Activity update

Focus has now turned to the forthcoming General Election, which is set for 4 July. As members would expect, during the pre-election period we will continue to push the priorities for our industry from the next government and underline its significant role in enabling growth across the economy. While several of our events and activities involving MPs have been cancelled during this period, we will still hold our Annual Conference on 27 June at the QEII Centre in London.

Trust and reputation 

We recently launched our manifesto for the next government, which sets out five practical recommendations for the next government to deliver our shared objectives and prioritise stability, certainty and predictability in regulation, tax and other key policy areas. This will be a useful tool for engaging with media and other non-political stakeholders in the run up to the election. We have already spoken to various outlets about our industry’s key asks and will continue to find the right opportunities to set those out over the coming weeks.

Together with the City of London Corporation, we published the first-ever Total Tax Contribution study for the financial and related professional services industry, which made the front page of City A.M., among other coverage. The research, conducted by PwC, showed that the industry contributed a record £110.2bn in taxes in 2023 – a contribution of approximately £1,643 per individual in the UK that goes towards government services provision and enough to fund the government’s annual education budget.

Since our last activity update, we have delivered two further conferences: our inaugural ‘Future Skills Conference’ with the Financial Services Skills Commission, sponsored by Lloyds Banking Group, Yorkshire Building Society, Capital One, and Phoenix Group; and our third ‘International Conference’, sponsored by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.

Both were a great success. At our Future Skills Conference, over 170 delegates heard from a diverse line-up of speakers discussing the industry’s future skills and talent challenges and opportunities. At our International Conference, over 250 delegates – including Ambassadors, senior civil servants, senior practitioners and media – engaged in discussions on security and the impact of geopolitics on the industry. They also heard from the then Rt Hon Kemi Badenoch MP, Secretary of State for Business and Trade, and Catherine West MP, Shadow Minister for Asia and the Pacific.

Long term competitiveness

We have been actively and strongly pushing back on the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) proposals to ‘name and shame’ firms and/or individuals before the conclusion of enforcement investigations. Working alongside members, trade association partners and other business groups, we have co-signed two joint letters on the issue, led by UK Finance; and set out the industry’s strong opposition through the media, including in a front-page story and other articles in the Financial Times, as well as in Reuters, City A.M., Politico and others. The CEO was the first witness to give evidence to the House of Lords Financial Services Regulation Committee, where the topic was well covered. He also emphasised that for the UK to remain a world-class financial centre, it needs a regulatory framework that is more stable, more proportionate, and more agile.

Following extensive engagement last year with the government and parliamentarians on the National Security Bill, and the subsequent removal of industry from the definition of a ‘foreign principal’ in the Foreign Influence Registration Scheme (FIRS), we have been strongly advocating against any additional restrictions under the FIRS that would unnecessarily impact the industry and practitioners. We will keep a close eye on this following the election and revisit our engagement on this issue as required.

Ahead of the election being announced, we hosted the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, Alex Chalk MP, for an engaging senior member roundtable. It focused on the critical role that law and regulation play in supporting the UK’s position as a leading international financial and related professional services centre – a core priority for this aspect of our work.

Through our Capital Markets Group, we have continued to advocate for joined-up policy to move UK companies through start-up and scale-up and onto the main UK equity markets and encouraging the government to work with industry to explore how to incentivise greater UK investment in UK equities. These asks are also included within our manifesto for the next government.


To coincide with our International Conference, we published a joint report with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer on how to best benchmark the regulators’ progress in advancing their new secondary objective for competitiveness and growth. The report suggests that to get a more complete picture of their impact on this agenda, comparison against international counterparts is essential. We have set out several approaches to develop a holistic international benchmarking framework and urge government and regulators to work with industry to develop this further. The FCA responded positively to the report, committing to actively engage with our call for an international benchmarking framework.

Our international development work has continued to gather good momentum. We completed the first phase of the City Ukraine Hub project to redevelop financial and related professional services in Ukraine, and have held discussions with the First Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Economy of Ukraine, and Deputy Minister of Economy of Ukraine about further work. We also joined a panel in the US on ‘Developing Financial Markets in Ukraine’ alongside Nasdaq and the National Bank of Ukraine. We completed the second phase of our Viet Nam project, which included FDI training for senior Vietnamese government officials at the Møller Institute in Cambridge and culminated in the delivery of a report setting out our recommendations for the establishment of its International Financial Centre.

We have spent some time in the US over recent months, including taking a senior delegation to Washington D.C. and New York. While there, we held a series of productive meetings with Congresspeople, senior officials from the British Embassy, US Treasury, USTR, SEC and New York Department for Financial Services. Discussions covered a broad range of issues, such as the upcoming elections in the US and the UK and their implications for bilateral trade; the evolving geostrategic environment; as well as industry’s focus on areas like data, digital assets and AI. More recently, the CEO and Managing Director, International, visited Miami and Houston further to recent trade agreements between the UK and the States of Florida and Texas. This useful trip gave us an opportunity to engage with a broad range of senior stakeholders, including local officials and trade associations and members.

As part of our EU activity, the Managing Director, International gave evidence to the House of Lords European Affairs Committee on data adequacy and its implications for the UK-EU relationship. We have also worked alongside the City of London Corporation and members of the IRSG EU Committee and Europe Market Advisory Group (MAG) to convene, collate and submit the industry’s key asks and strategic priorities to HM Treasury ahead of the meeting of the Financial Regulatory Forum in May.

Across other international regions, we have co-hosted workshops and submitted recommendations on blended finance and AI with Singaporean counterparts to feed into the Singapore Financial Dialogue; attended a private roundtable with the Minister for Trade Policy to discuss the importance of temporary business mobility provisions as part of work to advocate for a modern and comprehensive UK-Swiss Free Trade Agreement; and, in partnership with the British High Commission in Singapore and HSBC, co-hosted two roundtables on transition planning and Generative AI in the financial sector.

Regions and nations

Ahead of the local elections on 2 May, we produced and published a series of manifestos for the mayoral candidates in each region, setting out the industry’s role and ability to further enable regional growth. These manifestos will continue to be used in our discussions with the metro mayors.

Work is well progressed on the latest iteration of our annual ‘Enabling growth across the UK’ report. This was scheduled to launch in June but will now be pushed until later in the year, post General Election. Our National Conference this year will take place in November in Birmingham and preparations are well advanced for this flagship event.

Green finance and sustainability  

A recent roundtable held in Leeds with Alex Sobel MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Sustainable Finance, provided a useful opportunity to build a partnership with an influential APPG on our shared priorities. We held a joint briefing session with the IRSG ESG Committee and Mark Hudson, Senior Researcher for Tulip Siddiq MP, to discuss the sustainable finance elements of Labour’s Plan for Financial Services, and held a roundtable with David Craig, co-chair of the Taskforce on Nature-Related Financial Disclosures to discuss the importance of nature for business and finance and corporate reporting on nature-related risks.

We have continued to engage with the government on progress made on commitments in the 2023 Green Finance Strategy and on supporting the growth of carbon markets in the UK.

Planning for COP29 is underway and we are engaging with a number of members to coordinate our presence and activity.

For more information on what we’ve been doing take a look at our ‘Election hub’, ‘Our work’ and ‘News’.