fore reason and honesty and integrity and those are the things that I think make the rule of law, law so important in our society. You know one of the things I often hear in a lot of different families is this idea that you know you should become a doctor because that’s a thing that will make you, you know, you will give to people by being a doctor and looking after other people. Actually, a lawyer, the rule of law, you are actually ensuring the health of society not just the health of an individual human beings, it’s about that health of society that I really think is important.

Elliot Moss
Stay with me for much more from my Business Shaper today here on the Jazz Shapers Encore Special, it’s Gina Miller. Time for some more music, this is Diane Schuur and It Don’t Mean A Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing.

That was Diane Schuur with her take on It Don’t Mean A Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing. Nice counterpoint to the serious matter of the rule of law and upholding that. Gina Miller is my Business Shaper today. When you are relaxing, I’m going to talk about that for a minute, you obviously have to relax because even you, the Miller the machine is also Miller the person, what do you do to relax Gina? Apart from loving jazz music I believe.

Gina Miller
I am a great jazz fan, but also my children, they are the light of my life you know and I spend an awful lot of time with them. They are involved in everything I do, but I am afraid I am also a petrol head so I do race cars quite a lot. I love my speeding machines and so I am afraid it’s my R8 and I am out going at crazy miles an hour. My husband has actually banned me from my motorbike, but I did have one at one point.

Elliot Moss
So, I mean a serious point, you obviously you are a bit of a thrill seeker and I mean that

Gina Miller
Yeah.

Elliot Moss
In a kind of you know you need this…

Gina Miller
I accept that.

Elliot Moss
…there’s an adrenaline rush.

Gina Miller
Yes.

Elliot Moss
When you, and we talked also about the distinction between the rational and the emotional before and you said what’s great about the law is and the judges is that they can disassociate their emotions. Many of us would have read many, many articles about you and why you decided that you were going to take on the Government and hold the Government to account with regard to the process. I want to state that, it’s about the process around upholding how the whole post referendum thing has happened. You must have been emotional at one point because you got angry right? I mean that’s what made you do something.

Gina Miller
I was angry. It was a combination of anger and disappointment in the politicians who hadn’t in my view behaved within integrity or honesty and had put us in a position where to my mind and from everything I knew from being on the referendum trial that there was no plan of action as to how we progressed and there was a desperation setting in. So there was a combination of disappointment and anger and alarm actually as what was going to happen next.

Elliot Moss
In terms of the activism that you have now taken on and you have always been an activist as I said earlier with regard to the Foundation you have and with regard to taking on the financial industry in terms of the transparency around fees and all those other things and this isn’t so in other words, this isn’t the first. How have you managed to, if indeed you have, to continue focussing on your business when what you are now involved in and there is more to come I am imagining with more to come with what you’re going to be doing next, how have you managed to keep focused on investments and on clients and things like that when you’re just so consumed in this new world that you find yourself in.

Gina Miller
It’s interesting because a lot of people perceive that I put the business life to one side and the case dominated my life for several months. Actually I did it in my spare time and carried on doing all the other things I do. I am just very fortunate that I don’t actually sleep a lot. I can get a huge amount done from say 10.00 o’clock until 2.00 o’clock in the morning and that’s my normal time that I will be working. But also I mill things around over in my mind all day long so it’s much easier for me to then sit and write something or decide on a cause of action. It’s just something I am good at. There’s lots of things I am bad at, I mean I am terrible at the detail, but I seem to be good at the process and the strategy and just thinking about the big picture.

Elliot Moss
And you don’t get ratty because you don’t have enough sleep?

Gina Miller
No, I can do three or four…

Elliot Moss
What would your husband say?

Gina Miller
…hours. No my husband fortunately needs eight hours so you know we do have an unusual relationship, but I have always been that way. I have always been able to work. I know it’s not good for my health point of view because one of the things I will say is that being an adrenaline junkie has its good and bad and there is always you know at the moment at the back of my mind the prospect of you know what will it do to my health in the long term, but right now I have to concentrate on the things I think are worth fighting for.

Elliot Moss
I think we might need to just send you to the doctors now that you have been talking to the lawyers. Stay with me for much more from my Business Shaper today, that’s Gina Miller here on this Jazz Shapers Encore edition. The latest travel in a couple of minutes and before that some words of wisdom I hope from our programme partners at Mishcon de Reya for your business.

