Activity update: March 2022 - May 2022

An overview of activity and outcomes for members.

We continue to make good progress on our strategic priorities, delivering key activity and outcomes for members. We are increasingly holding more meetings and events in person, and have started to reintroduce in-market delegations, including a recent visit to the US as well as events in Kenya and Brussels.

We were very pleased to hold the first meeting of our Business Council at the end of March, chaired by Alasdair Haynes, Founder & CEO of Aquis Exchange. The Business Council is a place where we bring together many of our high-growth members with Ministers, Parliamentary Under Secretaries of State, Executive Directors at the regulators and other key industry stakeholders. Its activities are complementary to those of the Leadership Council and ensure we’re engaging across the industry with a broad range of senior stakeholders.

We have begun the fieldwork for our 2022 Member Pulse Survey, which is once again being conducted by Kantar. As many members will know, this survey is a valuable opportunity for us to seek feedback about our work and ensure that we are continuing to have the impact and influence expected. If you can spare the time, we would very much value your participation.

Long-term competitiveness

The horrific and prolonged invasion of Ukraine by Russia and related implications for our industry have continued to be a focus. We are convening regular meetings with the trade associations and City of London Corporation to discuss sanctions and other critical issues, and conversations have also been taking place within our Public Affairs and Legal Services Groups to understand the impact on members and their response, as well as further advocacy work needed. Gathering cross-sectoral insights has been hugely helpful and is useful when engaging with government and other senior stakeholders, for example at a meeting we recently organised with Whitehall Director Generals.

Following on from our work on productive finance with the Bank of England, the Financial Conduct Authority and HM Treasury, we are currently collaborating with the Federation of Small Businesses on a joint project to identify obstacles preventing entrepreneurs and small businesses from accessing non-bank forms of finance. Together we will be running a series of member roundtables to discuss this and explore other areas where we can support entrepreneurial growth.

International trade and investment

In early April we held our first International Conference in partnership with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP and HSBC. We were joined in person by over 100 delegates, with another 200 tuning in online to hear a great line-up of speakers across the day discussing the key trends shaping the UK’s position as a world-leading international financial centre. Alongside a series of engaging panel sessions, keynotes included the Rt Hon Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP, Secretary of State for International Trade; Kevin Rudd, President and Chief Executive of Asia Society and former Prime Minister of Australia; Lord Grimstone, Minister for Investment; and Sarah Breeden, Executive
Director, Financial Stability Strategy and Risk at the Bank of England.

Panel session at TheCityUK International Conference 2002

Accessing the best international talent remains a priority for the industry. Following calls in our report with EY and the City of London Corporation for the UK to remove the need for intracorporate
transferees coming here for short-term projects to get work visas, we are pleased to be supporting a government team, convened by HM Treasury and supported by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Home Office, to gather evidence on short-term mobility frictions and explore policy options for alleviating those frictions. As part of this work, members were able to share real-life examples of mobility frictions with officials at a workshop we convened. A summary of the discussions and our policy asks will be presented shortly and used to engage political decision makers and senior officials across government.

As part of a FCDO funded project to promote links between Nairobi and the UK, last month we travelled to Kenya to launch our ‘FinTech in Kenya: towards an enhanced policy and regulatory framework’ report, in association with PwC. With research compiled alongside the Nairobi International Financial Centre (NIFC), the report summarises the challenges within the existing regulatory and policy landscape for Kenyan FinTechs, and includes recommendations aimed at further enhancing the operating environment for the sector in market.

Launch event for our ‘FinTech in Kenya: towards an enhanced policy and regulatory framework’ report, in association with PwC

Our International Trade and Investment Group (ITIG) has adopted a new set of tools to monitor the delivery of our international strategy and assess how far our policy priorities are objectively improving the UK’s international competitiveness. Working together with the City of London Corporation and trade associations, we have created a strategy tracker that assesses whether our desired policy priorities have been delivered within the right timeframe, alongside a basket of external, objective metrics that compare the UK’s competitiveness across several indicators to that of other leading international financial centres. These tools will enable us to understand how far we are succeeding in making the UK the world’s leading international financial centre over the course of the next five years, and to identify any further steps we need to take to deliver this core objective.

Trust and reputation

During April we held two Extraordinary Leadership Council meetings, bringing members together with the Rt. Hon. Nicola Sturgeon MSP, First Minister of Scotland and Dame Caroline Wilson DCMG, British Ambassador to China. The First Minister was very keen to stress the importance of the industry to the Scottish economy and the opportunities to further collaborate with London and other UK financial centres to strengthen relationships and complementarities between Scotland and England. Dame Caroline discussed the relationship between China and the UK.

Extraordinary Leadership Council meeting with the Rt. Hon. Nicola Sturgeon MSP, First Minister of Scotland

Preparations for our Annual Conference on 30 June are progressing well. We are delighted that EY has come on board as our Platinum sponsor and that DLA Piper and Citadel Securities are gold sponsors for this year’s event. The conference will discuss how to secure the industry’s long-term competitiveness, with particular focus on sustainability ambitions, innovation and the industry’s enabling role in driving growth and prosperity. Keynotes already confirmed include John Glen MP, Economic Secretary to the Treasury, and Rachel Reeves MP, Shadow Chancellor. The event will be held in person. If you haven’t already registered to attend, you can do so here.

Sustainability

We launched our ‘Green finance: A quantitative assessment of market trends’ report, in partnership with BNP Paribas, at the end of March. The report offers quantitative analysis of green finance — both green debt and green equity — over 2012-21. It contextualises the growth of green finance over the past decade and analyses green finance market trends in the UK and globally. The launch generated good media coverage and as well as holding an in-person launch event at BNP Paribas’ office in London, we also held a roundtable in Brussels for senior EU stakeholders to meet and discuss the report’s findings and sustainability issues more broadly.

Launch event for our ‘Green finance: A quantitative assessment of market trends’ report, in partnership with BNP Paribas

Regions and nations

To support the work of HM Treasury, BEIS and the City of London Corporation’s independent taskforce on socio-economic diversity, we have convened a series of virtual roundtables across the UK, led by our network of City Chairs in Birmingham, Bristol & Cardiff, Belfast and the North of England. While positive steps are being taken, the discussions underlined that there is still much to do and were helpful in identifying specific areas for improvement and progress. We also held a roundtable with Clive Betts MP focused on levelling up. Our latest Member Briefing, joined by around 40 members, discussed our work across the regions and nations. Two of our City Chairs – Dr Nicola Bannister, City Chair for Cardiff and Richard Little, City Chair for Leeds – updated on activity they are taking forward and our Chief Economist, Anjalika Bardalai, ran through the regional angles from our green finance report.

Planning for this year’s National Conference, which is being run in collaboration with Scottish Financial Enterprise, is well underway and will take place in Edinburgh on 1 December. The conference agenda is starting to take shape and more information will be shared in the coming weeks and months.

 

Miles Celic, CEO