Activity update: March - May 2023

An overview of activity and outcomes for members.

Work across our strategic priorities continues at pace, with the publication of key reports, our International Conference and a series of productive meetings and delegations all taking place over recent weeks.

We have now finalised recruitment to complete the second cohort of our Next Generation Leadership Council (NGLC) recruits will join members appointed last year, who are currently organising themselves around the themes they will explore during their tenure. Our first cohort of members cycled off the group at the end of March and we are enormously grateful for their contribution.

Long-term competitiveness

We have continued to engage with government and key parliamentarians on the Financial Services and Markets Bill. Greater accountability of regulators formed the basis of many of the more than 200 amendments raised by Peers as the Bill passed through the Lords Grand Committee. These included proposals for a new Office for Regulatory Accountability and a Parliamentary Joint Committee to oversee regulators. After consultation with members, we are advocating for enhanced parliamentary oversight, formalisation of metrics to measure the regulators' performance and further strengthening of Cost-Benefit Analysis panels. Report stage for the Bill is expected in the coming weeks.

Further to the oral evidence we gave to the then Business, Enterprise and Industrial Strategy Select Committee as part of their inquiry into levels of productivity in different British industries, we were pleased to see several of our points appear in their final report, including on areas such as regulation and access to skills. Many of the report’s recommendations also reflected long-standing TheCityUK policy asks, including a review of R&D incentives and skills policy.

Regions and nations

We continue to build our programme of engagement with local policymakers and stakeholders and our Regional and National Chairs are central to this activity. We are pleased to report that we’ve made new Chair appointments in recent weeks to restore the network to full strength in the North West, Wales and Yorkshire and the Humber, with one imminent appointment in the North East.

As part of our engagement programme with metro mayors we hosted Oliver Coppard, Labour, South Yorkshire and Andy Street, Conservative, West Midlands for events in March and April, and are in the process of agreeing dates for events with several other elected mayors. We also held a roundtable with Conservative peer Lord Duncan, who served as a minister in the Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland offices, at the end of March to discuss the Future of the Union.

In mid-March, our Chief Economist and Head of Research gave a keynote presentation at the Department for Business and Trade’s (DBT) Newcastle ‘Services Roadshow’, drawing on our economic research and highlighting the contribution the industry makes to the region and the role of industry exports in the local economy.

We have continued to work closely with partners to deliver our regional events, including the City of London Corporation with whom we’ve recently organised a roundtable in Manchester for members to meet with the Lord Mayor of London. We’ve also held regional events on skills and education with the Financial Services Skills Commission (FSSC) and Progress Together and will be holding a virtual discussion with Shadow Skills Minister, Toby Perkins MP, in May. We are pleased to support a new initiative, led by John Heaps of YBS and his team, to explore the skills challenges for the industry in Yorkshire and the Humber. Our Regional Chair for that region, John Walsh, sits on the steering body for this work which will report in the Autumn.

International trade and investment 

In April we held our International Conference 2023, sponsored by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, HSBC and State Street. The conference attracted around 200 delegates in person and around 75 online, including various international delegations, who heard keynotes from our Board Chair; Ian Stuart, CEO, HSBC UK Bank Plc; Lord Johnson of Lainston CBE, Minister for Investment, and Nick Thomas-Symonds MP, Shadow Secretary for International Trade. We also had a series of engaging panels on trade and investment trends, driving the transition to net zero, and how the industry supports global innovation. The speeches generated widespread media coverage and feedback from delegates has been very positive.

We also launched a report in partnership with Freshfields into the conference: ‘Driving UK growth: Capturing future international investment in a rapidly changing world’, which sets out the need for the UK to adopt a bold new investment strategy. As well as generating good media coverage, the report was also helpful in informing conversations during the conference. We will continue to engage key stakeholders on its recommendations

We have welcomed several inbound delegations, including the WAIFC Board and India-based representatives from the India-UK Financial Partnership (IUKFP). The IUKFP launched its latest report, ‘Harnessing the power of FinTech and data’ at the UK-India Financial Market Dialogue on 19 April, where it was the only private-sector group to take part.

We are very pleased that Cuan Coulter of State Street has agreed to chair our US Market Advisory Group (MAG) following Ann Cairns stepping down. Together with the US Chamber of Commerce, the MAG has sent a letter to US Trade Representative Tai calling for a UK-US digital trade agreement and highlighting the benefits to SMEs and regional development. We have also appointed a new chair to lead our Japan MAG – Daisuke Mototani of Nomura Holdings Inc, who has succeeded Sir David Wright.

In collaboration with the UK’s Swiss Trade Envoy, we facilitated a FinTech innovation workshop with our Swiss partner economiesuisse and Innovate Finance to identify potential projects that could be developed for commercialisation under the UK-Swiss Science Agreement. The findings of the Workshop were presented at the Swiss Trade and Investment Council meeting in Zurich, with UK and Swiss government officials agreeing to take forward the initiative proposed.

In April we held a roundtable in support of the UK-Singapore FinTech Bridge. The event introduced Singapore FinTechs to our members and discussed how the Bridge can support greater two-way trade and investment flows and lead to more projects between financial institutions and FinTechs in both markets. Lord Sarfraz, the PM’s Trade Envoy to Singapore, and representatives from DBT, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the Monetary Authority of Singapore and Enterprise Singapore also participated in the roundtable.

We have successfully delivered two international development projects for Nigeria and Vietnam, funded by HMG as part of its commercial diplomacy agenda in key growth markets. We have also been working closely with HMG on the Taskforce for the Early Reconstruction of Ukraine.

Green finance and sustainability  

The Government published its ‘Mobilising Green Investment 2023 Green Finance Strategy’ at the end of March, which we – through our Green and Sustainable Finance Group (GSFG), chaired by Anne Marie Verstraeten of BNP Paribas – fed into and broadly welcomed. We are now working together with members of the GSFG and the IRSG ESG Committee to respond to the strategy and agree which consultations and calls for evidence announced within the strategy we will respond to.

Our most recent report in this area, ‘Global carbon pricing mechanisms and their interaction with carbon markets’ constitutes ground-breaking new research which presents an overview of carbon markets, including the underlying principle of carbon pricing; and quantifies various mechanisms to give a sense of the scale of the market and how it has grown in recent years.

Trust and reputation

With a general election likely to take place in 2024, we have been working to influence the major political parties as they begin to draft their manifestos. The Labour Party has been the first to formally being their manifesto writing process and to take submissions – we sent contribution to three of their policy reviews on the ‘everyday economy’, international trade and sustainability. We are also working on a contribution to their review of business taxation and will make similar submissions to other parties in due course.

Following the change in leadership in the SNP, we’ve recently met with prominent SNP politicians in Westminster and have reached out to congratulate the new First Minister, Humza Yousaf MSP, and his Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Shona Robison MSP, underlining the strong history of financial services and the industry’s positive impact on the Scottish economy.

Our annual collaboration with Thinks Insights and Strategy (previously BritainThinks) to assess perceptions of the industry among policymakers and the public is underway and we have also kicked off preparations for our 2023 Member Survey, which will be conducted independently once again by Kantar. We will be in touch with members directly when the survey launches and would very much welcome your engagement.