You are listening to Jazz Shapers with me Elliot Moss here on Jazz FM and every Saturday I talk to someone who is shaping the world of business. If you have missed any, iTunes is where you should go and find some fantastic people that have been answering some hopefully relatively straightforward questions, but then they reveal much more than they thought they were going to. And if British Airways is your next airline to use, that’s a good thing too because I will be over there and CityAM.com finally is another place you can catch some of the brilliant people. My brilliant person today is Gina Miller and it’s a Jazz Shapers Encore edition and Gina Miller when I interviewed her three years ago was less well known, was quite well known for having some activity around challenging the financial business community and their attitude towards fees and also a business woman and a serial entrepreneur in her own right. And here we are three years later and many of you will now have heard of Gina Miller because she has been under the spotlight because she decided to be the lead Claimant in the Article 50 case and hold the Government to account. There has been a huge amount of publicity about you as the person behind all this regardless of what you think and the practical steps and you talked about how good you are at processing and so on and so forth and being logical. How have you coped emotionally with the talk, the chatter, the articles, all sorts of stuff and I don’t even mean the horrific stuff, I just mean the fact that people want to know how many kids you’ve got, they want to know whether you are married or not, all that thing, how has that felt for you?

Gina Miller
It’s been annoying more than anything and the reason for that is because I wanted them to concentrate on the message not the messenger and it was about the case. But so few people as time went on won’t have bothered to read it. I still think most people didn’t read the case and have no idea what it was all about and that I find incredibly frustrating because it was so fundamental to us as a country and a constitution, I wanted people to become involved and become activist about it and to understand that politics is not something that happens to them or the law doesn’t happen to them, it’s about them and that was really important for me so I found it very frustrating that so much attention was on me because you know the different publications, people have basically ransacked every element of my life be it my business, my character, my qualifications, my children. You know you name it, they’ve been there and fine, my attitude you know I could get cross, I could get upset, but do I really want those people to agree with me. I would actually be horrified if the people who disagreed with me agreed with me if that makes any sense. And I just concentrate on what I believe is right and what my conscience tells me is a right thing to do.

Elliot Moss
But I mean to be fair as a person who actually studied politics and I was a student of politics as an adult, the thing that Bill Clinton talked about years ago was the emotional agenda and everyone is driven by emotions and if ever there has been a time for that to have come to fruition and for us to see it, it’s been the last year whether that’s in America and whether that’s over here in the UK and who knows what’s going to happen in Europe in the next six to twelve months. Are you really surprised that people think emotionally. Are you really surprised that you’re the short cut to the position that they think you’ve taken.

Gina Miller
No, I don’t actually get upset with them because I think everyone voted because they thought it was the right thing to do and they did it for what they thought was right for their families and themselves. What I do think is wrong is that certain politicians played and picked on people’s emotions and amplified them in a very negative way which is why we got to where we are, so I am not surprised that people are angry with me because it’s easy to get angry with me and in some ways the politicians have hung me out to dry and have been very happy for me to be the you know the target of those emotions. But I am very, I don’t know, I am very strong in myself, I always have been, I’ve never let it get to me. If anything, the letters and messages that I’ve got of people who are also suffering because of what’s happening to our society has made me feel even more determined that I need to stand up and be very sound and level headed in my responses.

Elliot Moss
Now that on one level that’s fine and just very briefly the nastier side of it, the proper abuse, I mean the threats and all of those things, has that upset you because on one hand people disagreeing with you and you become the touch, the touch of paper?

Gina Miller
Yeah, but that’s yes it’s fine.

Elliot Moss
What about the abuse though. How have you handled that? Has that truthfully resulted in you quietly shutting the door, turning the lights off and having a good cry or is it not like that for you?

Gina Miller
No it’s not like that for me. I am appalled, it shocks me and alarms me that people think it’s acceptable or that it’s the norm, you know the number of people, women in particularly in places of power or journalists in the media who say ‘oh but Gina this is normal, this happens to us all the time’. When did it become normal? I mean I find it incredibly alarming that these things are just brushed aside and so it’s now made me think we have talk out about these, these are taboos we have to confront. It is not right to threaten someone. Again, I go back to think it’s not the messenger, it’s the message. It doesn’t matter which medium it’s come from, be it on a letter or on line or Twitter or wherever it is, these lines that are crossed must not be crossed.

Elliot Moss
Stay with me for much more from Gina Miller my Business Shaper today here on Jazz Shapers Encore edition. Time for some more music right now. This is Madeleine Peyroux with Don’t Wait Too Long.

That was Madeleine Peyroux with her Don’t Wait Too Long, good it was too. Gina, the impact of your activism on your business and I don’t, I’ve read lots, but I don’t know if people have really talked about that, you know, I talk to lots of founders of businesses and sometimes they take a stand outside of their business, sometimes they don’t. What impact has it had on Gina Miller the brand in her business do you think?

Gina Miller
Well surprisingly it’s been more of a backlash against the Foundation not so, there has been some backlash on the business be it cyber-attacks on the website or people just saying that we would never invest with you, people who you know investors we already were having conversations with, which I expected and that’s absolutely fine. What I didn’t expect was the huge backlash against the Foundation. You know I’ve had people complain to the Charity Commission saying that my actions as founders of the Foundation has endangered the Foundation and the work we do. We’ve had investigations from different publications and charity sector, we’ve had thousands of people signing you know petitions to close down the Foundation. It, it, I just find that baffling. Why would you target a charitable foundation. You know people saying, I am not a philanthropist, what does that mean? I am self-claimed this and you know they want to see my tax returns, you know demanding freedom of information requests, as an individual obviously I don’t have to do that, but it’s been extraordinary the backlash to the charitable work and the foundations and that I did not envisage.

Elliot Moss
And you’ve gone from being a bit of a private citizen here on this point to more of a public figure. Again apart from the backlash, has there been positive, has there been many positive impacts on your business now that you are there, now that people want to talk to you, now that politicians want to talk to you, now that spin doctors want to talk to you, the good and the great are happy to have a conversation with Gina Miller.

Gina Miller
I think it will help on the campaigning work that I am doing against the rip-offs I see in the city, but when it comes to the business, because obviously those who would like to throw mud have said ‘oh there is a business agenda behind this’, actually our business is almost completely UK based so wouldn’t have an impact on us leaving the EU, the business just wouldn’t be impacted. So we will carry on growing, I will carry on doing what we’ve done, it will level out, the people have left and the people have come so it’s not made a huge difference. What it will do is create a platform where I can be even more of an activist when it comes to the wrongs I see in the city.

Elliot Moss
And in terms of becoming an activist, if you were, when we last met you, you were probably 70/30 business to activist I am guessing or I am making this up a little bit, but now obviously it’s gone the other way. It’s much more, at least in the mind of people listening today and most people will be I see Gina Miller I connect that to activism rather than business or even philanthropy. Is that for you how you’re going to see your future, are you going to become 100 percent activist?

Gina Miller
No. I see it as 50/50 in that everything I do be it in my charitable work or my business life has always centred on integrity, honesty and transparency. So I see myself as a transparency campaigner and wherever I think there are dark corners, I will talk about it.

Elliot Moss
Watch out if you are in one of those dark corners because Gina Miller will not let you stay there with that lack of transparency. Final chat coming up with her plus we will be playing track from Dr John. That’s coming up after the latest traffic and travel.

That was Dr John with Right Place Wrong Time. Gina Miller is my Business Shaper today, right place right time I hope. She, as you probably will have been aware, has been at the centre of the Article 50 case that was brought against the Government and indeed was successful. Many people will be asking Gina what next for you because obviously big things don’t just stop in a binary way, they have outcomes, they have implications, Newton’s third law of motion and there will be other things. What is next for you, what are you going to be doing?

Gina Miller
There are a number of things. I am in the midst of doing a report on the charity sector, we have already done to highlighting some of the things I think that are structurally inefficient there so more work to be done there. There’s a lot of work to be done in the pensions and investment world because there is this feeling that as we leave Europe, a lot of the legislation, the consumer friendly legislation will fall away which we don’t believe it will but the pressure, we have to keep the pressure up to make sure that people in the UK will be protected post-Brexit. When it comes to investments and pensions, there’s a lot of work to do there and on the political arena, I say I am not a politician but I am obviously on the political stage now and I have said time and time again that once the case was won I would still be keeping an eye from the point of view of transparency and process in the absence of an effective opposition that we seem to find ourselves in, I will be keeping an eye on the Government and their activities to ensure that the judgment that we won and fought hard for and I fought very hard for is executed in line with the legal requirements.

Elliot Moss
And indeed on that, on that, the purpose of the judgment was to essentially give Parliament a role because if Parliament is sovereign, Parliament has a role of going forward. I am going to read a quote here because and I shared it with you earlier, it’s a great quote “what’s the point of having a conscience if you never use it.” Now I think that was directed at potentially members of Parliament who had been given the opportunity through the judgment, through the outcome of the judgment to actually have a vote and the vote around the paper it didn’t materialise that way, it’s going through. What can you do now to ensure that this country has the opportunity to make informed decisions?

Gina Miller
Well I think it, I am mean I was so frustrated and let down and disappointed that having fought so hard to put the MP’s back at the centre of the debate which is where they rightly should be, they didn’t use their conscience. I do believe that the vote should have been one that was done in secret, I don’t think it should have been conducted in the way it was, it’s been pushed through at a phenomenal rate. You know I have actually found that it took longer to debate dog fouling and dog straying in Part 6 of the Communities Bill that it has or it is going to, to leave the EU which is you know absurd in its entirety, but it has to be about how this Government is behaving and as I have said without an effective opposition, then we all have to ask questions. I mean the white paper wasn’t even worth the paper it was written on. It was a farce. The vote wasn’t, as far as I am concerned, conducted in the best way. You know, who needs to be whipped, you know whipping comes from keeping dogs and hunting. I mean the whole thing is absurd if you look at it from a common sense point of view. But we have to have a Parliament that is sovereign and that means not allowing an MP and an executive to just decide that parliamentary sovereignty means making decisions that supports them.

Elliot Moss
Last question before I ask you for your song choice. So, so now you’re on this political stage, you’ve described what you are going to be doing to hold the Government to account and so and quite rightly so. If you could invent a new system, what would it look like? Because you’ve, you have stood up for what should be upheld, but if there was a new approach to politics where we have gone, it seems to be post party at this point and the post truth and a whole bunch of other posts. What would Gina Miller actually say it should look like?

Gina Miller
Well I have been told I am a fantasist because I believe we are in a time that needs to be above politics. It has to be about the country. So I believe in in cross party. I think that we should have areas of our country or our policies that are ring fenced be it the NHS, defence, the economy and decisions are made cross party. You know time for tribalism is over. I think it has to be about our country and above politics.

Elliot Moss
That’s a really good answer and I hope someone important is listening and they can do something about it, probably not, it will be your next one. Listen, thank you so much for joining me. Good luck with the next stage and stages, keep well. Don’t work too hard and remember there is a person in there as well that’s got to be cherished. Just before I let you go, what’s your song choice and why have you chosen it.

Gina Miller
My song choice is maybe an unusual for me is Leonard Cohen Anthem because I just like hopeful songs. I like songs that make, bring out an emotion I am not expecting and this is one that definitely does that.

Elliot Moss
Here it is just for you, thank you.

That was Anthem from Leonard Cohen, the song choice of my Business Shaper today Gina Miller; someone who has always believed in the importance of fairness ever since she was a child. Someone who has had conviction and the courage of her conviction to follow through on what she believes in and someone who also believes that business and activism can be combined and that’s exactly what she has been doing and intends to do so in the future. Really, really strong and powerful stuff. Do join me again same time, same place. That’s next Saturday for another edition of Jazz Shapers at 9.00am here on Jazz FM. Meanwhile coming up next it’s Nigel Williams.

Gina Miller

Gina Miller co-founded SCM Private in 2009 as a disruptive modern investment manager offering low access to high end wealth management. She has worked in the UK retail financial services sector since 1996 and is passionate about transparency, accountability and consumer protection. Gina’s business principles are characterised by innovation, efficiency, a profit for purposes model and putting the customer at the centre of all decision-making processes. In 1996, she launched SWAY Marketing, one of the first specialist retail financial services marketing agencies in the UK. Prior to this Gina worked for BMW’s events and marketing team in the UK.

Gina’s feisty advocacy for transparency, scrutiny and ethics in the UK financial services industry led to her launching the True and Fair Campaign in 2012, as well as the creation of the True and Fair Calculator, a world-class free online tool that helps users see their true investment costs. Her campaigning work resulted in influencing and drafting text in three EU Directives – MiFID II, PRIPS, and the Shareholder Directive in 2014.

In September 2014 Gina launched SCMDirect.com and MoneyShe.com as direct to consumer online wealth management brands which use technology as an enabler of efficiencies and dis-intermediation, as well as onboarding smaller clients.

Gina is a passionate philanthropist and conscious capitalist. She has funded and authored/co-authored reports on modern day slavery, social justice and the charity sector. Her True and Fair Foundation campaigns for greater transparency, accountability and governance in the UK charity sector; as well as directly supporting small dynamic community charities making significant impacts.

In 2016, Gina was the lead claimant in an historic constitutional legal case against the UK Government seeking to preserve Parliamentary sovereignty by claiming that the Government could not bypass Parliament and trigger Article 50 without primary legislation.

Listen live at 9am Saturday.

The values you instil in your children are the ones that they hold throughout their lives.

A lawyer, the rule of law, you are actually ensuring the health of society not just the health of an individual human being.

I am also a petrol head so I do race cars quite a lot.

The things you really own are your conscience and your voice and your actions.

There’s lots of things I am bad at, I mean I am terrible at the detail but I seem to be good at the process and the strategy and just thinking about the big picture.

I still think most people didn’t read the case and have no idea what it was all about and that I find incredibly frustrating because it was so fundamental to us as a country and a constitution.

When did it become normal? I find it incredibly alarming that these things are just brushed aside and it’s made me think…these are taboos we have to confront. It is not right to threaten someone.

I see myself as a transparency campaigner and wherever I think there are dark corners, I will talk about it.

The time for tribalism is over. I think it has to be about our country and above politics.